The FA Carlsberg Trophy Final
7 May 2011 - 3:00 PM
Darlington FC 1 - 0 Mansfield Town FC
Chris Senior headed home in the final seconds of extra-time to give Darlington their first FA Trophy success at Wembley.
The Quakers looked like heading to penalties in their battle with Mansfield Town but substitute striker Senior was on hand to steal the silverware for the North-East outfit and send their travelling fans into delirium.
Neither side could claim to have been vastly superior in a very competitive match, but Mark Cooper saw his side take the trophy for the first time thanks to a last minute winner.
In normal time there was little to choose between the two sides, neither of whom had ever won the competition before, though both 'keepers had to be alert with the game so finely poised for so long.
Chris Moore caused problems on the right wing for Darlington, often able to turn inside the full back and create space for a shot. Alan Marriott showed good handling on a number of occasions under pressure from Campbell and Wright.
After half an hour the first real opening came the way of Darlington, Gary Smith weaved through the Mansfield defence cutting in from the right and shaping to shoot on his left foot only to be denied at the last moment. Darlington fans appealed for a penalty, but the Stuart Attwell waved away the claims.
While Jamie Chandler patrolled the midfield with astute awareness, Louis Briscoe was a constant threat for Mansfield from wide areas and created much for his teammates, but he was guilty of a missed opportunity when he headed over moments before half-time when unmarked from a corner.
Ten minutes into the second period and Briscoe showed skill and grit in equal measure to break through on the right wing and turn onto his left foot for a shot. Paul Connor got a touch but the ball went over when he looked like diverting it into the net.
Darlington could have won the game in normal time as they saw two chances go begging in the dying seconds of the second half. First Marc Bridge-Wilkinson crashed a fantastic free-kick from 25 yards off the post, and then with virtually the last touch of the 90 minutes Tommy Wright headed wide from 12 yards out.
Both teams looked understandably exhausted following a long season and on the biggest stage the pressure drained some of the energy out of their limbs. Extra-time saw few chances for either side to win the game, and a long throw proved the decisive moment as Marriott failed to claim the ball and Chris Senior pounced to head home the winner.
Darlington fans delighted, Mansfield devasted, a thrilling end to the game.
Sam Russell, Paul Arnison, Jamie Chandler, Ian Miller(c), Liam Hatch, Tommy Wright, Chris Moore, Gary Smith, Aaron Brown,Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, John Campbell
Mansfield Town FC
Alan Marriott, Gary Silk, Stephen Foster, Tom Naylor, Daniel Spence, Louis Briscoe, Tyrone Thompson, Kyle Nix, Adam Smith, Adam Murray(c), Paul Connor