Leeds United fan Charlie Ibbotson, 14, was at Wembley last week to report on the Coca-Cola League 1 Play-Off Final for The Football League website, having won the trip as part of The Football League's Junior Reporter competition. Here is his great match report of Millwall's victory over Swindon Town.
Saturday 29th May 2010
Coca-Cola League 1 Play-Off Final
Millwall v. Swindon Town
Millwall regained a place in the Championship in a tense and nail biting Play-Off Final at Wembley. The atmosphere was electric and the stadium was shrouded with red and blue shirts. 73,108 fans filtered into the stands all hoping to see their team win the coveted prize of a place in the Championship.
Both sides looked nervous from the off, however both teams were stringing together some good passing play. Shaun Batt and Steve Morison were combining well down the right hand side causing the Swindon back four problems. Millwall piled on the early pressure when some good Neil Harris play earned them an eighth minute corner. Scott Cuthbert headed the ball away well.
A poor pass back to the keeper on thirteen minutes from Swindon defender Kevin Amankwaah almost gave Morison the chance to put Millwall ahead but the Swindon defence proved too strong. Morison was proving a real handful for the Swindon defence and he once again seized the initiative as his chip over David Lucas looked destined for the net. The ball instead nestled onto the top of the goal.
Swindon had their first chance of the match when a long free-kick from left-back Alan Sheehan missed everyone in the penalty area and eventually went narrowly wide.
There was controversy in the 29th minute as Millwall looked to have opened the scoring. Scott Barron floated the ball in and Amankwaah looked to have headed the ball past his own keeper. The Assistant Referee adjudged that there had been a Lions' player in an offside position prior to the goal, much to the disgust of the Millwall players and fans.
The match was really livening up towards the half way mark and Alan Sheehan found space, his strike fizzing just over the crossbar. Millwall had the game in control and they opened the scoring in the 39th minute through Paul Robinson. Schofield's corner found the Millwall captain who placed the ball comfortably past Lucas from six yards.
The Millwall players continued to control the game until the half way mark, with the Swindon players almost losing all drive to continue. Millwall led 1-0 at the break.
A much better second half performance was essential if Swindon wanted to keep their Championship dreams alive. They started the second period well with some good early pressure and won a couple of dangerous free-kicks. The finishing touch just seemed to be evading them.
Millwall broke on the counter with Morison winning another corner. Sheehan rose well to clear the ball off the goal-line, preventing Millwall from doubling their lead. Millwall had a further chance to go ahead in the 57th minute when a powerful Morison strike caused the Swindon back four problems. The ball was eventually cleared after some nervous looking defending.
At the other end Millwall keeper Forde was looking extremely difficult to beat as he did well to grasp a powerful Jean-Francois header.
In the 71st minute Swindon had a huge chance to equalise when Charlie Austin found himself one on one with the keeper. Just as he looked certain to slip the ball past Forde, the much scrutinised Wembley surface played its part, with the ball bobbling up and striking Austin on the shin. There was huge disappointment for him and the Swindon faithful. Jean-Francois was awarded the first caution of the game when his unfair challenge on Morison earned Millwall a free kick. The set-play caused problems but the ball was eventually cleared.
Swindon looked tired and the desire seemed to be lacking but when Amankwaah was brought down in the area there were huge shouts for a penalty. It looked a fair challenge but it could have easily been given. Swindon continued to press forward with another effort from youngster Danny Ward narrowly evading the bottom corner. Four minutes of added time were signalled much to the delight of the Swindon supporters. But Millwall proved too strong and when the last Swindon corner came to waste the final whistle was blown.
A deserved victory from Millwall who will play in the Coca-Cola Championship next season. For Swindon, it's another season in League 1 and Danny Wilson's men will look to build on what Millwall have done after their disappointing Play-Off defeat last season.
Final Result; Millwall 1-0 Swindon.
To read Charlie's account of his day at Wembley click here.
The Junior Reporter competition forms part of The Football League's 'Fans of the Future' campaign which aims to attract more young fans and families to watch live football and start a lifelong passion for the game.
Click here to find out more about the competition