2008 Football League Two play-off Final

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2008 Football League Two play-off Final
League Two Playoff Trophy 2008.jpg
Date 26 May 2008
Venue Wembley Stadium, London
Man of the Match Anthony Pilkington, Stockport County
Referee Stuart Attwell
Attendance 35,715
Weather Rain, Windy

The 2008 Football League Two play-off Final, also known as the 2008 Coca-Cola League Two play-off Final due to sponsorship from Coca-Cola, was a football match played at Wembley Stadium on 26 May 2008, at the end of the 2007–08 season.

It was the fourth League two play-off final since the Football League's 2004 rebranding and the 22nd play-off final in all at the fourth level of English football. The match determined the fourth and final team to gain promotion from League Two to League One, and was contested by Stockport County and Rochdale.

Build Up[edit]

Both teams also had excellent run-ins during the regular season, County had, in fact, gained 55 points from their final 24 games, losing just three and finish the season in fourth place with 82 points. While Rochdale picked up 45 points for their final 24 games and finished the season in fifth place with 80 points.[1]

Stockport County reached the final by defeating Wycombe Wanderers over the two-legged semi final. In the first game at Adams Park, Stockport went 1–0 down after a mistake from allowed Delroy Facey to score on the stroke of half- time. In the second half Stockport came close and finally equalised on 82 minutes when Stephen Gleeson volleyed home a key away goal for Stockport.[2][3] In the return leg at Edgeley Park Stockport confirmed their place in the play off final with a 1–0 win. Liam Dickinson scored the only goal of this game in the 6th minute after a solo run from the halfway line to tap the ball past Frank Fielding in the Wycombe goal[4][5]

Rochdale faced Darlington in their two-legged play-off semi-finals. In the first leg Rochdale lost 2–1 away from home in a match played at the Balfour Webnet Arena. Jason Kennedy Opened the scoring for the home side with an exquisite lob on 28 minutes before Chris Dagnall equalised for Rochdale on 70 minutes after his shot was deflected into the net by a Darlington defender, wrong footing the goalkeeper David Stockdale. Ian Miller won the game for Darlington in the first minute of stoppage time with a lopped header.[6][7] The return leg at Spotland, Rochdale won the game 2–1 however due to the aggregate scoreline being 3–3 the match went into extra time and then later a penalty shootout. In the regular 90 minutes however Darlington once again opened the scoring with a 28th minute penalty scored by Clark Keltie. Rochdale drew level on 43 minutes through Chris Dagnall and then went a goal up after a deflected strike from David Perkins found the net on 78 minutes. Perkins was sent off in the 4th minute of the second half of extra time which meant he would miss the final. In the penalty shoot out that followed Rochdale scored all five of their penalties while Darlington only managed to score 4 therefore putting Rochdale into the play-off final.[8][9] After the game Rochdale appealed against the red card given to David Perkins only for the appeal to be rejected[10]

Tournament Bracket[edit]

  Semifinals Final at Wembley Stadium, London
May 28th, 2008
Stockport County 1 1 2  
Wycombe Wanderers 1 0 1  
    Stockport County 3
  Rochdale 2
Darlington 2 1 3 (4)
Rochdale (pens.) 1 2 3 (5)  

Match details[edit]

Wembley Stadium after as County celebrate their promotion

Over 35,000 fans made the 400-mile round trip from Greater Manchester to Wembley Stadium for this classic final. Captain Gary Jones led out Rochdale into the rain-soaked arena, Stockport County were led out by their skipper, Gareth Owen.

Both teams started off tentatively, however after 24 minutes Rory McArdle opened the scoring for Rochdale with a header from a Kallum Higginbotham corner. On 31 minutes, County were awarded a free kick, Anthony Pilkington curled his effort millimetres wide. Shortly after, however his side did equalize. Tommy Rowe's short taken corner was diverted into his own goal by Nathan Stanton.

The second half got underway with a bang as County got to grip with their local rivals, a quick cross from Michael Rose skidded off the greasy surface and onto the head of Anthony Pilkington who excellently diverted the ball in past keeper Tommy Lee. A nice passing move involving Jim McNulty, Paul Turnbull & Anthony Pilkington ended up with the ball in the path of Liam Dickinson who smashed the ball in from a narrow angle to give Stockport a two-goal cushion. County searched for more with McNulty & Rose going close before Adam Rundle pulled a goal back for Rochdale with an excellent volley. The final 10 minutes passed without incident and Stockport County won 3–2. [11][12]

Stockport County returned to League One after a three-year absence with this victory. For Jim Gannon & Peter Ward it was their first win at Wembley in 5 attempts, having previously lost four finals with Stockport (1992 Football Trophy Final, 1992 Division Three play-off Final, 1993 Football Trophy Final & 1994 Division Two play-off Final) matches which were played at the Old Wembley Stadium.

Referee Stuart Attwell later made the list of Premier League refs, however, he and his team were to make a massive mistake in the shape of the 'Phantom Goal' in a game between Watford & Reading at Vicarage Road. They awarded a goal to Reading when the ball in fact went out for a corner.[13]


26 May 2008
15:00 BST
Stockport County 3 – 2 Rochdale
Stanton (o.g.) Goal 34'
Pilkington Goal 49'
Dickinson Goal 67'
(Report) McArdle Goal 24'
Rundle Goal 77'
Wembley, London
Attendance: 35,715
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)
Stockport County
Formation: 4-1-4-1
GK 26 Republic of Ireland Conrad Logan YC
RB 32 England James Smith
CB 5 England Gareth Owen (c)
CB 23 England Jim McNulty
LB 3 England Michael Rose
DM 8 England Gary Dicker
RM 17 Republic of Ireland Anthony Pilkington
LM 21 England Tommy Rowe
CM 19 England Stephen Gleeson Substituted off 75'
CM 28 England Paul Turnbull
CF 20 England Liam Dickinson Substituted off 89'
DF 16 England James Tunnicliffe
MF 14 Republic of Ireland Leon McSweeney Substituted in 75' YC
MF 4 England Jason Taylor
MF 10 England Matty McNeil Substituted in 89'
FW 31 England Adam Proudlock
Republic of Ireland Jim Gannon
Stockport vs rochdale.JPG
Formation: 5-2-3
GK 32 England Tommy Lee
RB 3 England Tom Kennedy
CB 4 England Nathan Stanton YC
CB 23 Northern Ireland Rory McArdle YC
CB 2 England Simon Ramsden
LB 12 England Nathan D'Laryea Substituted off 73'
RM 8 England Gary Jones (c)
LM 11 England Adam Rundle
SS 9 England Chris Dagnall
CF 10 England Adam le Fondre Substituted off 57'
SS 18 England Kallum Higginbotham Substituted off 46'
DF 31 England Marcus Holness
MF 5 England John Doolan
MF 30 England Will Buckley Substituted in 73'
FW 24 England Rene Howe Substituted in 57'
FW 7 England Ben Muirhead Substituted in 46'
England Keith Hill


  • 90 minutes.
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary.
  • Penalty shootout if scores still level.
  • Five named substitutes.
  • Maximum of three substitutions.


Stockport Rochdale
Goals scored 3 2
Total shots 11 6
Shots on target 7 2
Ball possession 49% 51%
Corner kicks 2 3
Fouls committed 7 16
Yellow cards 2 2
Red cards 0 0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Final league table". statto.com. Retrieved 4 May 2008. 
  2. ^ "Wycombe 1-1 Stockport (Stockport Match Report)". stockportcounty.com. Retrieved 11 May 2008. 
  3. ^ "Wycombe 1-1 Stockport (Wycombe Match Report)". wycombewanderers.co.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2008. 
  4. ^ "Stockport 1-0 Wycombe (Stockport Match Report)". stockportcounty.com. Retrieved 17 May 2008. 
  5. ^ "Stockport 1-0 Wycombe (Wycombe Match Report)". wycombewanderers.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2008. 
  6. ^ "Darlington 2-1 Rochdale (Darlington Match Report)". darlington-fc.net. Retrieved 10 May 2008. 
  7. ^ "Darlington 2-1 Rochdale (Rochdale Match Report)". rochdaleafc.co.uk. Archived from the original on November 20, 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008. 
  8. ^ "Rochdale 2-1 Darlington (Darlington Match Report)". darlington-fc.net. Retrieved 17 May 2008. 
  9. ^ "Rochdale 2-1 Darlington (Rochdale Match Report)". rochdaleafc.co.uk. Archived from the original on October 9, 2008. Retrieved 17 May 2008. 
  10. ^ "Rochdale fail in red card appeal". BBC Sport. 20 May 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2008. 
  11. ^ "Stockport 3 -2 Rochdale (Stockport Match Report)". stockportcounty.com. Retrieved 26 May 2008. 
  12. ^ "Stockport 3 -2 Rochdale (Rochdale Match Report)". rochdaleafc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 9 October 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2008. 
  13. ^ Ashdown, John (21 September 2008). "Stuart Attwell Phantom Goal Decision". guardian.co.uk. London. Archived from the original on 25 September 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008. 

External links[edit]