FLASHBACK: Brentford 2 Sheffield Wednesday 2 - January 19, 1980...Draw with Bees finally sparks Owls promotion buzz

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Thirty-five years ago today, Sheffield Wednesday were sitting in eighth position in the old Division Three.

It had been a patchy campaign up to that point under Jack Charlton, however 1979 would finish in a high at least with that famous, or infamous depending on your allegiance, 4-0 win over United at Hillsborough on Boxing Day.

Ian Mellor

Ian Mellor

Still, the Owls were unable to follow up that stunning Steel City victory and lost their next league game, against Plymouth Argyle.

This had been a feature of the 1979-80 season, with what was a talented team, unable to gain consistency, with a couple of wins often punctuated by a frustrating defeat or at least the dropping of a point (it was just two for a win in those days).

A 2-2 draw away to Brentford may seem like a strange game to place under the Flashback spotlight, but this encounter would prove to be a turning point in that quest for continued, consistent success.

Wednesday had been pressing at Griffin Park - in front of the ITV cameras no less with highlights shown that evening - and on 27 minutes they finally took the lead when Brian Hornsby cracked home a superb strike from fully 30 yards, past Bees keeper Len Bond.

After the break the home side would level through Steve Phillips but once again the Owls went back into the lead when Ian Mellor scored his seventh goal of the season.

The travelling supporters thought that would be enough to see their side back to winning ways, but Lee Holmes equalised to earn a point for the Bees.

While fans will have felt a pang of regret at losing out on a win, which left Wednesday in eighth in the table, five points behind leaders and rivals Sheffield United, those there can say they witnessed the beginning of a remarkable run of form for Charlton’s men in the league which would ultimately lead to promotion to Division Two.

For it would be April 12 before the Owls would suffer defeat again; an incredible 16-match unbeaten run coming to an end at Gigg Lane with Bury winning 1-0.

Wednesday would lose just once more, away to Exeter in the penultimate game of the season, but that series had catapulted the team well into the promotion frame.

And they duly went up, finishing in third place, a point ahead of Chesterfield, with Sheffield United back in 12th having led at the halfway stage.


Brentford: Bond, Shrubb, Tucker, Salman, Harding, Fraser, Carlton, Allger, Holmes, Graham, Phillips. Sub: Booker

Wednesday: Bolder, Blackhall, Grant, Smith, Pickering, Hornsby, King, Johnson, Mellor, McCulloch, Curran. Sub: Sterland

*See our nostalgic four-page Sports Retro pull-out EVERY MONDAY inside The Star, featuring photos from classic eras and some back pages from this week in history.