Football: Stockport steal in

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The Independent Online
Stockport County. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

York City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

(Stockport win 1-0 on aggregate)

STOCKPORT COUNTY, whose three visits to Wembley have ended in tears in the last two seasons, gave themselves the opportunity to eradicate painful memories when they reached their Second Division play-off final at Edgeley Park last night.

They will meet Burnley underneath the twin towers a week on Sunday, and for once it was not their own tower who got them there. Instead of Kevin Francis, whose 6ft 7in and 34 goals had propelled them to fourth place in the season proper, it was his fellow striker, Chris Beaumont, who provided the only goal.

It came with extra time beckoning. Jim Gannon turned the York defence with a pass down the left flank after 85 minutes, and at first it appeared that Beaumont's run would be halted. His cut inside deceived Andy McMillan, however, and when the ball rebounded back to him he coolly shot past Dean Kiely in the visiting goal.

It was just reward for Stockport, who had been the better team. They hit the post through David Frain in the closing moments of the first half, and had several other opportunities, which were almost inevitably the result of Francis's commanding presence.

The irony for York was that the goal came as the balance of the match appeared to be swinging in their favour. After a quiet first half they were working to a crescendo, largely through the efforts of their leading scorer, Paul Barnes, when they were halted in their tracks.

Stockport County (5-3-2): Keeley; Todd, Flynn, Williams, Connelly, Wallace; Gannon, Ward, Frain; Francis, Beaumont. Substitutes not used: Miller, Preece, Ironside (gk).

York City (4-4-2): Kiely; McMillan, Tutill, Stancliffe, Hall; McCarthy (Pepper, 72), Bushell, Swann, Canham; Barnes, Blackstone. Substitutes not used: Cooper, Warrington (gk).

Referee: R Milford (Bristol).