13:30 It’s been quite the season for Darlington. In the last 10 days alone they’ve won the UEFA Cup and qualified for the Champions League. How can you top that? Welcome to the FA Cup final.
13:40 Of course it’s not all about Darlington today. Derby County have one FA Cup to their name, but that was back in 1946. Darlington are new to winning honours and the UEFA Cup 10 days ago was their first major honour. Derby, under the management of Joe Kinnear, have just enjoyed their first season back in the Premier League, finishing a more than respectable 7th. We’ll have the team news in around 20 minutes
13:45 Amazingly, we’re about to have the 8th different winner in 8 years
Few will have forgotten the huge shock Southport caused in 2003, whilst Palace’s performance in 2000 cannot be underestimated. You’d have to say, Darlington are favourites today but it wouldn’t be a shock on the scale of those two if Derby prevailed.
13:55 By my calculations, Derby are guaranteed to be in the Cup Winners Cup, as even if they lose today, Darlington have already secured a Champions League spot. Joe Kinnear’s men can look forward to a European tour next season
14:00 TEAM NEWS
The two squads arrived at Wembley a little while ago but there were few clues to the starting 11’s. However, the team sheets are in…
Glen Costello is suspended for Darlington after his red card at Barnsley back on 30th April. Steven Haslam comes back into the side in place of the Irishman. Young midfielder Dave Oakes is back on the bench after 6 months out with a spinal injury.
Darlington: Carlos Germano, Sansome, Page (c), Haslam, Wellens, McGivern, Bose, Ayew, Eadie, Olivero, Owen. Subs: Guilherme, Diana, Hughes, Txutxi, Oakes.
Key forward Keith Crawford is missing through suspension for Derby, so Dean Sturridge is recalled as the central striker in Derby’s 4-3-3 formation. Right back Stephen Carr is also banned, so Swede Daniel Wiberg drops back to right back with Howard George coming into midfield.
Derby: Roberts, Wiberg, Brownrigg, Howard, Candela, George, Casey, Wright, Allen, Sturridge, Johnston. Subs: Carragher, Newell, Mayo, McCulloch, Fragliasso.
14:10 So, who do you fancy now you’ve seen the teams? Darlington certainly have the better players but Kinnear’s direct 4-3-3 could well pose Darlington some issues.
14:20 Here’s what both managers have had to say…
Darlington manager David Black:
It’s been a long old season, most of the first team have played more than 50 games but when you’re winning, you don’t care, you just can’t wait for the next game. It’s been a fantastic month but the lads have had to hold off on the celebration – get the job done today and there’ll be some sore heads in the morning!
Derby manager Joe Kinnear:
When I discovered Darlington back in 1971, I always said they’d go on to win big. The lad Ayew in midfield, I gave him his debut years ago and I don’t care what you say, I had a huge part in his career. we’ll be physical and try and f*ck them up from the outset today, the Wimbledon way. I mean Derby.
14:30 Joe Kinnear isn’t shy, is he? Here’s our view of who the star men could be today.
Michael Owen – What more can you say about this lad? Next summer the 2006 World Cup will be held in England and Owen seems determined to earn a place in Glenn Hoddle’s team, having been in the last few squads without getting on the pitch and receiving his last cap almost 3 years ago. 33 goals and 18 assists in 56 games is a mighty return – the top scorer in the country.
Dean Sturridge – Sturridge is 31 now but after firing Derby back into the league, he gets his big chance today in the absence of Crawford. With only 6 goals this season, there won’t be many more opportunities like this for the big man – though on the flipside, we hear he has a nephew who will go right to the top.
Manga Ayew – The man from Chad is the man who makes Darlington tick. From central midfield, Ayew will burst forward and cause the opposition all sorts of problems not only with his feet, but he’s very good in the air too. 13 goals this season is testament to his threat.
Ben Roberts – The former Middlesbrough goalkeeper is in the form of his life, getting an unbelievable 19 man of the match awards. You feel Roberts has to be at his absolute best today if Derby are to leave Wembley with the trophy.
14:40 Twenty minutes to go! Wembley is filling up nicely. The players have left the surface, the warm-ups are done.
14:50 Here they come! The two sides are led out by their managers onto the Wembley pitch. Both ends of the stadium are black and white, such are the colours of the two teams, but both are making enough noise to bring some colour to the occasion. Abide with me, the national anthem…it’s kick off time
15:00 KICK OFF – Derby get the 2005 FA Cup final underway.
5 mins – The first chance of the game falls to Darlington. Bose lifts a ball into the right hand channel and Nicholas Olivero is on to it. His first touch is good and he drills in a low shot that Roberts parries behind.
6 mins – Derby are living on the edge here. From the resulting corner, Darren Eadie’s delivery is right on the money and Ayew’s header looks destined for the net, only for Ben Roberts to palm it over the bar. The second corner is flatter but Michael Owen meets it on the run and flicks his header agonisingly across goal and wide.
11 mins – Oh hello! Derby haven’t come here to make up the numbers. Rory Allen slips a delightful pass in behind and Alan Johnston is on to it, but Brazil veteran Carlos Germano is out quickly to narrow the angle and deflect the shot behind. Rory Allen gets his head on the corner but it’s all wrong and drifts over.
14 mins – Johnston at it again, weaving his way goalwards but seeing his shot comfortably saved by Carlos Germano.
17 mins – Darlington can’t get out! Derby at it again, this time Wiberg crosses and Dean Sturridge gets ahead of his man and bullets a header goalwards – but wide.
22 mins – GOAL! Darlington 1 – 0 Derby County (Nicholas Olivero)
It’s been backs to the walls for Darlington for the past 10 minutes but they’ve taken the lead! It’s great work from Eadie down the left, beating his man for pace before drilling in a low cross that evades everybody except Nicholas Olivero. The Uruguayan keeps a cool head and takes a touch before slamming his shot into the roof of the net.
24 mins – Derby look to hit straight back but Johnston can only pull his shot a couple of yards wide from a decent position.
27 mins – YELLOW CARD
Alan Johnston has been at the centre of pretty much everything for Derby so far today, but his enthusiasm proves to be his downfall here as he clatters into Enrico Bose. The first booking of the day
30 mins – Finally a pause for breath as Ryan McGivern gets some treatment. Drinks all round for the players.
Former Derby manager Jim Smith:
Darlington came out of the traps at 100mph but once Derby got their direct game going, it’s essentially 3 centre backs vs 3 centre forwards and Johnston was running them ragged. The goal came about out of the blue but it was fabulous play from Eadie.
34 mins – Back in play and Manga Ayew tries a speculative shot that flies over the bar. Darlington’s midfield is being neutralised by Derby playing over the top.
38 mins – Howard George misses the chance to make a name for himself, heading wide unmarked from a Ryan Casey corner.
HALF TIME – Darlington 1 – 0 Derby County
A quiet end to the first half, Darlington beginning to look a bit tired from their recent excursions, but Derby also playing pretty well.
A look at the half time stats show it’s been fairly even, but Darlington have the most important stat.
Former Derby manager Jim Smith:
The half sort of tailed off, it was like both teams had shown their hand early in the first half and now neither know what to do next. Both sides will re-group and if Derby were to equalise, do Darlington have the legs to win it? I’m not sure they do.
So that’s what Jim Smith thinks, but we’ll see what the second half brings.
KICK OFF – Michael Owen and Manga Ayew kick off the second half.
49 mins – Steve Haslam is still in the dressing room! Mentally anyway. He badly miscontrols a pass and Rory Allen is on to it – he gets his shot away but Robert Page blocks. Page has some choice words for Haslam, captainly advice I’m sure.
52 mins – Michael Owen has been relatively quiet today, but he has a shot on target to his name now. It’s a bit poor in the end though, straight at Roberts who saves comfortably.
55 mins – Great feet from Olivero who gets himself half a yard and curls a shot at goal but Roberts is once again equal to it.
59 mins – Alan Johnston is being a real pest to Darlington today. This time he tries a crafty chip but it’s straight at Carlos Germano.
64 mins – Owen slips in Olivero but on his weaker left foot, the shot lacks power and Roberts can gather at the second attempt.
69 mins – Eadie’s corner causes mayhem again, and this time Ayew gets the header right but it’s a superb save from Ben Roberts, clawing the ball out before Wiberg whacks it away. Darlington hungry to finish this game.
72 mins – YELLOW CARD
Manga Ayew in the book now, the referee deciding a handball in the middle of the park was deliberate.
75 mins – SUBSTITUTION
Darlington move for fresh legs and it’s a welcome return for Dave Oakes, branded the next Paul Gascoigne. He’s on for Enrico Bose.
79 mins – We’re creeping towards the final 10 minutes here, Derby need something. They nearly get it from Dean Sturridge but his shot is gathered by Carlos Germano.
80 mins – YELLOW CARD
Steven Haslam goes in the book for a late tackle on Alan Johnston. It’s the first time anybody has got near Johnston all day, in fairness.
83 mins – Johnston with the header this time but it’s wide. Time running out for Derby.
87 mins – Carlos Germano is given the man of the match award in the stadium, which tells you what sort of game it has been.
89 mins – SUBSTITUTION
Lee Hughes is on for Ryan McGivern, as Darlington look to run the clock down.
90 mins – FULL TIME – Darlington 1 – 0 Derby County
DARLINGTON WIN THE 2005 FA CUP
That’s it! It’s all over. Not a vintage final by any means but Darlington won’t care. The celebrations have already begun. The manager looks knackered.
Here’s a quick look at the stats before we bring you reaction
Derby shading the efforts on goal but Darlington were never under loads of pressure, even towards the end of the game. Derby may see this as an opportunity lost. Why did they make no changes? It all just sort of petered out.
Darlington manager David Black:
It’s always been a dream to win the FA Cup, we came so close a few years ago but I knew we’d be back. We’ve played much better than today and lost so the performance doesn’t bother me, we just wanted the result today. I have to say well done to those lads, most of them have played over 50 times this season and they’ll deserve their summer off!
Derby manager Joe Kinnear:
When I won the FA Cup in 1995 we had to do it the hard way and this year is no different, we’ll turn it around in the second leg. What? Oh f*ck off. Bloody Northerners.
Typical nonsense from Joe Kinnear there. The Darlington lads are on their way up the famous steps, this will be something to remember for a long time to come.
So, as Robert Page lifts the trophy, I must thank you for joining us today and we’ll hopefully see you again very soon. Here’s Michael Owen with the trophy to see you off