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Brilliant Barnes puts Watford within sight of Wembley

Who can forget the moment of genius from John Barnes that opened the scoring and silenced the big, hostile St Andrew’s crowd?

A long kick from Steve Sherwood reached the edge of Birmingham’s area and forced an awkward header from Noel Blake.

The ball fell to Barnes on the left-hand corner of the box. He controlled it with his back to goal, turned quickly then jinked between Peter McCarrick and Martin Kuhl with two deft touches of his left foot. Now he had space he hit a hard, dipping shot with the outside of his left foot that dived like a remote-controlled missile under the bar but above the desperate reach of City keeper Tony Coton.

Barnes admitted the ball bobbled as he prepared to hit it, meaning it sat up nicely for him to achieve the power and swerve. Coton called it ‘a flukey one’ but it was a goal fit to win any cup tie.

There was still a long way to go, and this bruising Blues side was difficult to grind down even if they created few clear-cut chances.

Nigel Callaghan had a goal disallowed eight minutes later and although Watford were well on top, they knew City would come at them.

The start of the second half was brutal. City seemed to want to turn the pitch into a battleground and Watford were happy to fight fire with fire.

Birmingham equalised on the hour when a low, driven cross flew at Steve Terry and the defender was unable to get his body out of the way. The ball bounced off him into the net.

In the end, it was Watford’s fitness that saw them through. As City paid for the physical nature of the game, Watford came into their own and began to find space.

There was still a long way to go, and this bruising Blues side was difficult to grind down even if they created few clear-cut chances.

Nigel Callaghan had a goal disallowed eight minutes later and although Watford were well on top, they knew City would come at them.

The start of the second half was brutal. City seemed to want to turn the pitch into a battleground and Watford were happy to fight fire with fire.

Birmingham equalised on the hour when a low, driven cross flew at Steve Terry and the defender was unable to get his body out of the way. The ball bounced off him into the net.

In the end, it was Watford’s fitness that saw them through. As City paid for the physical nature of the game, Watford came into their own and began to find space.

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In the end, it was Watford’s fitness that saw them through. As City paid for the physical nature of the game, Watford came into their own and began to find space.

In the end, it was Watford’s fitness that saw them through. As City paid for the physical nature of the game, Watford came into their own and began to find space.

In the end, it was Watford’s fitness that saw them through. As City paid for the physical nature of the game, Watford came into their own and began to find space.

In the end, it was Watford’s fitness that saw them through. As City paid for the physical nature of the game, Watford came into their own and began to find space.

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In the end, it was Watford’s fitness that saw them through. As City paid for the physical nature of the game, Watford came into their own and began to find space.

Les Taylor fired in an unstoppable shot, then Barnes stabbed one in at the far post to clinch a semi-final place. ‘When we beat Birmingham, there was a feeling in the team that we were going to make it to Wembley,’ says Kenny Jackett. ‘It was one of the most impressive team performances I played a part in and John’s goal was special. Not many players can do that.’

Watford Sherwood, Bardsley, Rostron, Taylor, Terry, Franklin, Callaghan, Johnston, Reilly, Jackett, Barnes
Manager Graham Taylor
Scorers Barnes 23, 80, Taylor 78
Birmingham scorer Terry og 60
Attendance 40,220

Why was this match chosen? This was a tricky sixth-round draw – away to a tough, dogged top-flight side. An expectant home crowd had not banked on their side being unable to contain Barnes. As significant games in the club's history go, this is right up there – it was the club's fourth FA Cup quarter-final and the second they had won.

How do I feel about this game's inclusion now? No matter what Tony Coton says (and he's only being half serious), John Barnes' opening goal was not a flukey one. It was one of the great Watford goals and this was one of the great games.