Posh 2011 play-off preview: Peterborough United have only great memories of play-off football. Two sorties into the play-offs have yielded five wins, a draw and two promotions.
Evening Telegraph Posh writer Alan Swann continues his look back at the club’s play-off memories with David Farrell’s stunning hat-trick against Barnet 11 years ago:
Third Division play-off semi-final, Wednesday, 17 May, 2000 at London Road: Posh 3, Barnet 0 (5-1 on aggregate).
DAVID Farrell is a modest, unassuming man far removed from the show-offs and prima-donnas who inhabit professional football these days.
But he can’t stop talking about a hat-trick often called the greatest of all-time, mainly because he doesn’t have any choice.
Flying winger Farrell’s new Posh role as Education and Health Community manager takes him into local schools. It’s rare that the teacher overseeing his visits doesn’t introduce him by finding his night of glory on YouTube and showing it to a young audience unaware that genius existed at London Road before George Boyd.
“That’s the power of the play-offs,” Farrell admitted. “Things went crazy before the matches and even crazier after them.
“If anyone asks me if I can remember the goals I usually say ‘yes, I saw them the other day!’ but only because they show them in the schools I visit.
“It was the greatest night of my football life of course, especially as I’d gone into the match on a bit of a downer.
“We’d won the first leg 2-1, but during that match Andy Clarke had a shot at goal that looked like it was going in and to make sure I ran in and kicked it over the line.
“The linesman flagged me offside and manager Barry Fry was angry, but the following day he apologised because he’d watched the DVD and I was about five yards onside!
“We were confident going into the second leg and it all went right for me. Richard Scott passed me the ball for the first goal which I slammed in from 20 yards with my left foot midway through the first half.
“I cut in from the right to score the second one from a similar distance after a Steve Castle pass and the third one was a lob over the goalkeeper who had come rushing off his line near the end.
“I’d have tried anything by then as I was on a hat-trick and luckily it came off for me. It was a great feeling and the celebrations at the ground in front of our fans were awesome - it’s not every day you get to Wembley after all!”
Farrell was never one for the limelight no matter how great his achievements, but he was a wanted man the following day as the nation’s press descended on his Park Farm home.
He added: “The play-offs were as big as the FA Cup Final in those days, if anything they attracted more attention, which I found a bit disturbing because I was never one to seek attention.
“The day after the hat-trick I had Sky, the BBC, ITV and the national press round the house. I can’t say I enjoyed it as I was knackered and I just wanted to rest and get ready for the final.
“We won the final of course, but there was no real secret to our success.
“We didn’t go into the play-offs in particularly great form. We weren’t playing rubbish either, but I’ve been telling the current players not to worry about the run they’ve been on.
“It’s all about performing on the day. You’ve just got to win three more games and you’ll be up and the team now is easily good enough to do that.”
BARRY Fry put Farrell’s achievement that night into proper perspective.
“I have never seen a better hat-trick in my life,” Fry insisted. “And I used to watch George Best a lot.”
THE Posh team that night included unlikely heroes such as Simon Rea, Richard Scott, Gareth Jelleyman (playing left-midfield) and Francis Green. Current Posh youth team boss David Oldfield played in the centre of midfield.
The Barnet team included former Posh players Greg Heald, Michael Basham, Ken Charlery and Scott McGleish, plus future Posh players Lee Harrison and Mark Arber.
Barnet’s manager was former Posh boss John Still who had a promising youngster called Marlon King on the substitutes’ bench.
All were overshadowed by Farrell though who picked up a rare 10/10 in The Evening Telegraph match ratings.
Posh: Mark Tyler, Richard Scott, Adam Drury, Andy Edwards, Simon Rea, David Farrell, Gareth Jelleyman, David Oldfield, Steve Castle, Francis Green, Andy Clarke. Subs: Matthew Gill, Ritchie Hanlon, Dean Hooper, Matthew Wicks, Bart Griemink.
Barnet: Lee Harrison, Sam Stockley, Frazer Toms, Greg Heald, Michael Basham, Mark Arber, Danny Brown, John Doolan, Darren Currie, Ken Charlery, Scott McGleish. Subs: Marlon King, Bert Bossu, Warren Goodhind, Paul Wilson, Rob Sawyer.
Referee: Terry Heilbron