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Monday, 6 May, 2002, 17:52 GMT 18:52 UK
Cotterill savours Cheltenham glory
Martin Devaney (left), Julian Alsop (centre) and John Finnigan celebrate their play-off final goals
Cheltenham scorers (l-r) Devaney, Alsop and Finnigan
Cheltenham boss Steve Cotterill said Cardiff's Millennium Stadium had provided the perfect setting for his side's promotion-clinching win over Rushden & Diamonds.

Cotterill's side secured a place in Division Two with a commanding display, despite having suffered the disappointment of missing out on automatic promotion on the final day of the season.

But the manager, who was born in Cheltenham and is a former Town player, said sweating through the play-offs had been well worth it.


I was pleased we had the lucky dressing room, but it's not all luck
Cheltenham manager Steve Cotterill
"I always said this is the way to go up," Cotterill said.

"Cheltenham will never have another season like this - getting to the fifth round of the FA Cup, the play-off final - and I was just pleased we managed to have the lucky dressing room."

Cheltenham became the 11th side in as many Millennium Stadium finals to emerge victorious from the lucky North End dressing room.

They also opted for their yellow third kit, in preference to their unlucky orange reserve strip.

But Cotterill insisted: "It's not all luck. It's the man that goes into the arena that deserves credit, and those players did that today."

Cheltenham manager Steve Cotterill holds the Third Division play-off trophy aloft at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium
Cotterill proudly shows off the play-off trophy
Man of the match Martin Devaney, who scored Cheltenham's opening goal, added: "We worked hard all season and got a fair result.

"We dealt with missing out on promotion and we came and did what we planned to do.

"I'm overwhelmed. We've had brilliant support and they have come out in their numbers."

Julian Alsop scored Cheltenham's crucial second goal, a tap-in which earned him his 26th goal of a prolific campaign.

"It was a 30-yard tap-in, I suppose. This has been a great season for us and to round it off by scoring was unbelievable," Alsop said.

Disappointed Diamonds boss Brian Talbot saw his side miss out on promotion in their first season in the Football League.

But he admitted: "They edged it and deserved to win.

"I'm satisfied in the respect that we only came into the league this season - but we came here to win.

"On the day the best team has won and we have got to reproduce it next season."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Cheltenham boss Steve Cotterill
"Our success was due to several things"
Cheltenham captain Mark Yates
"It's the best way to go up if you can't be champions"
Cheltenham's Tony Naylor
"It's been a great season"

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