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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


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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Sky Bet League 2

Sky Bet League 2
Pos Team P Pts
1 Wycombe Wanderers 27 52
2 Shrewsbury Town 27 51
3 Burton Albion 27 51
4 Luton Town 26 47
5 Southend United 27 47
6 Newport County AFC 27 46
7 Bury 27 44
8 Stevenage 27 41
9 Exeter City 28 41
10 Plymouth Argyle 27 40
11 Morecambe 27 37
12 Cambridge United 26 36
13 AFC Wimbledon 26 36
14 Northampton Town 27 34
15 Accrington Stanley 26 33
16 Oxford United 27 30
17 Cheltenham Town 27 30
18 Portsmouth 26 29
19 York City 27 28
20 Mansfield Town 26 28
21 Tranmere Rovers 26 27
22 Dagenham & Redbridge 27 27
23 Carlisle United 27 27
24 Hartlepool United 27 18