Video of the Day: Brighton & Hove Albion vs Barnet, January 1982
Barnet make the trip down to the south coast this evening to play Brighton & Hove Albion in the League Cup. The Bees have had a mixed start to their League Two season, having won, drawn and lost each of their first three matches. They may, however, be feeling confident of causing an upset from a trip to Sussex to play a Brighton team which has lost both of its first two Premier League matches and has been learning a harsh lesson over the last couple of weeks about how difficult life in the top flight of English football can actually be. Can they cause an upset at the American Express Community Stadium tonight? Well, stranger things have definitely happened.
This isn’t, however, the first two times that these two clubs have been drawn to play each other in a cup competition and this morning’s archive video features the two clubs going head to head with an even greater gap between them than exists today. Barnet had been invited to join the Alliance Premier League upon its formation in 1979 but had found life in their new league something of a struggle, finishing in seventeenth place in a twenty team division in each of their first two seasons there. Indeed the club’s FA Cup run in during the first half of the 1981/82 season provided some respite from another season that ended up being something of an attritional battle against relegation.
A decent cup run, however, can provide something to take fans’ minds off things, and in the FA Cup that season, Barnet defeated the amateurs of Corinthian-Casuals in the Fourth Qualifying Round of the competition, were also blessed with draws against non-league opposition in the next two rounds. In the First Round they were drawn away to Harlow Town, a tricky draw, considering that Harlow had won the Isthmian League with one hundred points – it would be a further six years before the Isthmian League’s champions would be permitted promotion to the APL – and the following year would beat Southend United and Leicester City before being narrowly beaten by Watford in the Fourth Round of the competition.
Having required a replay to edge past this match, a home draw in the Second Round was the club’s reward and the opposition was again strong opposition from the top of the Isthmian League, this time on the form of Wycombe Wanderers, another team with a history of FA Cup giant-killing and a distinctive sloped pitch. Victory in this match earned Barnet a place in the Third Round of the competition, where the visit of First Division Brighton & Hove Albion caused considerable local excitement and brought the cameras of Match of The Day to Underhill. It also caused the Metropolitan Police something of a headache as, on the same day just four miles away, Barnet’s local rivals Enfield were at home against Brighton’s rivals Crystal Palace at the same time.
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