Terry Pierce - The beauty of the play-offs
Published: 17 May 2010 - 09:18:45
This week has once again proven why the play-offs are the best idea in football.
From the sublime hat-trick of DJ Campbell to Yann Kermogant's ridiculous missed penalty, every semi-final has been absorbing viewing and the drama can only heighten this week.
In the Championship, Campbell fired Blackpool to Wembley as Ian Holloway's unlikely mob upset the odds. Looking at the Tangerines' starting 11, it's impossible to see how they have achieved anything more than safety this season, but full credit should go to everyone involved at the club for one of the most remarkable promotion challenges of recent times.
In the final, they'll find themselves up against free-scoring Cardiff City, who tried their best to throw away a place at Wembley despite their 1-0 win at Leicester in the first leg.
But after a thrilling encounter, the Welsh side were handed a place in the showpiece event by Foxes' striker Kermongant and his outrageous blunder in the penalty shoot-out. What on earth went through the Frenchman's mind?
Three all in the penalty shoot-out, a chance at promotion to the Premier League for the winners and he just rocks up and dinks it straight down the middle. It was a needless act of stupidity and one can only imagine how his boss Nigel Pearson reacted behind closed doors.
Down in League One, Swindon take a one goal advantage into tonight's second leg at The Valley after Friday night's pulsating first leg, and Charlton will consider themselves very lucky to still be in the tie.
The excitement at the County Ground wasn't matched at a subdued Galpharm stadium, as Milwall and Huddersfield served up the poorest of the week's clashes, but expect fireworks on Tuesday as they go at it again at the Den.
And down in the basement, hats off to Dagenham and Redbridge, who recorded the biggest ever play-off win, smashing Morecambe 6-0. The other League Two tie is slightly closer after the first leg, with the soon-departing Adam Le Fondre scoring the only goal as Rotherham stole a march on Aldershot.
With all bar one of the remaining ties delicately poised, its going to be one hell of a week for Football League fans.
Up where U's belong
I'm not going to congratulate Oxford on their promotion back to the Football League, as I was more than happy watching them struggle along in the Blue Square Premier.
But I can't deny they deserve their spot and hopefully Swindon and Oxford can be drawn against each other in one of the cups now the U's don’t have to battle through the qualifying rounds and are not too busy losing in the FA Trophy.
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- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:terry pierce
- Terry was born and bred in Wiltshire, and is a massive Swindon fan - travelling the length of the country most weekends to watch the 'mighty' Reds. He also manages a successful(ish) Sunday league side, and his life pretty much revolves around football. Five-year-old Terry was in the crowd when Swindon won promotion to the Premier League in 1993 with a 4-3 play-off win against Leicester. He cried after every goal. Read Terry's thoughts every week on life outside the Premier League. Follow Terry on Twitter @telpierce.
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