Barnstoneworth lost their opening encounter of the season after late goals saw them go down 2-1 to Waverley in a hard fought contest.
After Captain Ian Boot saw red in the opening 15 minutes, in what can only be described as an audition for Expendables 4, Barney led through Walshy’s towering header at the break.
But after battling in the searing heat and a large pitch, the boys succumbed to two goals in the last 10 minutes to send them to an opening day defeat.
Centre-Half Joe Peters couldn’t hide his disappointment at the end. “I’m absolutely gutted for the lads, I’ve not been this down since I stayed in and watched Marley and Me with the Mrs.”
In a high tempo start to the game Waverley nearly broke the deadlock after 10 minutes.
Gaffo, whose Oscar winning performance last week, reminiscent of Russell Crowe in Gladiator, saving 5 penalties and scoring the winner; seeing Barney through to the second round of the cup, went from David De Gea to Mark Bosnich as the ball almost squirmed through his body and into the back of the net.
Then the game turned.
Bootie, who had clearly jacked up on some serious IRN Bru pre-match, was on the end of a horror challenge from some Super Mario looking dude and reacted as any proud Glaswegian would, by kindly letting the lad know his over exuberant two footed lunge was unnecessary and not in the spirit of the game.
The card happy ref didn't quite see the exchange like that and whipped out the big red and Barney were down to 10 with over 70 minutes to play.
Clearly being named captain for the season just before the game had an effect. "The cheese has been moved", said Boot when asked to comment.
Yet there was no panic from the boys. Simple passing & moving and some top quality defending ensured Waverley barely created a chance.
In fact it was Barnie who should have took the lead through Gaffer Chris Moore after he was played through on goal by a delightful Walshy flick, but he clearly put his flip flops on instead of his shooting boots as he fluffed his lines in front of goal shooting straight at the keeper.
But just moments later the Barney faithful were sent into jubilation as Jay, Barnie’s resident Jon Flanagan, sent a driving ball into the box and there was Walshy rising like a young Niall Quinn above his marker to send a bullet header down into the bottom corner.
Barnie 1 up at half-time. Absolute Scenes.
Wise words from the Gaffer at the break saw Barney come out on the front foot with them nearly grabbing a second.
Midfield warrior Grant wrapped his foot around the ball and pinged the post with a 30-Yard-piledriver. Club legend Billy nearly had his kit off ready to join the celebrations after that one.
The long pitch and weather conditions began to take its toll with some weary legs beginning to show as Waverley dominated the ball and Barnie picking up random yellows from Nigel Quashie looking referee, yet not testing Gaffo who was dealing with crosses like Merv deals digestives.
As the ref was getting ever closer to blowing his full-time whistle, disaster struck.
Waverley got in down the right, through no fault of hero left back Sam Ellis of course, and whipped a dangerous ball into the box which after a scramble, fell kindly for the opposition who stroked Home to make it all square.
A late onslaught then proceeded with the Barney boys clearly leggy and the Home side then got a penalty with 5 minutes remaining after Grant thought he was the karate kid and chopped 'Ramón Rodriguez' in the box.
Gaffo against Juninho. Ireland against some foreign country.
Our hero keeper dives to his right and was inches away from heroics once more, but the penalty was too firm and Waverley found themselves 2-1 up.
Tears from Nick and Stu could be seen in the stands.
Surely the boys had one last chance to throw everything at them.
With the game going into the final seconds, Walshy once again secured a naughty flick on and there was Merv. 12 yards out. Seconds to go. Can he be the hero to grab a point for the boys?
He brings out his inner Jonny Sexton and blazes to the ball high over the bar with the ref then bringing the epic encounter to a close.
Gaffer Chris explained his sense of pride as a Barney player after today’s game: “The lads were top draw. Your man with this whistle didn’t help us but there were positives to take for the red and white army.”
“I can’t wait to make us run on Wednesday loads more. I love running.”
It was a huge battle from the boys and Barney can be proud of their performance despite the loss. We move on, we move forward and will no doubt be back stronger.
Mon The Barney!!
Man of The Match: Luke 'Tina' Turner
Top performance from our Lee Cattermole. Controlled the midfield, pressed hard and kept possession well.
Andy, Joe, Jay, Boot (Red Card)
Chris, Luke, Merv, Sam
Subs: Grant, Andy 'Flat Tyre' Noone, Stephen Whelo