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Sky Bet League 2

Spotland Stadium (ATT 9,870) 17th May 2008 - Kick off 12:00 Ref: R Beeby

Rochdale Rochdale vs Darlington Darlington

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Darlington 1

Rochdale win 5-4 on penalties

Dale heading for Wembley

Lee's save takes Dale to Wembley for the first time

By Andy Clarke.   Last Updated: 17/05/08 8:19pm

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Muirhead: Decisive kick

Muirhead: Decisive kick

Ben Muirhead scored the decisive spot-kick as Rochdale beat Darlington 5-4 on penalties to book their place in the League Two play-off final.

With the scores level at 4-4, the former Manchester United trainee fired his penalty straight down the centre after Dale keeper Tommy Lee had kept out Jason Kennedy's effort with his legs.

Rochdale earned their first ever trip to Wembley after a superb fightback at Spotland, winning 2-1 to overturn a first-leg deficit.

Keith Hill's side lost 2-1 at the Darlington Arena and fell 3-1 behind on aggregate when Clark Keltie converted a penalty after Rene Howe was harshly adjudged to have pulled back Kennedy in the area.

Rochdale fought back two minutes before half time when Darlington keeper David Stockdale, who will join Fulham in the summer, spilled Adam Rundle's free-kick and Chris Dagnall bundled the ball over the line.

Near miss

Keltie almost restored the visitors' two-goal advantage in the tie when he struck the crossbar in the first minute of the second half, before firing over another long-range attempt.

Darlington were able to keep their hosts at arm's length for most of the second period, but Dale finally levelled the aggregate score in the 83rd minute when David Perkins' long-range shot deflected off Kennedy and over Stockdale.

Perkins was shown a straight red card for a lunge at Ricky Ravenhill in the second period of extra time, but it was Rochdale's 10 men who came closest to finding a winner when Adam Le Fondre clipped the bar with a smart volley.

Kennedy wasted a glorious chance for Darlington when he sliced a shot wide after some neat control, and the on-loan Middlesbrough winger was the villain again in the shoot-out when he became the only player to miss.

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Matches

Table

Sky Bet League 2

Sky Bet League 2
Pos Team P Pts
1 Wycombe Wanderers 13 28
2 Bury 13 26
3 Burton Albion 13 25
4 Luton Town 13 24
5 Plymouth Argyle 13 22
6 Morecambe 13 22
7 Shrewsbury Town 13 21
8 Southend United 13 21
9 Newport County AFC 13 19
10 Cheltenham Town 13 19
11 Cambridge United 13 18
12 Northampton Town 13 18
13 AFC Wimbledon 13 18
14 Portsmouth 13 17
15 Stevenage 13 17
16 Mansfield Town 13 17
17 Exeter City 13 16
18 Accrington Stanley 13 16
19 Dagenham & Redbridge 13 14
20 Oxford United 13 13
21 Carlisle United 13 12
22 Hartlepool United 13 11
23 York City 13 10
24 Tranmere Rovers 13 9

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