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Barnsley Manager Dave Bassett speaks to the BBC
"We can feel proud of what's been acheived"
 real 28k

Barnsley chairman John Dennis speaks to the BBC
"We are absolutely over the moon"
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Thursday, 18 May, 2000, 21:11 GMT 22:11 UK
Barnsley book Wembley place
Barnsley's Bruce Dyer
Bruce Dyer makes his way through the Blues' defence
Barnsley 1-2 Birmingham
Barnsley win 5-2 on aggregate

Birmingham may have gained slight revenge on Barnsley but it was not enough to prevent the Tykes booking their place in the Division One play-off final on May 29.

The Yorkshire side's boss Dave Bassett will have the honour of leading his side out in front of the Twin Towers of Wembley for the first time in their history as only Ipswich stand in their way of a return to the promised land of the Premiership.

The Blues regained their pride with a 2-1 victory on the night, but it was never going to be enough after the damage was done in their 4-0 first-leg mauling at St Andrews on Saturday.

We now want to win at Wembley, there's no point coming second - I've done that twice and I don't want to make it a hat-trick

Barnsley manager Dave Bassett

After the match, Barnsley manager Dave Bassett said: "The players have worked hard throughout the season, and with Barnsley never having been to Wembley it's great for club; it lifts the town and the whole area.

"We now want to win at Wembley. There's no point coming second - I've done that twice and I don't want to make it a hat-trick."

With an Everest-like task ahead for the visitors it was no surprise to see manager Trevor Francis deploying three strikers.

Bassett had shored up his defence with three centre-backs to try and nullify the threat.

The game warmed up nicely as the Yorkshire side started well and continued to drop deep and defend in numbers, mindful of their four-goal advantage.

Birmingham should have opened the scoring when Hughes fed Marcelo down the right, and the Brazilian curled in a delicious cross for Paul Furlong who stole in ahead of defender Chris Morgan but could not divert his diving header goalwards.

The deadlock was broken by the visitors, though, as Birmingham gave themselves a glimmer of hope with a deserved goal.

Gary Rowett
Birmingham's Gary Rowett celebrates his goal

Michael Johnson whipped over a cross into the Barnsley danger zone, and Gary Rowett nodded it into the corner.

Barnsley almost hit back four minutes before the break when Neil Shipperley's shot was blocked by the goalkeeper, and Dyer could only fire the rebound over the bar.

Birmingham knew what they had to do after the restart if they were to resurrect their promotion hopes - but they were always going to be prone to the counter-attack as the gaps appeared.

The final nail in their coffin came from the feet of Dyer on 54 minutes after Hignett and Shipperley linked up down the right flank.

Shipperley took the former Middlesbrough star's pass before waiting for Dyer's run and slipping an inch perfect ball between the defenders.

Dyer kept his composure before coolly slotting the ball past Myhre to level the scores on the night and surely end the contest.

Cheeky Chip

Birmingham pressed on, though. O'Connor fired down Miller's throat, and Dyer almost had a second for the hosts - but his cheeky chip was just to high.

It was a sign of character and professional pride that the Blues kept plugging away, and they were rewarded on 74 minutes when Jerry Gill fired over a cross.

Marcelo was first to the ball to bundle it over the line to make it 5-2 on aggregate.

The goal took the edge off the Barnsley celebrations, but you got the feeling they could step up a gear if needed and were perhaps a little watchful of picking up a knock that would keep any one of them out of the final.

As the game crept to a glorious close for the home fans it all proved too much for one Tyke who ran the length of the pitch in just socks and shoes before being rugby-tackled by amused stewards.

But the final whistle was not far behind and set up what could be another amazing chapter in Barnsley's history as the fans celebrated with the obligatory pitch invasion.

Barnsley: Miller, Morgan, Chettle, Brown, Barnard, Eaden, Appleby, Tinkler, Hignett, Shipperley, Dyer. Subs: Jones, Sheron, T. Bullock, M. Bullock, Curtis.

Birmingham: Myhre, Rowett, Gill, Purse, Holdsworth, Hughes, O'Connor, M. Johnson, Furlong, Ndlovu, Marcelo. Subs: Bass, Marsh, A. Johnson, Lazaridis, Luntala. Referee: Michael Dean (Wirral)

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