Rochdale 2 Stockport County 3: Dickinson strike sends Stockport into raptures

On this last day of the domestic English football season, Jim Gannon was able to claim a first of his own. In all four previous visits to Wembley in his decade as a Stockport player he had suffered defeat. Now, on this first appearance as their manager, the Irishman could claim his first win.

Two of those losses came in the play-offs, so this League Two play-off victory went a long way to putting some balm on those wounds, as he said: "The Wembley experience is nothing without winning." It also meant a return to the third tier of English football after three seasons for County who nearly dropped out of the league two years ago.

Yet only 10 years ago they had their best-ever season, when they finished eighth in what is now the Championship and that is where Gannon would like his side to continue to aim for.

"I don't know if we could get as high as '98 again," he said. "It'd be nice to keep these players together and get to the Championship. There are players here destined for great things. We're creating an environment where players will grow."

The Dale took the lead with 23 minutes gone when Rory McArdle headed past Conrad Logan from two yards for their first goal at Wembley in their debut at the stadium.

With that wait over, their manager Keith Hill must now convince his players they will not have to wait so long for another chance to win promotion. It was in 1969 that they last moved up from the bottom tier, but they have now been in this division for 34 years, the worst run in the league.

County drew level thanks to an own goal when Tom Rowe's cross was deflected in by Nathan Stanton 11 minutes before the interval. They took the lead four minutes after the break when Anthony Pilkington headed in off the underside of the crossbar, but it was the 22-year-old Liam Dickinson's goal that proved decisive. From Pilkington's cross he put County 3-1 up after 67 minutes with a first-time shot at the near post.

Adam Rundle gave the Dale some hope with a volley 13 minutes from the end which was every bit as good as Dean Windass's strike on Saturday for Hull but unlike the Windass goal, it will be forgotten quickly at the club from Spotland.

However, Hill was generous in defeat and looking forward to improving on this performance next year. He said: "No complaints with the result. But there's no failure from my point of view. We just have to build on this and this experience will make me stronger."

Goals: McArdle (24) 1-0; Stanton (og, 34) 1-1; Pilkington (49) 1-2, Dickinson (67) 1-3; Rundle (77) 2-3.

Rochdale (4-4-2): Lee; Ramsden, McArdle, Stanton, Kennedy; Higginbotham (Muirhead, h-t), Jones, D'Laryea (Buckley, 73), Rundle; Dagnall, Le Fondre (Howe, 57). Substitues not used: Holness, Doolan Stockport County (4-5-1): Logan; Smith, McNulty, Owen, Rose; Pilkington, Dicker, Gleeson (McSweeney, 75), Turnbull, Rowe; Dickinson (McNeil, 90). Substitutes not used: Taylor, Tunnicliffe, Proudlock.

Referee: S Attwell (Warwickshire)

Booked: Rochdale Stanton, McArdle. Stockport: Logan, McSweeney.

Man of the match: Dickinson

Attendance: 35,715

The season's ups and downs

*BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
Champions: Manchester United
Champions League: Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool
Uefa Cup: Everton
Relegated: Derby, Birmingham, Reading

*COCA-COLA CHAMPIONSHIP
Champions: West Brom
Promoted: Stoke, Hull
Relegated: Colchester, Scunthorpe, Leicester

*LEAGUE ONE
Champions: Swansea
Promoted: Nottingham Forest, Doncaster
Relegated: Luton, Port Vale, Gillingham, Bournemouth

*LEAGUE TWO
Champions: MK Dons
Promoted: Peterborough, Hereford, Stockport
Relegated: Wrexham, Mansfield

*BLUE SQUARE PREMIER
Champions: Aldershot
Play-off winners: Exeter
Relegated: Droylsden, Stafford, Farsley, Altrincham

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?