‘Inspirational’ Barnett nets first goal since recovery in Chatteris cup comeback

Chatteris' Lee Barnett celebrates his equaliser

Chatteris' Lee Barnett celebrates his equaliser - Credit: Archant

Chatteris Town’s Lee Barnett scored his first goal since recovering from cancer in their 3-2 cup victory against Foxton on Saturday.

The Lillies were facing a Cliff Bullen Challenge Cup exit, but the 23-year-old slotted the ball home deep into injury time to send the tie into extra time.

Barnett, from Doddington, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in August 2014, forcing him to postpone his football career and begin chemotherapy treatment.

Just over a year on, Barnett has recovered and is back amongst the goals, much to his relief.

“It’s a relief to score again - it’s been a while. I finished ten games last season when it was probably too early for me to come back, and I’ve managed to play in seven or eight this season” he said.

Barnett tucked the ball home from 25 yards against Foxton to complete his side’s heroic comeback after they trailed by two goals at half time.

Foxton raced into a two goal lead with goals from Sam Austin and Martin Turner and nearly scored a third but missed from the spot after being awarded a penalty. Foxton were cruising into the next round until a spirited second-half performance from the Lillies saw them fight back and book their place in the second round where they will face Bar Hill Saturday on November 7.

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Anton Kaval pulled one back in the second half for Chatteris and Barnett popped up at the death to force the game into extra time.

Star striker Craig Gillies scored his 15th in nine games this season with a penalty - won by the heroic Barnett - to seal Chatteris’ remarkable turnaround.

Since the game, Barnett has been inundated on social media with messages of support - something he is very grateful for.

“I’m really overwhelmed with all the support I’ve had and the reaction I’ve got on social media. The manager said that my first goal had to be an important one and I’m glad it was” said the central midfielder.

The goal-scorer is now hoping that his first goal in over five years will be the first of many.

Barnett said: “It’s nice to get a goal again and hopefully I can kick on and get a few more now.”

Chatteris boss Ashley Taylor hailed the midfielder as an ‘inspiration’ following his side’s cup win.

“I’m so proud of Lee” said the Lillies’ manager.

“He has worked tremendously hard since returning and has been a shining star so far this season. I said to him after the game I knew his first goal would be a really important one and when he scored you could see it meant so much to him and his fellow players.

He really is an inspiration to us all and an example of not letting the tough times in life get the better of you.”

Chatteris return to cup action on the October 31, this time taking on Girton United in the William Cockell Memorial Cup.