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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 Burton Albion 45 91
2 Shrewsbury Town 45 89
3 Southend United 45 84
4 Bury 45 82
5 Wycombe Wanderers 45 81
6 Stevenage 45 72
7 Plymouth Argyle 45 68
8 Luton Town 45 65
9 Newport County AFC 45 65
10 Northampton Town 45 61
11 Exeter City 45 61
12 Morecambe 45 60
13 Dagenham & Redbridge 45 59
14 Oxford United 45 58
15 AFC Wimbledon 45 57
16 Portsmouth 45 56
17 Accrington Stanley 45 53
18 Cambridge United 45 51
19 York City 45 51
20 Carlisle United 45 49
21 Mansfield Town 45 48
22 Hartlepool United 45 44
23 Cheltenham Town 45 40
24 Tranmere Rovers 45 39