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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 18 35
2 Burton Albion 18 35
3 Luton Town 18 34
4 Shrewsbury Town 18 33
5 Southend United 18 31
6 Plymouth Argyle 18 30
7 Bury 18 30
8 Exeter City 19 30
9 Newport County AFC 18 28
10 Portsmouth 18 26
11 Morecambe 18 26
12 Accrington Stanley 19 26
13 Cambridge United 18 24
14 Northampton Town 18 24
15 Stevenage 18 24
16 AFC Wimbledon 18 24
17 Mansfield Town 18 22
18 Cheltenham Town 18 22
19 Oxford United 18 20
20 York City 18 18
21 Dagenham & Redbridge 18 18
22 Carlisle United 18 18
23 Tranmere Rovers 18 12
24 Hartlepool United 18 12