FA Cup 3
rd Round Tie January 1982
Attendances - at Underhill  3,842 at The Goldstone 15,884

I was surfing the Internet, as you do, and discovered that You Tube has a fascinating snippet of film, courtesy of Brighton and Hove Albion FC, which features the 1982 FA Cup replay between Brighton and Barnet. As I have mentioned so many times before, exciting moments were at a premium as a Bees follower in those days so therefore it gives me even more justification to revel in them again when I get the opportunity.

At the end of the 1981-82 season the club would finish 18th (out of 22) in the Alliance Premier League still in deep financial trouble while Brighton were riding high as a Division One club (then the top echelon) and challenging for Europe. However we hadn't reached the 3rd round proper of the FA Cup since 1972-73 when we lost in that infamous home replay to Queens Park Rangers 3-0. Of course it was exciting times!
Barnet F.C.1981-82
Barnet had hurdled Corinthian Casuals (2-1), Harlow Town (1-0 in a replay) and Wycombe Wanderers (2-0) in the previous rounds and were given the chance to cash in by switching the tie to The Goldstone Ground but Barry Fry figured that home advantage on our perfect pitch for mud wrestlers would prove decisive – and it very nearly did.
After a noon pitch inspection the game went ahead in front of 3,842 and the BBC Match of the Day Cameras, with commentary from Bees fan John Motson.

They captured a battling performance from the following Barnet line up:
Gary Phillips; Mike Pittaway, Kevin Millett, Alan Campbell, Graham Pearce; John Watson, Steve Robinson, Russell Townsend; Colin Barnes, Danny Westwood, Gary Sargent. Sub Terry Voyce.
Brighton boasted a host of internationals the likes of Steve Foster, Jimmy Case, Tony Grealish, Michael Robinson, Sammy Nelson and Mickey Thomas.
Colin Barnes

Bees playmaker Barnes, defenders Pearce and Millett and an almost juvenile Phillips were the stars of the afternoon and Barnet went very close to the upset of the round as they matched Brighton in every department. In the second half Sargent's header hit the bar, Watson, on loan from Scarborough, shot wide when it seemed easer to score and I recall that I thought the Townsend screamer at the death was going in but it shaved the far post with Graham Moseley well beaten.
Russell 'Leo Sayer' Townsend

 I also recall one of the longest and heartfelt final whistle ovations given to the team by the spectators. To stand on the terraces that afternoon it cost the princely sum of £2.00!
For the return the following Tuesday nearly 16,000 turned up and witnessed another brave performance from the non leaguers - decked out in the rather bright yellow shirts with white shorts and socks away ensemble - at least until half time. Thomas finally broke the deadlock after 46 minutes with a diving header before Brighton went 2-0 goals up thanks to a miss hit from Case that Millett could only help into the net.

Then came a magic moment. Townsend won a 50-50 midfield ball with Grealish which fell to Sargent. Moving forward he dipped his shoulder, Foster was completely fooled, went the wrong way and could only retaliate with a clumsy lunge. Sarge then bought the ball onto his left foot and crashed in an unstoppable 25 yarder which was celebrated in huge style by the travelling band of Barnet fans - about twice the normal home league gate I would estimate.

Gary Sargent

With 10 minutes left Millet made a perfectly good tackle on Andy Ritchie winning the ball cleanly in the area as they chased a big defensive header from Foster. However the referee adjudged it unfair. Kevin has since told me he was devastated with the decision and can clearly remember it. McNab sent Sumo the wrong way even though Gary had tried some Bruce Grobbelaar type Kidology on the line while waiting for the kick to be taken. It finished 3-1 but not all was lost. The Bees had regained credibility in the national press and the football world in general and the bank balance would also be better off to the tune of £20,000 (or was it £30,000? Anyway a huge sum of money for an APL Club) as Graham Pearce was sold to Brighton a week after the game. Graham went on to play at Wembley for the Seagulls against Manchester United in the FA Cup final following season. Gary Phillips once told me with a huge smile on his face “At one point I was going to be part of that deal, Barry told me so – yeah OK Bas” he laughed.

“The Sarge's” wonderful goal can now be admired and cherished on You Tube forever while I also remember a great day out at the seaside, the Brighton Pier and pubs on the front decked with amber and black during the afternoon and being chased by about 300 Brighton hooligans back to our hired 16 seater mini bus after the game. I as have said before, as a Barnet fan in those days intoxicating times just like those have to be remembered with fondness because to put it simply they were few and far between!


  1. Stumbled across this game clip and there's my dad playing

  2. Crazy to see my dad playing in the FA CUP
    Callum Barnes

  3. Great player your Dad top goalscorer in 1981 and 82 and Player of the Year 1983 I have recently made contact with one of his old pals Gary French. If you would like contact details drop me a line Callum. Thank you Reckless.

  4. Wonderful, i loved this post - i shared on Facebook, good work , keep it