Reds v Chester: FA Cup 2nd Round
Sunday 7th December, 2014
Barnsley will be eager to return to winning ways when they welcome Conference outfit Chester City to Oakwell for the FA Cup second round on Sunday afternoon.
The Reds ended a run of two straight defeats with a 1-1 draw against South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster on Tuesday which leaves them 14th in League One, but after failing to pick up a victory in their last three outings Danny Wilson will be expecting better from his side.
The Club’s improvement in their home form of late – losing just one of their last five games at Oakwell - will give Wilson confidence as they aim to pick up their first win since beating Colchester in mid-November.
Chester will be no easy pickings however, with the Cheshire Club winning three of their last five games including Tuesday night’s 2-0 success against AFC Telford.
That leaves Steve Burr’s side just six points outside the Conference play-off places; with the Blues suffering just two defeats since their infamous first round win against Southend.
Away from home Sunday’s visitors have been inconsistent; winning four and losing four of their last eight games on the road, but an eight match unbeaten run – including six wins - at their own Deva Stadium has more than made up for that erratic away form.
Barnsley and Chester will meet for the first time in 34 years on Sunday afternoon with the Conference side edging previous encounters between the sides.
The Cheshire based outfit have won 12 of the meetings, with Barnsley tasting success on only eight occasions with the other nine ending as stalemates.
The most recent of those clashes came in April 1981 in the old third division as the Clubs played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in Chester, meanwhile the Oakwell meeting in that 1980-81 campaign ended in a 2-0 success for the Reds.
An FA Cup match between the two sides in that season also ended in a Barnsley victory and you have to go back slightly further for Chester’s last win at Oakwell which came in August 1974 when they edged a narrow contest 1-0.
Barnsley will be without Sam Winnall once again after the striker pulled his hamstring in last weekend’s home defeat against Scunthorpe.
Experienced forward Leroy Lita replaced Winnall for Tuesday night’s draw against Doncaster and the former Reading man will be pushing for another start despite competition from Kane Hemmings.
Some good news for boss Wilson will see him welcome back Martin Cranie after the defender served a one-match suspension against Donny, but the Barnsley manager will have to check on the fitness of on-loan winger Ryan Williams who has missed the last two games with a groin injury and left-back Joe Dudgeon who suffered a hamstring problem in the warm up on Tuesday night.
Young Reds forward Rhys Oates is currently enjoying a loan spell at Sunday’s visitors Chester but the 20-year-old – who has scored twice for his temporary employers – is ineligible to face his parent side.
One man who is set to face his former Club however, is John Rooney, who spent seven months at Oakwell without making a senior appearance during the 2012-13 season.
Man in the Middle
Lancashire based referee Darren Handley will lead out the teams in a Barnsley game for the first time on Sunday afternoon. The official is not so unfamiliar to the travelling City supporters however, having taken charge of several Chester games in the past including four last season.
Handley became something of a good luck charm for Sunday’s opponents, with Burr’s side winning two and drawing two of the four games involving the official. The Lancashire man has officiated largely in League Two this time out, brandishing 45 yellow cards and four reds in 12 games.
Two of those red cards have come in Handley’s last two outings; sending off Mansfield’s Jamie McGuire in their 2-0 defeat at Shrewsbury and former Barnsley forward Chris Dagnall in Leyton Orient’s 3-1 loss at Bradford last Saturday.
Their Star Man
Irish winger Craig Mahon was the man in the headlines last month after his stunning second-half strike clinched Chester’s 2-1 victory against League Two side Southend in the first round of the FA Cup. That goal was Mahon’s third of the season; a tally which has since risen to five following the former Accrington Stanley wingers brace against Dartford in late November.
Mahon – who began his career with Wigan before spells in non-league with Salford, Burscough and Vauxhall Motors – is currently in his second campaign at the Deva Stadium and has already surpassed his goal scoring tally of last season with all five of his strikes this time out arriving in his last 12 appearances.
David Flitcroft first arrived at Oakwell in June 2011 as part of the backroom staff which followed Keith Hill across the Pennines from Rochdale. A year and a half later and the former Preston North End midfielder was sitting in the Barnsley hot seat himself after the sacking of head boss Hill. Leading the Reds to just their second win in 16 games against Burnley in the FA Cup and a 2-0 success against Yorkshire rivals Leeds was more than enough to see Flitcroft trusted with his first senior management position.
With the Club sitting rock bottom in the Championship the current Bury boss had a huge task on his hands but following nine wins in 21 league matches – which included a run of five victories in six games - the Reds survived relegation on the final day of the 2012-13 season.
Unfortunately for Flitcroft and the Barnsley faithful the 2013-14 campaign did not begin as fruitful and in November 2013 – 11 months after taking permanent control – the Reds manager was dismissed having won 14 of his 44 games in charge. That disappointment did not knock Flitcroft however and the 40-year-old is currently enjoying life in League Two with promotion-chasers Bury.
In his playing days Flitcroft was renowned for his strong midfield displays which began at Preston North End before a transfer to Chester City in December 1993 at the age of 19. The ex-Barnsley boss made eight appearances in his first season with the Blues as they pipped his former club Preston to promotion from the old third division. Despite an immediate relegation back to the third tier, Flitcroft became a regular fixture during his five-and-a-half year stay in Cheshire, scoring 18 league goals in 148 starts. Six of those strikes came in his final campaign with the Club which came to an end in the summer of 1999 when he joined Rochdale ahead of spells with Macclesfield, Bury and Hyde.
Online and Season Ticket Holders:
Adult - £10
Concession (Over 65 & Under 22) - £5
Under 12* - £1
Non-Season Ticket Holder and matchday price:
Adult - £15
Concession - £10
Under 12* - £5
Tickets are sold as unreserved seating in the CK Beckett South Stand and Pukka Pies East Stand only.
Online prices and Season Ticket Holder discounts are only available until 12 noon Saturday 6th December. *The Under 12 price of £5 on the day of the game is only available from the box office, they are not on turnstiles.
Juvenile Under 12 prices are only applicable when purchased with an adult or over 65 ticket.
Unaccompanied Under 12s will be charged the concession price.