Nearly 99 years to the day since Reading’s first encounter with Brentford at Griffin Park, on 27 November 1920 in the old Division Three South, this Saturday sees the last league meeting between the Bees and the Royals at one of the last bastions of characterful and historic grounds in London, if not the Football League. Next season, Brentford will be hopping the short distance to their new home on Lionel Road.
Griffin Park has been a favourite of away fans over the years that has regularly seen sold out away followings packed into the double decked stand in the past few seasons or the opposite end’s terrace before that. Whilst Griffin Park won’t be left standing for much longer, it will leave fond memories in the minds of Royals fans, particularly helped by THAT Cureton goal in April 2002, but what’s the clubs overall record at the ground been like over the years?
Well, to be honest it makes pretty bleak reading. There are a lot of negative ways in which you can interpret Reading Football Club’s history at Griffin Park in the 46 league and cup matches that have taken place there. In total Reading have won 10 of those, which you consider not great, but not awful either.
After all, a 25% win ratio away at a ground going back nearly 100 years of games seems fairly decent. But if you look at when those wins came, it gets a bit more distorted. Four of those wins came in just a five-year spell between August 1980 and September 1985, rendering the 94 years either side of that pretty frugal in terms of points for Reading. Since 1985, Reading have won on just two further occasions across a period of fourteen matches including one in what’s now become the EFL or Leasing.com Trophy.
In terms of curious stats, Reading do like to win 2-1 when they have come away victorious, with seven of the ten games that the Royals have won have finished by that score line. And had Yoann Barbet not headed in a 92nd minute equaliser when the sides last met on this ground, then that would have been another added to that list.
So, should Reading manage a win this Saturday, in all likelihood this should be the score line to back if you’re of the betting persuasion. This anomaly in a higher proportion of 2-1 wins for Reading has also helped contribute to another slightly less impressive record, that in 99 years and 46 matches, Reading have only scored more than two goals in a game at Griffin Park on one occasion, and that was only four meetings ago when a Nick Blackman double after an Orlando Sa opener led the way to a 3-1 victory, the only time Reading have managed a win at Brentford in the second tier.
That win also marked just one of two since since 1985, the other coming in 2001 when a certain Phil Parkinson and Sammy Igoe found the net. Whatever happens Saturday though, just don’t get your hopes up for a free-scoring match, as there has yet to be a game between these two sides at Griffin Park which has gone above five goals, which itself has happened just six times and just four times in the 42 games that have taken place since April 1924.
Stats can warp some things, and they certainly can help paint the idea that Reading should be glad to see the back of it considering a pretty lacklustre record there. But we all know that it will endure long in the legacy of Reading football club for a scrappy 1-1 draw on one Spring afternoon nearly 20 years ago.