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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 May, 2003, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Doncaster seal League return
Paul Green of Doncaster Rovers beats Dagenham & Redbridge's Paul Terry
Green scored the first goal in a pulsating final

Doncaster 3-2 Dagenham (aet)

A golden goal from Francis Tierney propelled Doncaster into the Football League after Dave Penney's side won a thrilling inaugural Conference play-off final at the Britannia Stadium.

Headers from Paul Green and Dave Morley looked to have finally brought Doncaster's five-year stay in the Conference to an end.

Dagenham, the only part-time team in the play-offs, suddenly began to play after going two goals down and managed to claw their way back to send the game into extra-time.

Just past the hour Mark Stein revived Dagenham's hopes with a well-taken goal and with 12 minutes to go Tarkan Mustafa strode forward from his defensive position to tie the game at 2-2.

Key moments
39 mins: Green's header puts Doncaster ahead
55 mins: Morley heads a second for Doncaster
55 mins: Stein hauls Dagenham back into the game
78 mins: Mustafa scores the goal of the game
100 mins: Tierney strikes gold for Doncaster

With the game heading for a penalty shoot-out, Tierney popped up in the box to steer the ball home from close range in the 110th minute.

Dagenham were very much on the defensive in the opening exchanges and both Mustafa and Lee Matthews had to produce superb tackles to deny Tierney and Paul Barnes.

Tony Roberts in the Dagenham goal also produced a number of excellent saves, notably denying Barnes with his feet.

But as the half progressed Doncaster grew stronger and just before Green scored, Steve Foster was unlucky to see his header cleared off the line by John McGrath.

On 39 minutes Doncaster took the lead after Green arrived in the box to head home Tim Ryan's inswinging cross.

Soon after the interval Morley's header from Tierney gave Doncaster a two-goal cushion.


Doncaster controlled the game for lengthy periods, a domination that had much to do with Jamie Paterson's influence.

Working down the right of the Doncaster midfield, the left-footed Paterson caused Dagenham all sorts of problems with his close ball control and raking passes.

It was from a Paterson shot - pushed past the post by Roberts - that led to the corner for Morley's goal.

But as Paterson's influence waned - the former Halifax midfielder has been struggling with a knee injury - Dagenham engineered their way back into the game.

Initially Dagenham had relied on a direct style, looking for the head of Steve West.

It was an approach that foundered until just past the hour when West headed down for Stein, who guided the ball past Andy Warrington.

But there was nothing route one about Dagenham's equaliser as Mustafa collected Paul Terry's superb pass in his stride and fired his shot pass Warrington.

In the first period of extra time Green went close for Doncaster and then Tierney struck gold to send the club back into the Football League.

Dag & Red: Roberts, Mustafa, Goodwin, Cole, Matthews, Janney, Terry, Shipp, McGrath, Stein, West.
Subs: Gothard, Smith, Vickers, Heffer, Hill.

Doncaster: Warrington, Marples, Tim Ryan, Morley, Foster, Paterson, Ravenhill, Green, Tierney, Whitman, Barnes.
Subs: Doolan, Albrighton, Nelson, Blundell, Blunt.

Referee: A Marriner (Birmingham).

BBC Five Live's David Croft
"Doncaster is no longer the largest town without a League team"

Doncaster match-winner Francis Tierney
"It's a second chance for us and we'll take it"



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