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Darlington 1
Saturday 29th April 2006
Football League 'League Two'
Ian Stonebridge sees another shot go close against DarlingtonWanderers made it into the 'League Two' play-offs despite going down 1-0 to Darlington in the final home game of the regular season. Peterborough's defeat at Leyton Orient guarantees Wanderers a play-off place but Cheltenham have now leap-frogged Wycombe in the table and on current standings would have home advantage in the second-leg of the play-off semi-final.
The game with Darlington saw Wycombe name an unchanged side to the one that gained victory at Rushden & Diamonds the previous week and after an even first half it looked like Wycombe had gained the upper hand when Matt Clarke was red carded for pulling back Ian Stonebridge on route to goal. Tommy Mooney struck the resulting free-kick against the post but five minutes into the second-half the visitors scored what turned out to be the winning goal when a free-kick was pushed out to the left flank where David Duke rifled in a shot from 25 yards into the far corner of the net.
Danny Senda in action against DarlingtonBefore the goal both sides had clear cut chance to have taken the lead. In the 7th minute a Kevin Betsy cross from the right of midfield was caught exquistely on the volley by Mooney at the far corner of the six yard box but Sam Russell in the Darlington goal pulled off an amazing reaction save. The visitors best chance of the half came on 41 minutes when Duke got past Betsy with ease down the left before seeing his low cross sided footed against the crossbar by Simon Johnson.
With the visitors reduced to ten men Ian Stonebridge glanced a header wide three minutes after the restart before Wycombe were caught out with Duke's bullet past Talia. However, knowing a point would definetly seal a play-off place Wanderers did everything but score in the remainder of the game. Mooney went close with a couple of headers and Russell Martin will feel he should have done more with a header crossed from the right by Danny Senda on 78 minutes. Stonebridge struck a 25 yard effort against the post on 85 minutes before an amazing incident a minute later when Mooney's effort from the left of the box managed to ricochet off both posts as players and supporters looked on in disbelief. Thankfully the result from Peterborough provided some relief ahead of the trip to London Road on the final day of the 2005/6 season.
Final Score - Wycombe 0 Darlington 1
Somehow this shot from Tommy Mooney didnt end in a goal
Steve Brown Speaking to BBC Three Counties Radio after the match Steve Brown said "Now we are in the play-offs it is a fresh impetus for us and it is opportunity to re-charge and re-shape ourselves and get ourselves into this little cup tournament called the play-offs." The stand-in boss said he was pleased with the number of chances his team had created and the positive nature of their play, adding "You couldn't ask any more of the lads. I thought we did everything to win a football match but put the ball into the net." Commenting in Darlington, Brown said, "Two shots, one goal. That's a typical away performance of teams that come to Adams Park this year and that's something we have to overcome. In the play-off games no team will want to come here and open up and play, unless they are behind from the first leg, so that is something we have to get used to here and something that, by now, we should be used to."
Wycombe: Talia, Senda, Easton, Johnson, Antwi, Betsy, Bloomfield, Lee, Martin, Stonebridge, Mooney - subs not used: Oakes, Easter, Burnell, Williams, Williamson
Bookings: Antwi (49 foul), Mooney (88 dissent)
Scorers: none
Darlington: Russell, Valentine, Clarke, Martis, Duke, Keltie, Johnson, Dickman, Logan (sub 62 Maddison), Sodje (sub 88 Cooke), Bates (sub HT Wainwright) - subs not used: McLeod, Wright
Bookings: none - Red Card: Clarke (43, denied goal scoring opportunity)
Scorers: Duke (50)
Referee: Mr D Whitestone Attendance: 5,840 (212 away end)
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