Welcome t’ Tarn: The Playoffs

How did this happen? How on earth did we get here? We had been predicted to go down, and fight bravely against relegation, not be in contention to be promoted to the richest league in the world! Derby County, that old foe, was all that stood in our way of a return to Wembley. Now we were in the competition, I was going to try my best.

Norwich and Villa would fight it out in the other match up, but we would start at Oakwell in the first leg. We’d suffer a set back from the off, with Rawson ineligable to play against his parent club, and Marc Roberts injured…Angus MacDonald and Cole Kpekawa would be our central defenders, with the returning Saidy Janko and Aiden White as full backs. A midfield 3 of Davies, Hourihane and  Scowen would hold possession, whilst a front three of Maddison, Yiadom and Winnall would attack. Derby set up strongly, and it was them who took the lead through a Richard Keogh header on the 30th minute. Drat.

It would last but 4 minutes, as a through ball to Maddison would see the winger fire a vicious shot past the derby keeper. The game was on a knife edge until the very end, where Jacob Butterfield gave away a penalty in the derby box, the substituted Thomas Bradshaw slotting away the result We won 2-1! 2-1 in the first leg!!! A relatively straight forward game…the second leg, not so much.

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The most intense game of my life…

The second leg cannot be described. It really cannot. You need only look at this…

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The game was intense, featuring a Winnall Hat trick, a come back, a collapse, and a penalty shoot out. It was one of those games where every single moment was a highlight. Something happened with every kick of the ball, and neither team though defending was a priority. Probably one of the finest games (for the neutral) that I’ve ever played. In the end, it would come down to a penalty shootout, which would be decided by Vydra’s miss kick, sending us to Wembley!!!!!

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The final…

The most remarkable of endings to a season where we had gone against all odds, and found ourselves in with a shout of promotion, saw us come up against the all powerful Norwich City, who despite underachieving by not gaining automatic promotion, were still a force to reckon with, and who we had failed to beat all season. After the intense semifinal second leg, the final would probably be considered an anti-climax, as a tense affair with little in the way of opportunity played out on the hallowed turf of Wembley.

Captain Conor Hourihane would be our difference maker, doing what he had done so often, firing us into the lead with a massive shot from outside the box. Robbie Brady would equalise for Norwich in the second half, the result seeing the game into extra time, and penalties. We had come so far, and bloody hell, I’d be gutted if we went out on penalties after all of it…

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Norwich would go first, with McGrandles, Brady, Oliveira, Canos, and Olsson all scoring, whilst Hourihane, Scowen, Kpekawa, Winnall and Maddison would score for us. It would go to sudden death. Up steps Klose for Norwich, his effort, poor…his shot, saved by Davies! It would be decided, as if by fate, by Left Back Aiden White, the Barnsley boy.

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It was done…Barnsley Football Club…Premier League 2017/18. What an achievement. The plaudits came in, and the ultimate underdog story was complete! I've won promotion by mistake3.PNG

I've won promotion by mistake2.PNGThis team, this band of brothers, had done the near impossible, and I couldn’t have been prouder…Then it hit me…shit, we are in the Premier League. How are we going to even contemplate staying in this division…oh shit. Man, this was going to be hard…

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Welcome t’ tarn was over…HELP! I’ve been promoted by mistake! had begun. 

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