Will we make the play-offs and then get to Wembley this season? Well,l we haven't been there for 42 years, and I certainly want to go back and soon.

Wembley 1972

Being at Wembley Stadium to watch my team in a cup final as an 11 year old was very very special. In 1972 the FA Trophy competition was in its infancy having been born two years previously. It was basically a revamp of the old FA Amateur Cup and Barnet had made the semi final in its first season narrowly loosing out to Macclesfield Town in the semi final stage but the run up to this final was I have to say graced with some of the finest football ever seen at Underhill. What is even more fascinating is that it was achieved with a first team squad of just 15 regular players.

Dover Athletic
Barnet entered the competition at the 1st round stage in January and easily swept aside a Dover side at the Crabble Ground by 6-0. Dover, with the best defence in the Southern Premier League that year, only conceded 13 league goals at home all season! Jack McClelland saved a penalty kick midway through the second half with the Bees already two up courtesy of Colin Powell and Les Eason.
Lou Adams
 Dover then had no answer to the four goal Barnet blitz in the space of 15 minutes that followed – Powell grabbed his second before leaving the icing on the cake for Lou Adams who completed his hatrick in double quick time.

Lowestoft Town
A seaside trip on a coach to Lowestoft Town was the reward in the 2nd round – our coach left early in the morning to allow for a bit of what was then known rather quaintly as “Wallop Time” in the local pubs. Dicky Plume replacing Gerry Ward was the only line up change in a game that rarely got into 2nd gear and finished 0-0 in front of 1,338 fans. Barnet made no mistake in the replay three 3 days later running out 5-1 winners thanks to goals from Eason (2) Adams, Colin Flatt and an own goal. Very vivid is the image of Paddy Powell’s shot at goal that stopped dead in the mud short of the goal line allowing Eason to flick the ball in with Paddy already celebrating “his goal”.
The meagre 727 attendance was due to the fact that the game was played on a Tuesday afternoon, kick off 2.15pm. It was a time of industrial strikes and a three day working week plus the Electricity Board were enforcing power cuts left right and centre therefore no Underhill floodlights – I had the mumps that day honest!

Wigan Athletic
Away from home again, the 3rd round of the competition pitted us against some serious quality opposition in the guise of Wigan who were at the time a power in the very strong Northern Premier League and on the verge of election to the Football League. A partisan crowd of nearly 5,000 saw Barnet come from behind to win 2-1 thanks to a brace from Colin Flatt. Yet that doesn’t tell the whole story and there were other notable performances on that day. Defenders Ben Embery, Gordon Ferry, Jimmy Lye and Peter Jenkins soaked up wave after wave of Wigan pressure but it was McClelland who was the real hero making save after save. 
Jack McClelland
Just before half time Ferry was adjudged to have handled in the box but Fleming launched the penalty high wide and not so handsome. Wigan’s second penalty came early in the second half – Ferry again involved bringing down Davies who was through on goal. Jack Mac flung himself full length to turn the kick around the post before being mobbed by his delighted team-mates. But Jack could do nothing about Fletcher’s effort two minutes later to give Wigan a frankly deserved lead. Ward then replaced Adams to shore up midfield alongside Plume and Barrie King allowing Powell to run free. With 15 minutes left an Eason cross was headed back by Plume for Flatt to hammer in the equaliser. This somehow opened the floodgates and Barnet powered forward for the winner which came on 84 minutes. Powell, by now terrorising a tiring Wigan defence linked up with Jenkins and set up Flatt again to score his second.
Colin Flatt
 At the final whistle – in the words of then Barnet Programme editor Tony Holmes – “one had to admire the determination that carried Barnet through. They had fought on when all had seemed lost and were rewarded with a memorable victory”.

In the 4th Round we were yet again drawn away this time at Southern League rivals Dartford. Heavy snow had fallen overnight but had melted to leave the pitch waterlogged but Barnet’s performance made light of the conditions and they recorded an excellent 2-0 victory with Barrie King’s midfield show particularly impressive. After a Paddy Powell goal was ruled out for offside, a Flatt diving header was cleared off the goal line and Eason had hit the bar twice, the Bees took the lead on 52 minutes. Eason skipped past two challenges and fired in a low cross to perfectly set up Powell. Nine minutes later King’s precise through ball found Eason who took the ball immaculately in his stride, rounded the goalkeeper and slid the ball into an empty net for a classic goal.
Les Eason
It was a finish that even Eason’s hero Jimmy Greaves would have been proud of, although Les Eason’s composure in front of goal was simply legendary.

Telford United
The semi final was played at Northampton’s now demolished County Ground and our opponents were Telford Utd. I have to admit recalling very little about this game – unusual for me I know – but I do remember the pitch dust rising from “Mr Cool’” Dickie Plumes' last minute penalty winner. The facts are that 4,481 saw the 1-0 victory which set up the visit to the twin towers against Stafford Rangers.
Plume Penalty at the County Ground

Stafford Rangers – The Final
It was Barnet’s first Wembley appearance since 1959 and just like then it bought despair rather than joy. Les Eason told me “It was the only time I played there unfortunately but the day is a complete blur. I have been told by ex players that you have to play more than once at Wembley to really appreciate it”. Colin Powell said of the occasion “We didn’t turn up on the day as a team yet it was so special; the boys had visited the week before to look around it was extraordinary, but we missed early chances and frankly were well below par”. Ben Embery reflected “I can boast that I played at Wembley, it was the pinnacle of my career and I still get goose bumps when I think about the day, I was so excited. Unfortunately we didn’t do ourselves justice and were well beaten 0-3, but it was the most incredible experience”.

Ben Embery and Jack McClelland

Tony Holmes wrote, “Early in the match Powell was in fine form but was upended more than once by a very strong Stafford defence and Eason produced a fine save from goalkeeper Aleksic. Slowly but surely Rangers began to get on top. In the 66th minute Williams beat McClelland from close range for 1-0 but Barnet were unlucky not to have won a penalty as Machin clearly handled a Flatt shot and this was confirmed on the TV replay. Barnet’s fading hopes disappeared altogether when Stafford scored twice in the 72nd and 74th minutes. A rare Jenkins error allowed Cullerton to score the second. Then Williams headed home a Jones cross and it was all over.” Those comments sum up the day from the playing perspective but as a young supporter getting off a train at Wembley Central and walking up Wembley Way towards what was and still is the most famous stadium in the world complete with my amber and black scarf, huge rattle and rosette (I still have the rattle but it would be classed as a lethal weapon nowadays) it was simply exhilarating and an episode in my life that I will never ever forget. After all these years I now have in my possession a DVD copy of the TV highlights which appeared on the Big Match with the great Brian Moore commentating on my team, it’s marvellous although I wish I could change the ending!
Paddy Devastated

For that season in 63 first team matches in which Ben Embery appeared in 61 of them and Les Eason in 60, manager Tommy Coleman called on the services of just 15 regular players. In hindsight was this the reason why a season that promised so much and was so memorable was not the great one that it should have been? I can tell you that in those 63 games 125 goals were scored with Lou Adams netting 28, Powell 27,Eason 24 and Flatt 15, an incredible goal ratio for a forward line. Finally a list of those 15 names for you ‘oldies’ to study and enjoy. Jack McClelland, Mick Coffey - who shared the goalkeeping duties, Jimmy Lye, Peter Jenkins, Ben Embery, Gerry Ward, Gordon Ferry, Barrie King, Paddy Powell, Les Eason, Lou Adams, Colin Flatt, Dickie Plume, Ian Fusedale and Jimmy Godfrey.

   Simpkins (Trainer), Fusedale, Jenkins, King, McClellend, Godfrey, Coleman (Manager)
                                                    Plume, Ward, Ferry, Powell, Flatt
                                            Embery, Lye, Adams, Eason (Insert Coffey)

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