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The BBC's Alan Biggs
"A cracking match finished with a fair scoreline"
 real 28k

The BBC's David Oates
"A game of very few chances"
 real 28k

The BBC's Peter Slater
"Paul Midgely missed a great chance"
 real 28k

The BBC's Simon Hill
"A real smash and grab by Posh"
 real 28k

Saturday, 13 May, 2000, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Stoke secure slim lead over Gills
Arnar Gunnlaugsson opened the scoring for Stoke
Arnar Gunnlaugsson opened the scoring for Stoke
Play-off results, 1st leg

Division One
Birmingham 0 Barnsley 4

Division Two
Millwall 0 Wigan 0
Stoke 3 Gillingham 2

Division Three
Barnet 1 Peterborough 2
Hartlepool 0 Darlington 2


At the half-way point in the Division Two play-offs both ties were as hard to call as before they kicked off.

Stoke City took the lead in the first minute of their game against Gillingham at the Britannia Stadium after Kyle Lightbourne laid on a ball for Arnar Gunlaugsson who played a delightful chip to score.

Within eight minutes, Gunlaugsson repaid the favour for Lightbourne who doubled the home side's advantage.

But a strong fightback from the Gills saw Ty Gooden snatch one back on 18 minutes.

Stoke stretched their advantage 20 minutes into the second half with a Peter Thorne goal, but Gillingham gave themselves every chance of second-leg success thanks to an Andy Hessenthaler goal on 90 minutes.



Darlington's Craig Liddle celebrates his goal

The glut of goals at Stoke's Britannia Stadium was not mirrored at the New Den where Millwall and Wigan were unable to rustle up a goal between them in the other Second Division semi-final.

With so much at stake both teams looked edgy from the outset and perhaps too anxious to impress.

Wigan's man of the match Andy Liddell went into referee Terry Heilbron's book as early as the fifth minute for an over enthusiastic tackle on home defender Matthew Lawrence.

But rallied on by their supporters, Millwall gradually started to impose themselves.

The visitors however, looked the most impressive after the break, but neither they, nor Millwall who enjoyed a late surge, were able to make their mark.

In Division Three, Marco Gabbiadini fired Darlington to the brink of their second Wembley appearance in four years after victory over 10-man Hartlepool at Victoria Park.

Pulsating

Gabbiadini rocketed home his 25th goal of the season from the penalty spot after Martin Hollund had brought down substitute Glenn Naylor.

Naylor had only just come onto the field but found himself clean through after a three-man move involving fellow sub Lee Nogan and Gabbiadini.

The referee had no other choice but to award a penalty and show a red card to Holland in the 73rd minute of a pulsating north-east derby.

Andy Dibble was brought on but had no chance with Gabbiadini's spot kick, his 25th goal of the season, as Darlington took a two-goal lead over their bitter rivals in the Third Division's play-off semi-final first leg.

Defender Craig Liddle had given Darlington the advantage at half-time after a frenetic opening period.

Barry Fry's Peterborough side were delighted with a 2-1 win away to Barnet in the final play-off match being played on Saturday.

At Underhill, Jason Lee gave Posh the lead after just five minutes but Mark Arber gave Barnet the equaliser on 22 minutes.

The teams were separated in the 68th minute by a goal scored by Peterborough's Andy Clarke.

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