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Tuesday, 30 April, 2002, 20:54 GMT 21:54 UK
Rushden go through
It was a close contest between Rochdale and Rushden
It was a close contest between Rochdale and Rushden
Rochdale 1-2 Rushden & Diamonds (3-4 aggregate)

Rushden are through to the Division Three play-off final thanks to Paul Hall's strike 15 minutes from time.

Hall ran on to a through-ball from Onandi Lowe and produced a quality finish to finally end the home side's challenge after an enthralling second-leg clash.

The Diamonds looked in trouble with half-an-hour left when a backpass from Mark Peters rolled into his own net, but striker Lowe pulled them level immediate after the kick-off.


I thought the own goal kickstarted the game and made us even more determined to make amends for a freak goal
Rushden's Brian Talbot
And Hall's strike ensured an appearance in Cardiff next month as John Hollins' team were left shattered at the final whistle.

After a 2-2 draw at Nene Park three days earlier, Rochdale's top scorer Kevin Townson replaced the injured Clive Platt in attack for the second leg and the youngster almost made the breakthrough with just three minutes gone.

Rochdale survived a penalty scare with half-time approaching when Coleman appeared to handle the ball, and moments later Lowe wasted a great chance to give the visitors the advantage as his free header looped into the stand.

The home side threw players forward after the break and Townson failed to make the most of a good opening on 55 minutes, lifting the ball tamely into keeper Billy Turley's arms.

Rochdale took the lead in the 65th minute when Peters' backpass bobbled on the turf and deflected past Turley's boot before rolling into an empty net.

However Rushden equalised straight away when Butterworth's pass found Lowe inside the box, who turned to fire home his 20th goal of the season.

Then they went ahead when Lowe's through-ball allowed Hall to take advantage of a slip by Griffiths and he coolly rounded Edwards before clipping the ball into the net.


Rochdale: Edwards, Evans, Jobson, Griffiths, Doughty, Flitcroft, Oliver, McLoughlin, Simpson, McEvilly, Townson. Subs: Gilks, Coleman, Connor, McCourt, Durkan.

Rushden & D'monds: Turley, Mustafa, Peters, Tillson, Underwood, Hall, Wardley, Butterworth, Burgess, Lowe, Partridge. Subs: Brady, Angell, Pennock, Gray, Hunter.
Referee: R Furnandiz (Doncaster).

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BBC Sport's Alan Biggs
"Rushden's dream goes on"

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