Dagenham & Redbridge
||Taylor 39, 61|
|Ref: Mr J Linington
|| Attendance: 32,054|
Striker Jon Nurse hit the winner as Dagenham & Redbridge continued their fairy-tale rise up the footballing ladder with a memorable victory in a high-octane League 2 Play-Off Final that lit up Wembley.
Ten years ago the Daggers were winning promotion from the Ryman Premier League. Now they are in the third tier of English football and if they play with the same fire and spirit that both sides showed in this match, they will prosper at that level too.
John Still's team had never before beaten Rotherham, but what a time to break their duck - and what a way to do it, becoming in the process only the second team in the history of the Play-Offs to go up after finishing seventh in the table.
Rotherham twice equalised through striker Ryan Taylor after first Paul Benson then Danny Green had shot Dagenham in front. But they could not come back at third time following Nurse's 70th minute strike.
The game was a pulsating spectacle from the first whistle as both sides went in search of goals, Rotherham going closest in the early stages with three good efforts in a five-minute spell of pressure.
Midfielder Pablo Mills and striker Taylor both narrowly missed the target with headers, then from right winger Nicky Law's 18th minute cross Taylor saw his goalbound header saved by the diving Tony Roberts.
That was a good stop by the 40-year-old keeper, but there was an even better one by his opposite number Andy Warrington on the half-hour. Midfielder Romain Vincelot met right back Abu Ogogo's cross with a spectacular scissors-kick, but Warrington flung himself to his right to pull off a magnificent save.
Warrington did it again four minutes later, this time keeping out right winger Danny Green's 20 yard free-kick with a tremendous one-handed save.
The Daggers finally found a way past the keeper in the 38th minute, when left back Damien McCrory crossed for striker Benson to produce a neat turn and shot to record his 22nd goal of the season.
Rotherham's riposte was immediate, equalising inside a minute as Taylor directed a header inside the near post from left winger Kevin Ellison's curling cross.
The quick-fire goals summed up the game's end-to-end nature and that's the way it carried on into the second half.
Dagenham regained the lead in the 56th minute, Green collecting the loose ball from a headed clearance then driving a 20 yard cross shot inside the far post.
The Millers should have equalised four minutes later, but from a Law cross central midfielder Danny Harrison lifted a five yard shot high over the bar.
The glaring miss was not rued for long by Ronnie Moore's team, however, as within 30 seconds Taylor claimed his second goal of the game with a low 12 yard drive from Law's pull-back.
As the frantic pace of the game continued unabated more goals looked inevitable and the fifth of the afternoon duly arrived in the 70th minute, Dagenham going in front for the third time as Nurse turned Green's corner goalwards and the ball deflected in off the leg of Ellison.
Rotherham pushed hard for a winner but never came close as the Daggers kept their nerve to produce a famous victory and - after trouncing Morecambe 7-2 on aggregate in their semi-final - a deserved promotion.
Dagenham & Redbridge (4-4-2): Roberts; Ogogo, Doe, Arber, McCrory; D. Green, Vincelot, Gain, Nurse (Montgomery 73); Scott (Walsh 84), Benson.
Substitutes not used: Lewington, Uddin, Currie, Bingham, Tejan-Sie.
Rotherham United (4-4-2): Warrington; Lynch, Sharps, Fenton, Gunning; Law, Mills (Marshall 77), Harrison, Ellison (Bell-Baggie 86); Taylor, Le Fondre.
Substitutes not used: J. Green, Warne, Broughton, Walker, Annerson.