Gillingham v Shrewsbury

21 May 2009 01:35
League Two play-off final Venue: Wembley Stadium Date: Saturday, 23 May Kick-off: 1500 BST Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sport website (UK only); BBC Radio Kent and BBC Radio Shropshire (including post-match phone-ins; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & mobiles Adam Miller could return to the Gillingham midfield having missed the play-off semi-final through injury. Mark McCammon is also pushing for a recall having come off the bench in both legs of the semi-final. Shrewsbury striker Dave Hibbert will miss out after having injections in his foot, but Chris Humphrey (hamstring) will be fit to be in the squad. Long-term injury victim Mike Jackson (knee) also misses out and Steven Leslie begins a three-game ban. BIG-MATCH FACTS Gillingham take on Shrewsbury in the first of the three Play-Off finals, hoping to repeat their success in the year 2000. Promotion in the end-of-season Wembley showpiece meant their slide into the fourth tier was only for one season. Shrewsbury are visiting Wembley for the second time in three years for a League Two play-off final. They hope to climb into League One after five seasons at the fourth level, following their one year excursion to the Conference. The Gills made this final after a 2-1 aggregate victory over Rochdale in the semi-finals, courtesy of a double in the second leg from 20-goal club top scorer Simeon Jackson. The first leg at Spotland was goalless. The Shrews enjoyed a remarkable last ditch turn around to defeat Bury in the semi-finals. Trailing 1-0 from the first leg at Gigg Lane, the Shropshire side got out of jail through Kevin McIntyre's 88th minute goal in the second leg. Town went on to win a penalty shoot-out after having midfielder Steve Leslie sent off in extra time. The Referee Clive Olivier (Northumberland) 24 hours after this match, Clive's son Michael will take charge of the League One final between Millwall and Scunthorpe. It is the first time in the history of the play-offs that a father and son have officiated in this way. GILLINGHAM The Table Ended the regular season in fifth place with 75 points, three points short of automatic promotion. Current form Flirted briefly with automatic promotion in mid March after an eight-game unbeaten sequence, but one point from the next four games put paid to that, despite ending the regular campaign with three wins and a draw in the last four. Undefeated in six league and play-off games; four wins, two draws. Play-Off history This is their fourth Play-Off campaign, and the fourth time they have made the final. Gills were the losing side in a most memorable Division Two final in 1999, when they shared four goals with Manchester City after extra time, before the north-west giants won the penalty shoot-out. The Kent club made amends a year later, although they also needed extra time. Promotion was gained for a one-season stay in the second tier, by virtue of a 3-2 victory over Wigan. The Manager Gillingham were 18th in League One when Plaistow born Mark Stimson, 41, was appointed manager in November 2007. He is looking for success in the Play-offs at the third time of asking. The former Tottenham, Newcastle and Portsmouth defender played in Leyton Orient's unsuccessful play-off bid in 1999, and failed to get Grays through to the Conference Play-Off final as manager in 2006. Now Stimson takes a side to the New Wembley for the second time, after guiding Stevenage to success over Kidderminster in the FA Trophy final in 2007. Play-Off fact In the 13 years since clubs finishing in positions fourth to seventh at fourth league level have qualified for the play-offs, the ones finishing in fifth have gone on to gain promotion only twice; Peterborough in 2000 and Cheltenham in 2006. Wembley appearances This is the clubs third visit to Wembley for a Play Off final. The previous two were in 1999 and 2000. SHREWSBURY TOWN The Table Qualified for the Play-Offs in the seventh and bottom rung, with 69 points. They finished one point better off than Dagenham and Redbridge after a last-day showdown with the Daggers in East London, which the visitors won 1-2. Current form Won three of the last six in league and play-offs. Avoided defeat in 12 of their last 14 matches. Play-Off history This is only the Shrews second experience of the Play-Offs. Two seasons ago, having again finished seventh in League Two, they beat MK Dons 2-1 on aggregate to reach Wembley, but lost the final 3-1 to Bristol Rovers, having taken an early 3rd minute lead through Stuart Drummond. A brace from Richard Walker (now on Shrews books) and a 90th minute score from midfielder Sammy Igoe destined the Shropshire club to another season in the fourth tier. The Manager Carlisle born Paul Simpson, 42, joined Shrewsbury as manager in August 2008. Simpson has a vast experience of both heartache and success in the play-offs as a player. He was a member of the Derby team that lost to Leicester in the 1994 Division One Play-Off final at Wembley. Seven years later he scored in Blackpool's 4-2 win over Leyton Orient in the Division Three Play-Off final at the Millenium Stadium. As a manager, Simpson guided Carlisle back to the Football League in 2005, courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Stevenage in the Conference Play-Off final at Stoke's Britannia Stadium. Play-Off fact In the 13 years since clubs finishing in positions fourth to seventh at fourth league level have qualified for the play-offs, the ones finishing in seventh have gone on to gain promotion just once; Blackpool in 2001. Wembley appearances This will be their third Wembley appearance in 13 years. The previous two were unsuccessful, losing to Rotherham in the final of the 1996 Auto Windscreens Shield, and to Bristol Rovers in the League Two play-off final two years ago. HEAD to HEAD All competitions These clubs have met 50 times in all competitions, with Shrewsbury winning 19, Gillingham 16 and 15 drawn. Gillingham did the league double over Shrews last season, but this season the Shropshire club won 7-0 at the New Meadow, and shared four goals at the Priestfield Stadium. Shrewsbury have had the upper hand in cup competitions. They won a first round tie in the FA Cup in 1955, and another first round tie over two legs in the League Cup in 1990.

Source: BBC_Sport