Trouble and strife for O’Leary but Potters Bar Town’s draw with Barnet still his ‘best moment’ in football
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Lee O’Leary described Potters Bar Town scoring in the 11th minute of injury time and earning an FA Cup replay against Barnet as the “best moment in my whole footballing career” – although not everybody in his family was in agreement.
Andy Lomas' goal, credited to the full-back despite going in off Dan Sweeney, earned the Scholars a 1-1 draw and a chance to lock horns once again with the National League side at The Hive on Tuesday.
The Scholars boss may have to do some crawling to his wife first though before he can turn his attentions to that.
He said: "Me and the missus are flying out to Spain in the morning and I've now got to get a flight back.
"She is not happy.
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"But that is what football is all about. For me that is probably the best moment in my whole footballing career.
"That one moment, it all happened in slow motion. The goal, the celebrations, I'll remember that for a long time. It was special."
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Special was a very good word to describe the day and the occasion for the Isthmian League Premier Division side with a record crowd of 2,011 packing into the Pakex Stadium.
It attracted the BBC cameras as well and for a while it looked as if Josh Walker's goal would be the only goal of the game, a match that wasn't exactly littered with chances for either side.
That, however, was just how O'Leary wanted it.
"We'd planned and I'd tried to put across to the chaps how I felt the game would go and that was exactly how it went," he said.
"It was important that we were organised defensively when we were out of possession and not gift them opportunities, although we did for their goal.
"But we knew that the longer it was 0-0 or 1-0 we would get a chance. That's the nature of these cup competitions.
"The boys run through brick walls for their team-mates and they showed tremendous character and willingness.
"I'm delighted for them.
"They stuck to the game plan from minute one. At half-time a couple of them were getting edgy and wanted to get higher up on the pitch.
"But I told them to stick to the game plan and if we have to take it into the 90th minute then so be it.
"We'll always get a chance.
"We changed personnel and tactics towards the end and it paid off."
His final words though were for the board and the volunteers behind the scenes who had worked wonders to transform the atmospheric little ground into one worthy of the big stage.
He said: "I'm over the moon not only for the boys but for the club as a whole. It's been a tough week or 10 days for everyone.
"They have put in every effort to make this game the best occasion it can be and I'm just glad the boys could repay them a little bit and get the replay."