Mouth of the Tyne: Riddles and anticipation ahead of huge FA Cup clash

PUBLISHED: 06:01 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:29 18 October 2019

Josh Hutchinson heads Potters Bar Town's second goal against Hornchurch in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup. Picture: DANNY LOO

Josh Hutchinson heads Potters Bar Town's second goal against Hornchurch in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup. Picture: DANNY LOO

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It's a game that has captured the imagination of the public, not just in the two towns, but further afield too. One of those people is Potters Bar Edition's Neil Metcalfe who casts his eye over Potters Bar Town's FA Cup game with Barnet for his latest Mouth of the Tyne coloumn.

Potters Bar Edition sports reporter Neil Metcalfe has dreams of a big day for Potters Bar Town in the FA Cup. Picture: DANNY LOOPotters Bar Edition sports reporter Neil Metcalfe has dreams of a big day for Potters Bar Town in the FA Cup. Picture: DANNY LOO

Riddle me this Batman. When is a fourth round qualifying match in the FA Cup just like a game in the first round proper?

Simple, when it is Potters Bar Town against Barnet at what will be a fervent and jam-packed Pakex Stadium.

I'll be honest. Ever since Sunderland were relegated to League One I have longed for one of the teams I cover to be drawn against them in the FA Cup. Potters Bar especially.

The idea of seeing the little Parkside ground full to the rafters with Mackems made me smile. I never once considered that the same effect could be achieved by drawing Barnet.

When the sides were paired against each other my first reaction was one of bitter disappointment. Against a team from the National League I thought the chance of that elusive first round appearance had gone.

It was only when I slowly considered what a match against Barnet meant that I began to realise just what a big deal it was.

Separated by a mere four miles the footballing paths of the two towns couldn't be more different. When the Bees were being promoted to the Football league for the first time, the Scholars were winning the Herts Senior County League Premier Division and were still called Mount Grace Old Scholars.

But that was their first step slowly pulling themselves up the pyramid, to the stage that now, 29 seasons later, the teams are separated by just two divisions.

Barnet are a big deal too in non-league circles. They were a Football League club for 21 of those subsequent years and are looking in good shape for a return this time around, or at least a play-off place.

The authorities seemed to agree with the BBC choosing the match for their live streaming game on their website and the red button.

That was another milestone in elevating the anticipation and the point when I truly starting seeing what the future will bring.

And the build-up has continued to prove that. Over 2,000 are expected at least and manager Lee O'Leary spoke of the hairs standing up on the back of his neck.

The atmosphere at Ware from the Bar Army was immense. I can only imagine the level of noise Saturday will bring and what if they win? It doesn't bear thinking about.

A victory would bring a first round proper place but it would it bring the same level of excitement?

Chances are probably not, even if was against Sunderland.

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