The 'Conquest to Paradise' that is the magic of the FA Cup yet again threw up a shock as seemingly dead and buried Stalybridge Celtic came from two goals behind to force a unlikely replay at Underhill. Barnet approached the game in a relaxed frame of mind, having taken time out during the week to see The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and it paid dividends as they took the lead inside of 4 minutes, courtesy of Gamble.
There was no joke, as well as being nobody about, when Beadle was able to double the lead half a hour into the game.
Luckily there is an old adage in football that 2-0 is a dangerous lead to hold and so it proved as Celtic began to get a foothold in the game. Steve Foster dragged the ball back from the goal line, seemingly for Kenny Mayers to put the Celts in with a shout. However, his unselfish play meant he left the chance to Barrie Keeling, who was able to rifle the ball into the roof of the net right on the stroke of half time.
Celtic than began to dominate the game with the occasional Barnet foray thrown in for good measure. One such foray saw Terry Bowker appear to punch a Barnet forward as they both lay prone in the Celtic penalty area. An ensuing melee saw players from both sides booked, but strangely neither of the two protagonists.
As the second half wore on, Celtic went for the jugular and were rewarded with just thirteen minutes left on the clock when they were awarded what appeared to be a dubious penalty as Nathan Wharton was adjudged to have been fouled. A long stoppage ensued during which the referee made another bizarre decision in which he allowed Barnet to make a substitution.
What nerves did Eastwood have now as he waited to take the penalty? Luckily they appeared to be as strong as those of his namesake 'Clint' as he sent the keeper the wrong way.
Despite, Barnet launching a last ditch offensive to win the tie, it was the Celtic rearguard who held firm to force a replay.
Whether or not they can be classed as slight favourites in the replay is debatable, but come the end of the first tie it was the Celtic team who were milking the atmosphere in front of their adoring fans as they embarked on their own conquest to paradise.