Tykes games rekindle host of memories - good and bad

PUBLISHED: 18:42 16 November 2017 | UPDATED: 18:42 16 November 2017

Andrew Crofts, left, celebrates with Andrew Surman after scoring against Barnsley at Oakwell in February, 2011. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Andrew Crofts, left, celebrates with Andrew Surman after scoring against Barnsley at Oakwell in February, 2011. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Focus Images 2011

Spud's teaser: Who were the last away side to win a competitive game at The Nest?

Phew, thank goodness the international break is over – no more of them until March.

However much we may have needed the break two weeks ago, following three consecutive league defeats, you cannot beat a match day, even more so when it means we come across a team we have a good record against or a side of which I’ve got some good memories. One of those teams is Barnsley – we really are to the Tykes what Fulham are to us.

Before last season we had nine wins and a draw in the last 10 meetings. We also had some great recent wins, including a 4-0 and a 5-1. There have been some great goals, the most notable being Andrew Crofts’ wonder goal in February 2011, while Wes Hoolahan scored his first Canaries goal against Barnsley in January, 2009.

Barnsley have not won at Carrow Road since May 1937 and from a personal note, I received my first players’ shirt after our 2-0 win at Oakwell in front of 6,000 Norwich fans in April 2002 as we marched towards the play-offs. Adam Drury gave me his match shirt as he walked off the pitch after the game.

My first trip to Oakwell was a midweek game in September 1998. Barnsley were back in Division One after their one and only season in the Premier League and we had had a excellent start to the season, winning three out of the first four games.

Back in those days there was a group of us who would travel to most away games by minibus, and Barnsley was no different. All the trips were organised by fellow Canary Phil Keenan who would hire the minibus from Great Yarmouth.

Like a usual trip up north, we would first negotiate the A47, but as we approached King’s Lynn our minibus broke down, five miles from town. This was before we had mobile phones, so one of us had to walk into the nearest village to call the minibus hire firm.

The person on the other end of the phone said they would send a new minibus straight away. The only problem was, they were coming from Yarmouth.

The minibus finally arrived and we were back on the road about 6.30pm. With just 75 minutes until kick-off we knew we wouldn’t make it, but getting there in time for the second half was the target.

Within a few minutes of kick-off, Barnsley took the lead. It was a strange feeling hearing it on the radio knowing we should be there witnessing it.

We got to Oakwell shortly before half-time, only to hear our keeper Andy Marshall was injured and had to be substituted. We were still losing 1-0 and it really was a case of ‘we should have stayed in Norfolk’.

We got into the ground shortly after half-time, Lee Marshall equalised for Norwich and headed towards the Norwich faithful to celebrate with us. Unfortunately, one of the Barnsley stewards was not to keen on the celebrations and ejected one of supporters. Me!

I couldn’t believe it. After all the hassle of getting there I had seen 13 minutes of football.

I then tried to sneak back in, but to no avail. Then, with a few minutes left, the gates were opened up to let people leave and I sneaked in, but only in an area to the right of the away fans.

As I sat down amongst the Barnsley faithful, Iwan Roberts got the ball and smashed it home. I didn’t celebrate.

Two minutes later, Norwich got a third through Craig Bellamy. As Bellers rose to head home so did I. As the ball hit the back of the net, I stood up to celebrate before remembering where I was.

I then thought it would be best to leave – I didn’t want to upset any more stewards, and I headed back to the minibus to join up with a lot of a happy Canaries.

It was an uneventful trip home, but one that I look back on with fondness – just another chapter on why following Norwich City is never boring, not even these days.

Spud’s teaser answer: Barnsley won 1-0 on March 9, 1935.

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