Barnsley Supporters FC win NFM Cup
Barnsley Supporters Football Club have won the National Football Museum Trophy
BARNSLEY Supporters FC christened a new era for the club by winning their first ever trophy as they completed a rollercoaster of an eight team tournament which culminated in a 2-1 victory over local rivals Huddersfield Town in the final.
A 14-man squad arrived at the Vernon-Caurus Sports & Social Club intent on making a big impression, despite the unavailability of a few of their regulars and the late withdrawal of their manager and leader Allen Cooper due to an illness in the family, but the squad could not have possibly have imagined the drama that would ensue during their quest for their first success.
The group draw saw Barnsley facing Tranmere, Crewe, and Port Vale. These were sides that Barnsley had not faced in the last year and therefore an unknown challenge awaited the lads.
The other group featured the hosts and holders in Preston, along with Huddersfield, Oldham Athletic and Burnley.
While the pitches were in excellent condition, a strong wind was sure to hamper everyone involved.
Group B Match 1:
Barnsley Supporters FC 2-0 Tranmere Rovers
GOALS from Richie Brown and Steve Gowland got Barnsley off to the perfect start in the National Football Museum Tournament 2008 as The Reds dealt Tranmere`s hopes an early blow.
With new captain Jon Harper winning the toss, Barnsley played against the wind in the first half, and therefore chances were at a premium.
Barnsley found it difficult to clear their lines but the defence of Alex Varley, Josh Mills, Steve Holder and Jonno Smales did well in protecting goalkeeper Luke Evans who had very little to do in the first half.
A few corners were the best that Barnsley could create going forward, but getting to half time at 0-0 was always going to be important with the wind behind them in the second period.
This proved to be the case, as after the break, Barnsley lifted their game with almost the entire second half played in Tranmere's half of the field.
The opening goal finally came when a clever back-heel from striker Simon Newey released Richie Brown. The midfielder showed a good turn of pace to get to the ball before the Rovers defender but his shot was saved by the goalkeeper. However, the ball rebounded off BROWN`s knee and rolled into the Tranmere net to give Barnsley the lead.
Further chances followed before the second goal arrived with just a couple of minutes remaining. An accurate goal-kick by Evans released striker GOWLAND, who got to the ball before the advancing goalkeeper and calmly slotted the ball into the net.
Rob Pick and Gowland broke away in the last minute but failed to score the third as the ball was cleared off the line, but in the end, Barnsley were happy to cruise through to seal a thoroughly deserved 2-0 win.
GOALS: Richie Brown, Steve Gowland.
OTHER RESULT: Crewe 1 Port Vale 1.
Group B Match 2:
Barnsley Supporters FC 1-1 Crewe Alexandra
MATT Goodwin`s second half strike rescued Barnsley a crucial point in their second group game in a somewhat controversial encounter with Crewe.
Again, Barnsley started the match against the wind but began the game very brightly. They dominated the opening five minutes whilst playing some lovely football which saw skipper Jon Harper give an instrumental performance.
A great run by Steve Gowland almost created the opening goal with Sam Owen's header denied by the goalkeeper, but Crewe came more and more into the game and took control of the rest of the first half.
A good move saw them take the lead with their centre forward expertly lobbing goalkeeper Luke Evans to give them the lead. The Reds survived an onslaught towards the end of the first half to ensure they went in at half-time only 1-0 down.
As with the previous game, the change of sides saw Barnsley produce a much-improved performance with the wind behind them.
Winger Owen and Goodwin had shots denied before the two combined to give The Reds a deserved equaliser. Owen picked up the ball wide on the right and produced a perfect ball for Goodwin, who took it down on his chest before sliding the ball under the goalkeeper.
The failure to give a clear offside almost gave Crewe the lead once more, much to the annoyance of goalkeeper Evans, but Barnsley survived the nervous moment.
A midfield battle followed for the remainder of the game, though a Barnsley breakaway was halted as the referee prematurely blew for a free-kick when Rob Pick was brought down after squaring to Simon Newey for a clean run on goal. The resulting free-kick was cleared and Barnsley had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
GOAL: Matt Goodwin.
OTHER RESULT: Port Vale 2-0 Tranmere
Group B Match 3:
Barnsley Supporters FC 3-2 Port Vale
SIMON Newey`s incredible 50-yard strike with the last kick of this game ensured that Barnsley qualified from Group B of the National Football Museum Tournament at the expense of battling Port Vale.
The final group game saw Barnsley knowing that a draw might not be enough to see them through to the knockout stages of the Cup competition, as their record was identical to that of their opponents. However, what followed was one of the most remarkable half hours of football in the Supporters team's existence.
Again playing against the wind in the first period Barnsley started well. Striker Simon Newey raced through on goal but shot wide of the far post with the goalkeeper to beat, and a couple of shots by Sam Owen flew just wide. Vale responded strongly and missed two glorious chances to open the scoring as the otherwise excellent Barnsley defence suffered a momentary lapse in concentration.
However, when Steve Gowland skipped past his marker and was hauled down in the penalty area, the referee awarded the penalty. NEWEY stepped up confidently and smashed the penalty past the despairing dive of the goalkeeper to give his side a half-time lead.
The first half gave no indication of the drama that was to follow. A few minutes into the second half, the Port Vale winger slipped under pressure from Barnsley defender Jonno Smales. Misconstruing the incident as a foul, the man in black awarded Vale a penalty and their centre half made no mistake in sending Luke Evans the wrong way from the spot.
While Barnsley felt aggrieved at conceding, it took them merely 20 seconds to re-take the lead. A quick break from kick off saw left winger Matt Goodwin advance on the keeper and his expert lob from a narrow angle allowed GOWLAND to tap home from a couple of yards to make sure of the lead.
Barnsley looked comfortable again with Evans' long goal-kicks proving dangerous to the opposition, with Newey volleying narrowly wide as he got in behind the defence.
With a mere 30 seconds to go, The Reds looked as if they were safely through as group winners. However, a Port Vale corner led to a goalmouth scramble where the ball was clearly handled by a Vale attacker before Evans made a fine save.
However, Alex Varley's goalline clearance cannoned off Steve Holder and into the net. The Barnsley side were left fuming at the referee for not spotting the handball, with goalkeeper Evans particularly vocal in his discontent at the decision.
A draw seemed certain, but not to Barnsley striker NEWEY. The kick-off was laid off to him and to the surprise of both teams, he shot from the half-way line. Everyone watched as the ball sailed over the head of the hapless Port Vale goalkeeper and nestled in the top corner of the net.
After a few seconds of stunned silence, the full time whistle was blown and striker Newey was mobbed by his teammates, leaving Port Vale shell-shocked and eliminated from the Cup.
GOALS: Newey (2, 1pen), Gowland.
OTHER RESULT: Crewe 3 Tranmere 0
Group B Standings
Barnsley - Played 3, 7 points.
Crewe - Played 3, 5 points.
Port Vale - Played 3, 4 points.
Tranmere - Played 3, 0 points.
This saw Barnsley advance into the Semi-Finals to face hosts Preston, just as they had at the same stage 12 months earlier when they were defeated 3-0. In the other Semi Final, Crewe faced the winners of the other group, Huddersfield.
Barnsley Supporters 0-0 Preston North End (Barnsley win 11-10 on penalties)
LUKE Evans` superb penalty save saw Barnsley reach their first ever final after a dramatic penalty shootout victory against hosts and favourites Preston North End.
The two evenly-matched sides had played out a complete stalemate in the half hour game before the real drama unfolded.
The wind had picked up for the beginning of the Semi-Final, with both sides finding it very difficult to adapt to the changing conditions. Barnsley's defence of Alex Varley, Josh Mills, Steve Holder and Jonno Smales again produced an excellent performance in preventing Preston's dangerous attack from creating any opportunities.
Smales did receive the first yellow card of the competition for hauling down a Preston forward, much to his disapproval it might be said, as he imitated a dive to the amusement of the watching fans and players.
Neither side were able to create clear-cut opportunities in either half of the game, with Luke Evans left to deal with a couple of long-range efforts, and Barnsley's best openings coming from the goal kicks of Evans looking to get them in behind the Preston defence.
A Simon Newey free-kick was blocked and the appeals for handball were waved away, before the dreaded penalty shootout was used to settle the game.
PENALTY ORDER AND RESULTS:
Round 1: Sam Owen (goal, bottom left hand corner.) - Preston goal. (1-1)
Round 2: Simon Newey (goal, left hand corner.) - Preston goal. (2-2)
Round 3: Steve Gowland (saved) - Preston missed. (2-2)
Round 4: Luke Evans (goal, right hand corner) - Preston goal. (3-3)
Round 5: Josh Mills (goal, right hand corner) - Preston goal. (4-4)
Round 6: Jon Harper (goal, right-centre) - Preston goal. (5-5)
Round 7: Richie Brown (goal, left hand corner) - Preston goal. (6-6)
Round 8: Alex Varley (saved) - Preston missed. (6-6)
Round 9: Jonno Smales (goal, top right) - Preston goal. (7-7)
Round 10: Steve Holder (goal, top right) - Preston goal. (8-8)
Round 11: Matt Goodwin (goal, bottom right) - Preston goal. (9-9)
Round 12: Sam Owen (goal, bottom left) - Preston goal. (10-10)
Round 13: Simon Newey (goal, bottom left) - Preston (Saved, to Luke Evans' right)
BARNSLEY WIN 11-10 ON PENALTIES
Mass celebrations followed with the Barnsley team spirit again showcased fully to everyone. They had reached their first final by beating an impressive Preston side who had won the tournament in style the previous year. However, the drama was not yet complete.
Huddersfield waited in the final after defeating Crewe 3-0 on penalties in the other semi final. While Tranmere recovered from 0 points in the group to win the plate competition by beating Burnley in the final, the big match was still to come.
Barnsley Supporters FC 2-1 Huddersfield Town
A LATE Gordon Banks-esque save from brave goalkeeper Luke Evans sealed a memorable first trophy win for Barnsley`s heroic squad after goals from Simon Newey and Richard Brown had overturned an early deficit against local rivals Huddersfield Town.
It was the first silverware The Reds` supporters` team had won since it was formed by boss Allen Cooper in 2004 and carried on an exciting few weeks for the team after great recent results both on and off the field.
The final saw a change of pitch for Barnsley and also a change of the kit to the blue strip - a worry due to Barnsley's 100% record in the home shirt, having drawn previously in the blue strip against Crewe.
Cooper`s men understandably looked tired and flat in the early stages of the final after their exertions over the day, and this allowed a clever break down the Huddersfield right hand side to lead to them opening the scoring with a cool finish into the bottom left hand corner.
Skipper Jon Harper rallied his side and Barnsley reacted to the goal superbly. A free-kick delivered by Steve Gowland evaded everyone at the near post and ran through for striker NEWEY to lash the ball into the corner of the net and put the game back on level terms at half time.
Barnsley were determined that this would be their tournament, and early in the second half, they took the lead. Gowland was again the provider with a cross, and when Newey's header came back off the far post, BROWN took his time to compose himself and smash the loose ball into the roof of the net.
A great move between Matt Goodwin, Newey and Gowland saw the latter fire narrowly over the bar as they looked to kill off the game, and a free-kick by Rob Pick was saved by the Huddersfield goalkeeper before Barnsley faced up to more last minute drama.
A Town corner lead to an almighty scramble as a shot came back off the post and as Steve Holder cleared, a shot came in that looked destined for the goal. Goalkeeper Evans though somehow threw himself to his right and clawed the ball to safety, colliding with the post in the process as the ball was scrambled out of play by Alex Varley.
The heroic goalkeeper took a moment to re-compose himself and continued, and when the full time whistle finally went, his teammates were quick to congratulate him for the outstanding save which had ultimately sealed Barnsley`s fairytale triumph.
GOALS: Newey, Brown.
Tournament squad: Luke Evans, Jonno Smales, Alex Varley, Stephen Holder, Josh Mills, Kieron Brown, Richard Brown, Jon Harper (c), Matt Goodwin, Sam Owen, Rob Pick, Simon Newey, Chris Johnson, Steve Gowling.
Manager Allen Cooper was emotional after hearing about his side`s amazing day:
"I was gutted I wasn`t there today, but my mind wasn`t right after what had happened with my Uncle. I`d like to dedicate the win to him and his recovery. The lads who played today and those that couldn`t be there are a fantastic team and will always fight to the bitter end. That was demonstrated with the winning of this trophy.
"I`m just about the proudest man in the world right now when I think how far we`ve come in the last four years. Every single player in this club is a credit to Barnsley Football Club itself and I cannot wait to lead them at WorldNet in a month`s time, it will be an honour."