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  Sunday, 1 October, 2000, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Barrow back on the map
Barrow savoured their visit to the Twin Towers
BBC Sport Online's Martin Roberts fondly recalls how a Wembley outing gave Barrow fans something to really shout about.

Life has been hard for Barrow since they were ejected from the Football League in 1972, but one glorious day at Wembley in 1990 made up for all the seasons of struggle.

An epic run in the FA Trophy, all the sweeter after semi-final elimination two years before, took Barrow to the final against Leek Town.

It was one of the few things the town had to shout about since demotion from the League, which was widely held to have been brought about as other clubs dreaded the long trek north to Cumbria (Barrow had actually been in Division Three the previous season.)

Since then, the ground had gone to rack and ruin, and the club had yo-yoed between the Northern Premier League and Conference, rarely rising far in the latter.

The town's shipbuilding industry had also started to decay, so a chance to put Barrow on the map was all the more welcome.

A fine team had been assembled by north-easterner Ray Wilkie, and over 12,000 fans made the long trip to London.

Welcome chance

For me, it was a rare day off from studying for university finals, and a welcome chance to think about something other than exams.

The team made it all worthwhile with a performance that could not have been scripted better as they thumped Leek 3-0.

Two of the goals came from centre-half Kenny Gordon, who averaged about one a season.

I think it was his 555th and last game for the club before emigrating to Australia, and his father Billy had played for the team for many years as well.

The other goal came from Colin Cowperthwaite, who was nearing the end of a career which would see him finish with 704 appearances for Barrow and 282 goals - both records.

I remember leaping up when the third goal went on, thinking I was back on the terraces at Holker Street, and cutting my shins open when I landed on the ridiculous flat seats at Wembley.

The attendance was only 19,000, but all the fans were crammed into the side where the Royal Box was situated and, if you looked at the right angle, you could imagine it was a full house cheering on the Cumbrians to the greatest day in their history.

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