Football: Hoddle sets up a date with big brother

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The Independent Online
Crawley Town 1

Ford 86

Barnet 2

Rowe 51, Hoddle 71

Attendance: 4,200

THE seeker after FA Cup romance and heroic exploits would have drawn a blank yesterday at Town Mead. Even the presence of the television cameras could not stir Crawley sufficiently to bother Barnet, who must be the most demoralised outfit in the Football League.

But a Second Division side down on their luck are still a class or two ahead of even a thriving Beazer Homes League club. Eventually the difference showed, but not until the 51st minute, when Zeke Rowe stabbed Barnet's first goal.

The visiting fans' joy at Rowe's opener was such that the barrier behind Neil Taylor in the Crawley goal was sent crashing by their innocent exuberance. The time added on while repairs were done, and another few minutes when a dauntless Crawley fan chose a this chill December afternoon for a spot of near-naked streaking, gave the home side a few extra minutes in which they tried hard to retrieve some of their dignity.

Barnet's reward is a home tie against Chelsea, managed by Glenn Hoddle. It was Hoddle's younger brother, Carl, who added Barnet's second in the 71st minute and it seemed as if there could be a rout. But four minutes from time, Mark Ford pulled one back for Crawley and the extra minutes saw Gary Phillips in active service in the Barnet goal. It came to nothing, though.

Alan Walker was outstanding at the heart of Barnet's defence, where he was sustained by the muscular and intimidating support of David Barnett. A bit too much at times, as Barnett was booked in the second half.

The old head on the shoulders of the Professional Footballers' Association chairman, Brian Marwood, kept the visitors thinking that bit more quickly than their opponents for most of the 90 minutes.

The Sussex side's chairman, John Maggs, is on record that the financial windfall from the record receipts will go to upgrading the ground 'ready for Conference football'. The ground is not the only thing that will need improvement before that day dawns.

Perhaps it was the presence of the Match of the Day cameras that spurred Crawley into trying to play a textbook passing game which is difficult enough on this kind of surface and doubly so when the requisite skills are in short supply. It was only after they had gone behind that they turned to the FA's coaching supremo, Charles Hughes - hurling long balls into the Barnet goalmouth. Ironically, only in these moments did they occasionally cause Barnet to worry.

(Photograph omitted)

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