Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Sat 5 April 2008

SPAOTP's Road to Wembley: FA Cup Semi Finals

At last we can say that our Road To Wembley finally has reached Wembley, but because of the arrangements that have been made by the FA this season, we're not quite at the FA Cup Final yet.

This weekend sees the semi finals taking place of the 2007/08 competition and we're specifically interested in the one taking place tomorrow between SPAOTP's featured team, Barnsley, and Cardiff City. Today, however, we've already seen Portsmouth edge past their opponents, West Bromwich Albion, to reach the Final in May.

So what of Barnsley then? Well we were quite flippant in the last round that our world-renowned jinx would see them lose to Chelsea, but we were wrong. Barnsley battled and battled just as they'd done in previous rounds and managed to get a winning lead through Kayode Odejayi who scored from close range with around 25 minutes left on the clock.

Though Chelsea attacked throughout thanks to the likes of Joe Cole and Nicolas Anelka, Barnsley's defence remained solid, organised and resolute.

A 1-0 win was therefore the order of the day and so Barnsley's band of happy men get to stride out onto the Wembley turf tomorrow knowing a performance like their previous matches in the FA Cup this season (not the Championship, mind you) will earn them a place in the Final against Portsmouth. We say 'not the Championship' because their league position has slipped from 16th at the time of the FA Cup Quarter Finals to 21st at present.

They're now level on points with Southampton who occupy the first of the relegation spots and since their last FA Cup outing they've only notched up one win out of four in the league. Things are looking grim for The Tykes so a good run-out at Wembley tomorrow could give them the boost they need to avoid the Championship trap-door.

So let's will them on to success against Cardiff tomorrow for their sakes and ours. It's been a long and winding road to reach the Final during this series and most of the time we've had to say goodbye to a team just as soon as we've adopted one in each round. If Some People Are On The Pitch can keep Barnsley for a third successive match it'll be something akin to a miracle, quite frankly, but miracles can happen...

It's therefore time to settle back and enjoy the semi final tomorrow in the hope that Barnsley can weave their magic once again, but rest assured for the Final next month there'll be a lengthy and at times emotional look back on our Road To Wembley as we review how far we've come prior to this season's big finalé. Join SPAOTP for that if you can...

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