Football: Francis doubles up

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The Independent Online
Plymouth Argyle . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Burnley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

(Burnley win 3-1 on aggregate)

BATTLING Burnley came from behind at Home Park last night to earn a deserved place in the Second Division promotion play-off final against Stockport on Sunday week. It will be the Clarets' fourth visit to Wembley and, if they can reproduce the determination that put paid to Plymouth's challenge, they could well gain their first success.

After seven yellow cards and one red in last weekend's scoreless first leg at Turf Moor, the match was always aggressive and sometimes spiteful. The first shot on target, in the 15th minute, gave Argyle the lead.

Dwight Marshall headed on Paul Dalton's free-kick from the left only as far as John Deary, whose sliced clearance went straight back to Marshall. The striker's fierce, rising shot gave Marlon Beresford no hope.

John Francis, Burnley's lone forward, wasted his side's first chance but made spectacular amends with two goals in three minutes either side of the half- hour. Adrian Heath was the provider on both occasions: the veteran's through ball sent Francis away past Andy Comyn and round Alan Nicholls before the ball was rolled in. Another Heath pass allowed Francis to beat Comyn and Keith Hill before shooting past the exposed Nicholls.

Francis limped off with a recurrence of a groin strain after an hour, but the damage was done. The visitors claimed a third goal nine minutes from the end. Nicholls spilled a Ted McMinn shot and Warren Joyce, playing against his previous club, poked home the rebound.

Plymouth Argyle (4-4-2): Nicholls; Patterson, Hill, Comyn, McCall; Barlow, Burnett (Naylor, 32), Castle, Dalton; Landon (Nugent, 56), Marshall. Substitute not used: Newland (gk).

Burnley (4-5-1): Beresford; Parkinson, Davis, Pender, Thompson; McMinn, Deary, Joyce (Farrell, 90), Eyres, Heath; Francis (Peel, 60). Substitute not used: Williams (gk).

Referee: T Holbrook (Walsall).