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Stockport County vs Salford City. Sky Bet League Two Play-Offs Semi-Final.

Edgeley ParkAttendance10,023.

Stockport County 2

  • I Olaofe (68th minute)
  • J Stretton (115th minute)

Salford City 1

  • S Mallan (112th minute)


Stockport County win 3-1 on penalties.

Stockport 2-1 Salford (Agg 2-2): County prevail 3-1 on penalties to reach Sky Bet League Two play-off final

Report and highlights from the Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final second leg between Stockport and Salford at Edgeley Park as County edged through to the final after a 3-1 penalty shootout victory.

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Highlights of the Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final second leg between Stockport County and Salford City

Stockport booked their place in the Sky Bet League Two play-off final as they secured a 3-1 penalty shootout win over Salford after a dramatic tie.

Salford brought a narrow 1-0 lead in from the first leg last weekend, but Isaac Olaofe's goal for Stockport sent the game into extra-time.

Substitute Stevie Mallan then restored Salford's lead, but Jack Stretton netted five minutes from the end of the second period to make it 2-1 to Stockport on the day and 2-2 on aggregate.

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Watch Stockport County midfielder Antoni Sarcevic's winning penalty against Salford City

From there, Stockport scored three of their four penalties, with Antoni Sarcevic netting the decisive effort, steering them to Wembley as Salford missed three of their attempts.

They will face Carlisle on Sunday May 28, while Salford will remain in League Two for the 2023/24 campaign.

Stockport hit back to reach Wembley

Stockport boss Dave Challinor brought Paddy Madden and Joe Lewis back into his starting line-up as he made changes from the first leg, and it was Madden who went closest to levelling the tie in the first half.

It was the last minute of stoppage-time when he met a corner with his head and it struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced down onto the line before Salford managed to clear. It may well have crossed, but with no goal-line technology at this level there was no way for the officials to know.

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Stevie Mallan levels for Salford City on the day in extra-time, putting them ahead on aggregate in their play-off semi-final second leg clash in League Two against Stockport County

Another glorious chance came and went on 64 minutes as Kyle Knoyle crossed for Olaofe but he could only head straight at Alex Cairns from six yards. Mere minutes later, however, Olaofe did find the goal to level the tie and send the game to extra-time. It was a far tougher chance, but this time he found the back of the net with a glancing effort from Ryan Rydel's cross.

Salford again looked on the brink of Wembley after 112 minutes when Mallan saw his 25-yard effort deflect past the helpless Ben Hinchcliffe, but a few minutes later Stockport levelled the tie again, as a trio of substitutes in Myles Hippolyte, Sarcevic and Stretton combined for the latter to head in.

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Stockport County forward Jack Stretton scores his side's second goal in their second leg play-off semi-final with Salford City, sending the game to penalties

That took the game to penalties, where Salford missed three out of their four efforts, meaning Stockport will take their place in the final and the dream of back-to-back promotions is still alive.

Madden: That was a mad game! Now let's get Stockport back to League One

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Stockport County's Paddy Madden says his side showed great character and deserved to progress to the League Two play-off final

Challinor: To get to Wembley means everything

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Stockport County boss Dave Challinor says his side will embrace the challenge of playing at Wembley after they progressed to the League Two play-off final

Stockport manager Dave Challinor:

"That game had everything, but nothing surprises me in football. It was an occasion full of emotion, and I'm so delighted for the players that we've made it to Wembley. It's a great way to win and a horrible way to lose, but we've made it and I want the players and everyone involved with the club to go and enjoy next weekend. It's going to be a great occasion - Wembley really is a special place to play football.

"Only a small proportion of footballers get the chance to play there, so this means everything. We've taken a big, big step today, but we've got one more big step to take if we are to achieve our ambition. I thought the players kept their nerve really well today. It's not been easy as Salford are a great team, but this is a brilliant achievement for the whole club so it's about preparing properly for next weekend now."

Wood: It's hard to take, but Salford are still growing

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Salford City boss Neil Wood says they need to use the disappointment of losing their League Two play-off tie against Stockport as motivation for next season

Salford City manager Neil Wood:

"It was a really tough game, but credit to Stockport, they put a lot of pressure on us. It was relentless at times, and it is difficult to defend against. We created enough chances I thought, but maybe we needed a bit more composure in certain situations. It's hugely disappointing of course, but at the end of the day it just wasn't to be.

"I can't fault any of the players. Every single one of the lads gave it absolutely everything, right up until the dying seconds. We've practised penalties this last fortnight, but you just can't prepare for the crowd and the hostile atmosphere that the lads taking the penalties were up against. It's hard to take, but I think as a club we've made massive progress again this season. This club is still growing so we've just got to go again next season."

Analysis: Winning is a habit

Stevenage's Steve Evans on Sky Sports Football:

"Winning is a habit. Promotions can be habits. Dave Challinor has got tremendous support at Stockport and he got them out last season and has a big opportunity this year. He has done wonders and, if he gets them up again, they will be building a statue for him at Stockport.

Leyton Orient's Richie Wellens on Sky Sports Football:

"Stockport could've panicked at times against Salford, but didn't and stayed in it. I do think their goal at the end was a foul; I think Sarcevic has kicked Vassell in the face and it shouldn't be a goal, but the deflection is a little bit of luck."

What's next?

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While Salford will remain in Sky Bet League One for the 2023/24 campaign, Stockport will play Carlisle in the play-off final at Wembley Stadium at 1.30pm on Sunday May 28 for a place in Sky Bet League One.

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