Moss makes penalty practice pay off

Conference play-offs: Shrewsbury Town 1 Barnet 0 Agg 2-2; aet; Shrewsbury win 5-3 on penalties
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The Independent Football

Penalties, penalties everywhere... and Darren Moss finally tucked away the one that put Shrewsbury Town one game away from an immediate return to the Football League.

Cruelly the Welsh under-21 international right-back, who emerged as the hero of a frenetic afternoon at the Gay Meadow, will miss the Nationwide Conference play-off final at Stoke a week on Sunday because of his recent dismissal against Gravesend.

Moss, who was part of the Chester City side relegated from the Third Division before suffering the same fate with Shrewsbury, kept his cool to see Jimmy Quinn's side home 5-3 in the shoot-out straight after seeing Scott Howie save to his right to make the Simon Clist, Barnet substitute, the only man not to score in the series.

Quinn said: "We practised penalties for a long time in training but the goal looks like a match-box when you're up there." A wise move. Penalties looked inevitable given recent Conference play-off history and the progress of this tie, in which three of the four goals Shrewsbury and Barnet managed between them in 210 minutes of unrelenting toil, came from the spot. It was via that route that Luke Rodgers brought the aggregate scores back level in the 43rd minute after Liam Hatch handled Mark Tolley's corner.

Quinn's side would have prevailed in normal time had the former Wimbledon goalkeeper Shane Gore not pulled off three high-class saves. But his efforts were not enough for a Barnet side whoplayed the neater football without finding the cutting edge needed to avoid extending their run to four semi-final defeats in four play-offs.

Shrewsbury may justify their decision to remain full-time with an immediate return to the League they had been part of for 53 years. "It means so much to the people of Shropshire to get back to the Football League," Quinn said. "We've had to lock fans out and that's magnificent."

Shrewsbury Town (4-4-2): Howie; Moss, Ridler, Tinson, Challis; Lowe, Tolley, O'Connor (Edwards, h-t), Aiston (Sedgemore, 114); Darby (Cramb, 106), Rodgers. Substitutes not used: Hart (gk), Quinn.

Barnet (4-4-2): Gore; Hendon, Maddix (Redmile, 59), Plummer, King; Yakubu, Gamble, Lopez (Clist, 55), Strevens; Grazioli, Hatch. Substitutes not used: Millard (gk), Rooney, Pearson.

Referee: B Pollock (Merseyside).