Danny Wilson celebrated his 800th game as a Manager in the best possible style as his Swindon Town team beat Charlton Athletic on penalties to reach the Coca-Cola League 1 Play-Off Final and give Wilson the chance to lead a side out at Wembley for the first time in his 16-year managerial career.
"Perhaps it was written in the stars," said Wilson after the Robins had come through a pulsating semi-final second leg to win 5-4 on penalties following a 2-1 defeat on the night but an aggregate 3-3 scoreline.
"Someone told me before the game it was my 800th as a Manager," he added, "and I'll remember it for a long, long time. It was very special. But what I'll remember more than anything is the application, determination and courage that the lads showed to get themselves in the position where we can play at Wembley."
Swindon had gone into the game with a 2-1 advantage from their home leg, but that was wiped out as Charlton went into a 2-0 lead through midfielder Simon Ferry's 27th minute own goal and a first half stoppage time effort by striker David Mooney.
Worse was to follow for the Robins as central defender David Greer was sent off for a 67th minute foul on striker Deon Burton - but seven minutes later they were back in the game as a goal by midfielder Danny Ward levelled the aggregate scoreline.
The numbers were also levelled up in the first minute of extra time, when the Addicks had central defender Miguel Llera dismissed for a challenge on striker Charlie Austin.
And then, in a dramatic penalty shoot-out, captain Nicky Bailey missed the home side's second spot-kick and that proved fatal to their chances as the super-cool Robins slotted home all five of their attempts.
Charlton fan Bailey was "inconsolable" after the game, reported Addicks boss Phil Parkinson, who said "I don't think I've been in a more distraught dressing room in my whole career. It was a cruel way to go out."
Wilson agreed with Parkinson on Charlton's exit route. "You feel sorry for anybody going out on penalties," he said. "I feel for Phil and for young Bailey as well - he's by far one of the best midfielders in the division and he's had a great season."
The Swindon Manager's sympathy for his opponents was understandably out-matched by his joy at his own team's victory and with it, a Wembley Play-Off Final against the winners of Tuesday's semi between Millwall and Huddersfield Town.
"It's great to get to Wembley," said Wilson, "and it's a fantastic privilege to be part of these boys. They never give up and yet again in this game we've seen the character they've shown all season. It was nip and tuck all the way though, and the emotions were a roller-coaster - going up and down like a fiddler's elbow!
"It was an epic and in the end the feeling was relief for everyone involved, including the supporters who were brilliant. We'd come to a massive club and to get the result against the odds showed that the application was absolutely spot-on.
"The lads deserve to be at Wembley but they also need a bit of rest after these two tough games. They'll have a couple of days off, we'll look at the opposition we'll be facing in the Final - and then we'll go and have a good day whoever we play."
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