AT LAST! At last Barry beat Merthyr. At last Barry are in the FA Cup.

Ian Love opens the scoring against Merthyr in the FA Cup, 1984

Ian Love opens the scoring against Merthyr in the FA Cup, 1984

Ian Love scores the opening goal in Barry Town’s famous win over age-old rivals, Merthyr Tydfil.

It wasn’t simply your regular Barry v Merthyr grudge match, oh no.

The one thing Barry rarely did, ever, was do well in the FA Cup. The club had no famous Rhyl-esque sequence of appearances in the world famous competition, and a good FA Cup run came roughly every 20 years or so. The 1984-85 season would be one of those times. It would be the final time. For Barry, it would be the biggest match seen at Jenner Park since the Linnets entertained QPR in the FA Cup some 22 years previously.

Barry and Merthyr had met in an FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round the previous season, and lost. When Barry got past Forest Green Rovers 3-2 in the opening qualifying round in the following season, they took Mangotsfield to a 2nd Qualifying Round Replay on October 3rd, 1984. Goals from Ashley Griffiths and Ian Love in the Replay gave Barry an excellent 3rd Qualifying Round tie against Gloucester City on October 13. Gloucester were beaten 3-1 with a penalty from Derek Redwood, and goals from Phil McNeil and Bobby Smith.

Barry Town had reached the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round, so often the club’s stumbling block. Only 4 times had the club got past this point in the competition. The reward? An exciting but tough away draw to Penydarren Park and perennial Merthyr Tydfil. When the clubs met on October 27 there was a 1-1 stalemate at Penydarren, the Barry goal scored by Steve Williams, in front of a crowd of 1,591.

The nervy 4th Qualifying Round Replay at Jenner Park just 4 days later, on Halloween of all days, also ended 1-1. Steve Williams again the Barry scorer that Wednesday afternoon. Yes, Wednesday afternoon, and 1,623 supporters either threw a sickie, or like me, mitched off school. Incredibly, the club had Welsh Cup commitments on the following Saturday, so the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round Second Replay had to be played on November 5 – Bonfire Night – actually, it was a Monday afternoon.

In front of a crowd of 1,666 at Jenner Park, Barry Town ran out 3-2 winners over their old rivals with goals from Ian Love (pictured above), Phil Green, and the winning goal from defender Mike Cosslett to send the home supporters in utter delirium and the club into the FA Cup 1st Round Proper.

Barry Town’s opponents in the FA Cup would be Division Three Reading. Almost 4,000 supporters crammed into the ground to watch the match, and it would be the biggest crowd seen at Jenner Park until Barry Town played Aberdeen in a UEFA Cup 1st Round 2nd Leg fixture some 12 years later in a hugely altered Jenner Park.

The picture below was purchased recently, and handwritten on the back was: “AT LAST! Barry beat Merthyr in the FA Cup, 1984.

Barry Town celebrate after their FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round win over Merthyr

Barry Town celebrate after their FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round win over Merthyr sends them into the FA Cup 1st Round Proper for the first time in over 20 years – and the final time.

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