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Page last updated at 18:58 GMT, Saturday, 17 May 2008 19:58 UK

Stockport 1-0 Wycombe (agg 2-1)

By Chris Whyatt

Liam Dickinson
Dickinson's winner was his 20th goal of the season

Stockport booked a place in the League Two play-off final against local rivals Rochdale on 26 May after holding off Wycombe at a tense Edgeley Park.

The Hatters took an early lead after striker Liam Dickinson raced clear from the half-way line to finish coolly past Frank Fielding from 10 yards out.

But Wycombe hit back and Delroy Facey and Scott McGleish should have done better with headers that went wide.

Luckless Facey then volleyed just wide in the final minutes.

In-form Stockport, with eight players aged 23 or under, made an exuberant start, Michael Rose screwing the ball just wide in the first minute.

The Hatters pressed and made an early breakthrough on seven minutes after some poor possession play from Wycombe in the middle of the park.

Stockport striker Dickinson dropped deep to collect the loose ball and, shaking off a weak challenge from Wycombe skipper Mike Williamson, he raced clear from Leon Johnson on the half-way line and kept his composure to steer past Frank Fielding from 10 yards.

With Gary Dicker and Paul Turnbull protecting the home side's defence and feeding Leon McSweeney on the right, Stockport continued to look dangerous.

But the visitors slowly turned the tide and Facey should have done better than nod wide on 25 minutes after a superb hang from Scott McGleish allowed him to head across the area in his fellow strikers path.

Wycombe grew in confidence and applied a good spell of pressure.

And they could have equalised just before the break when Stefan Oakes, who had shaken off a knock after a shuddering McSweeney challenge, sent in a dangerous deep cross that eluded Stockport's back-line.

McGleish got on the end of it but could not keep his right-footed volley down and the ball flew over Conrad Logan's bar.

Liam Dickinson
Dickinson's winner was his 20th goal of the season

The game continued to open up after the break with Dickinson forcing a solid save from Fielding while a searching Gary Holt header across goal asked questions of Logan at the other end.

Wycombe playmaker Sergio Torres whipped a dangerous cross over on 59 minutes which the unmarked McGleish failed to make a proper connection with.

Now on the back foot, Stockport still looked threatening on the counter attack.

But the Buckinghamshire side had the better chances and the increasingly influential Oakes flashed a low left-foot shot just wide on 64 minutes while Facey shot just over the bar from a wide angle seconds later.

Wycombe's pressure was frenetic as they sought to force extra-time, but Stockport put up a strong rearguard action.

Minutes before time they had to endure strong penalty claims for handball after a touch from Jim McNulty before the ball was eventually hoofed clear.

Facey then volleyed just wide from a tight angle after a superb ball from Holt was whipped across the box.

Referee Andy D'Urso blew the final whistle and Stockport, who rode their luck throughout the second-half, will return to the third tier after an absence of three seasons if they can beat Rochdale at Wembley.

Stockport striker Liam Dickinson:
"It was a really important goal for me and all the lads. I had a lot of time to think about it, maybe too much time.

"It's just unbelievable, everybody's so excited about the prospect of going to Wembley.

"The fans are different class. They always come to watch us away from home no matter how far it is."

Wycombe manager Paul Lambert:
"It's not the greatest [experience] but we have to get over it.

"My players were brilliant and I can't fault them at all. We looked like we were going to get something.

"The crowd were vibrant. We gave absolutely everything but we just didn't get a break today."

Stockport: Logan, James Smith, Owen, McNulty, Rose, Rowe, Dicker, McSweeney (Pilkington 79), Gleeson (Taylor 67), Dickinson (Tunnicliffe 90), Turnbull.
Subs Not Used: Ruddy, Proudlock.

Booked: McSweeney.

Goals: Dickinson 7.

Wycombe: Fielding, Martin, Williamson, Johnson, Woodman (Sutton 90), Torres (Knight 76), Holt, Doherty, Oakes, Facey, McGleish.
Subs Not Used: Young, McCracken, Phillips.

Booked: Oakes.

Att: 9,245

Ref: Andy D'Urso (Essex).

see also
Gannon dismisses 'favourites' tag
14 May 08 |  Stockport
Wycombe 1-1 Stockport
11 May 08 |  League Two
Who will make play-off finals?
08 May 08 |  Football

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