Memories of Barnsley
Charlton 5-3 Barnsley, 2nd March, 1985
Another one for those that hark back to the 'golden era.' Just 3,832 saw this Saturday afternoon cracker, in fact that season only 4 of our games, home and away, attracted more than 10,000 people. The final game of the season an extraordinary 47,000+ watched Man City beat us to gain promotion, a wonderful indicator to how we have grown as a club compared to City in the past 20 years.
Stood with my family on the wide open spaces of the East Terrace we glumly watched the Yorkshiremen rush into a 3 goal lead within 25 minutes, all of them coming from Ron Futcher. A quirky fact is that Ron Futcher, brother of Paul who also played that day, only scored 5 career goals for Barnsley in his one season for them, 3 of them coming in a 10 minute spell at The Valley!
We were dire that season, using a total of 28 players as Lennie Lawrence tried valiantly to try to turn a frog into a prince. Even a 30th minute goal by Steve Dowman (now that was a quality centre-half) did nothing to lift the gloom at half-time.
After the break an ageing Derek Hales came on but it was 19-year old Robert Lee, fresh from letting people in for nothing at the Harvey Gardens turnstile, who pulled another one back and suddenly The Valley was awake. Then in a crazy 10 minute spell the game turned on its head when Barnsley were awarded a penalty to surely put the game out of our reach.
Gordon Owen stepped up and wellied it over the bar into a deserted away end and about 25 Tykes dropped their heads. Three minutes later we were level when Mike Flanagan smashed home from close range. Game on.
Ron Futcher, who played in the NASL, was getting riled. Earlier booked for dissent he then got into a row with a lino just after Flash scored and was then sent off by referee Keith Cooper (Pontypridd). It was all us now and I remember the atmosphere being electric and its equally hard to remember there being so few people in the ground.
73rd minute and Flanagan's header is sure to be a goal but its handled on the line by a Barnsley player - nowadays a sure sending off, then I don't think he even got booked! Ronnie Moore converted in front of the Covered End, 4-3.
It was an amazing turnaround, a modern day Huddersfield, and it wasn't over yet as 'Super' Steve Dowman got his 2nd and our 5th to end a wonderful afternoon of entertainment. It was just a shame that only 3,832 were there to witness it.Charlton
: Johns, Curtis, Friar, Madden, Dowman, Aizlewood, Lee, Curbishley, Moore, Anderson (Hales 46), Flanagan.Barnsley
: Baker, Joyce, Law, Ronson, Jeffels, P Futcher, Owen, Thomas, R Futcher, Agnew, Campbell.
Sub not used: Goodison.