THE Titanic had just gone down when Barnsley last won the FA Cup in 1912 and much had been made of their prospects this year in the light of the success of the film of that name. Yesterday the precedent proved portentous, but only in that they sank in the quarter-finals.
In football terms, they submerged with the band still playing. Newcastle, who will face either Coventry or Sheffield United in their first semi- final since 1974, were coasting along two goals up, thanks to Temuri Ketsbaia and Gary Speed, before Andy Liddell made it a hugely tense final half hour.
In the end the tie was decided only when Adie Moses was sent off for two bookable fouls on Alan Shearer after 76 minutes. As he disappeared down the tunnel so did Barnsley's Cup hopes, the final cut coming with a goal in injury time from David Batty.
Barnsley had picked up the mantle from Emley and Stevenage as the darlings of the competition after beating Manchester United in two epic encounters in the last round but the romance yesterday did not look likely to last half an hour. By then Newcastle were two goals up and St James' Park was prematurely wondering where the venue of the semi-final would be.
The full story about Keith Gillespie's head wound he received in Dublin has yet to be told but one thing that was out yesterday was the man himself, who was not even included among the substitutes. In his place was Ketsbaia, making his first start since December, who celebrated his inclusion with a splendid goal.
The Georgian had already announced his arrival with a fifth- minute free- kick which had cannoned against the outside of a post when the Barnsley defence had expected a cross to the head of Alan Shearer.
They had paid too much attention to the England captain then and did so again after 16 minutes and this time did not escape unscathed. Shearer moved to the left taking defenders with him so that when Gary Speed played the ball infield instead there were not enough bodies around to prevent Robert Lee's first-time pass beyond the back line. Barnsley hesitated, hoping for an offside flag, and Ketsbaia raced through, slipping the ball under Dave Watson's body.
Barnsley were aggrieved - and television evidence showed they had every right to be as Ketsbaia was marginally the wrong side of Moses - but their attempts at gaining retribution were leaden-footed. A sense of inevitability was growing and it increased further after 26 minutes when Newcastle got their second goal. Lee played another excellent pass for Andreas Andersson, whose first touch was not sure but it was enough to leave Watson wondering whether he should come for the ball. His indecision allowed the Swede a shot and although the Barnsley goalkeeper blocked it, the rebound fell to Speed who crashed it through a thicket of legs and into the net.
Another goal and the tie would have been irredeemably lost and Shearer should have provided it just after half-time. Ketsbaia played him through and with only the goalkeeper to beat you would have bet your house that the master striker would score. He tried power instead of precision, however, and the ball hit Watson's body.
Barnsley had to gamble and they did by going to a flat back four and bringing on Martin Bullock and Eric Tinkler. The former took to the left flank and made the second half a misery for Warren Barton.
After 56 minutes the diminutive winger teased Barton on the edge of the area before playing a ball along the edge of the area for Liddell to sidefoot past Shay Given.
Eleven minutes later and Bullock almost unpicked the lock again, scuttling across the Newcastle rearguard before passing to Ashley Ward. A fraction slower and the ball would have been perfect but there was enough momentum for Given to get his body in the way.
Shearer had another chance to seal the tie but his header into what appeared to be an empty net from Steve Howey's cross was somehow clawed away. His presence would prove decisive in another way, however, when Moses was drawn into a foul too many on him.
His red card, and Batty's goal deep into injury time, was hard on Barnsley. It was a sad way for the adventure to end.
Goals: Ketsbaia (16) 1-0; Speed (27) 2-0; Liddell (57) 2-1; Batty (90) 3-1.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Given; Barton, Howey, Albert, Pearce; Ketsbaia, Lee, Batty, Speed; Andersson, Shearer. Substitutes not used: Peacock, Barnes, Tomasson, Hamilton, Hislop (gk).
Barnsley (3-5-2): Watson; De Zeeuw (Tinkler, 54), Moses Morgan; Eaden, Marcelle (Bullock, 49), Sheridan, Redfearn, Barnard; Liddell, Ward. Substitutes not used: Bullock, Jones, Tinkler, Hristov, Leese (gk).
Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe).
Sending-off: Barnsley: Moses. Bookings: Newcastle: Barton, Batty, Howey, Shearer, Pearce. Barnsley: Redfearn, Barnard, Morgan.
Man of match: Ketsbaia.
FA Cup semi-final draw
Coventry City or Sheffield Utd v
Wolves v Arsenal
or West Ham Utd
Ties to be played on Sunday 5 April.Reuse content