It was a weekend to remember for Barney as both sides recorded crucial wins on the same day for the first time in 27 years.
The tone was set early as the Seconds dispatched local rivals Coogee with a 2-1 home win to keep their dreams of lifting the cup alive.
Team: Ollie, Joe Newman, Ben, Whelo ©, Paul, Alex, Nick, Ash, Ben, JC, Bud.
Subs: Andy, John Morton, Stu, Rowan.
The House of Paine welcomed its biggest home crowd of the season as an estimated 17 people turned out to witness the return of a club legend – with John Morton finally named amongst the subs having stayed in on Saturday night for the first time since arriving on these shores a decade ago.
Barney’s start was solid if not emphatic, with the hot-headed Ben Wardle enjoying a more advanced role on the right side of midfield.
Barney did have to withstand a brief period of pressure, brought on by themselves, with Joe Newman inexplicably foul throwing the ball on 4 occasions, much to the despair of Eddie Sweeney on the bench, who described the big defender as “the gayest thrower I’ve ever seen”.
With Stu’s pre-game team talk still ringing in his ears, Ollie decided to ignore all instructions as he pumped countless high balls in on top of the pint-sized Bud who battled tirelessly with two 6ft4 centre halves.
Never one to complain, Bud continued to chase second balls and forced consecutive early corners for the home side.
Ash, fresh from only having 9 Coronas the night before, trudged over to the right hand side to whip in an inviting ball but no Barney head could meet it.
“F*****g hell I’m dying for pint me”, the Yorkshireman said.
Barney started to dominate after an ill Irish Andy was introduced on the half hour mark, before big Stu ignored the calls to introduce John Morton and brought himself on for the tiring Bud.
The unpopular substitution was greeted with groans from the hostile crowd, but the jeers were soon silenced when the big Hun caused havoc in the box which led to a sensational strike from veteran Nick.
The ever-excited Scot celebrated by whispering “aye that was alright”. 1-0 Barney.
Coogee reacted well to the goal and soon started to create some chances of their own when a trademark Ben K slice went in behind him and allowed the Coogee forward a rare sight at goal, but ‘Champagne Ollie’ stood firm to spare the Luton man’s blushes.
Missing Bud’s runs in behind, Barney started to drop deeper and deeper and Coogee’s pressure finally paid off just before the break as Ollie flapped at a delicious cross before Joe Newman thundered the ball into his own net with a pile driver that any striker would be proud of.
1-1 at half time.
The teams re-emerged for the second half with more boos aimed at Stu as he chose to keep himself on the park instead of Big John, but the home fans were left eating their words yet again when the player coach rose at the back post to register his first goal for the club in just under 36 months.
Barney dominated from here on out and never looked in danger of throwing away another lead. Bud was brought back on and continued to stretch the Coogee defence at every opportunity, before the home fans’ wishes were finally answered in the 89th minute as Big John Morton entered the fray wearing a pair of Nike swimming shorts and sipping from a bottle of Great Northern beer.
Sweeney was enraged at the icon’s preparation and bellowed: “Put that doon man you’re f*****g pisshh enough as it is. If a chance for a shot comes then back yourself and take it on ya big fanny”.
And that’s what he did. The ball fell kindly to the big man’s feet on the edge of the box and he immediately unleashed a powerful effort, only for it to be blocked by the last Coogee defender.
The ball then broke to Bud who was put through one on one with the keeper, who turned into Peter Schmeichel and produced an outstanding save to deny the Dubliner.
It mattered not, however, as the referee blew his whistle and Barney wheeled away in celebration having taken all three points.
The dream lives on with everything still to play for.