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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Classic JPT Finals

As we look forward to Sunday's JPT Final, Nobes takes a look back at classic JPT Finals of years gone by.

While many competitions seem to have an anti-climax in their Finals, the Johnstone's Paint Trophy bucks the trend. Thrilling, high-scoring events have often been the order of the day, and we can only hope this weekend's delivers more of the same.

Here are some of the past great finals of the Football League's most prestigious competition.


Luton Town 3-2 Scunthorpe United (AET)

Bottom of the entire Football League Luton Town staged one of the biggest upsets in the competition's history in beating Scunthorpe in last season's final.

The Bedfordshire club, starting relegation to the Conference in the face after a 30 point deduction, were facing an Iron team gunning for promotion to the Championship.

They also got off to a nightmare start when United striker Gary Hooper found the back of the net after just 14 minutes.

Luton responded though and Chris Martin equalised just after the hour mark, and the Hatters were on course for victory with Tom Craddock's second half volley.

However, with time running out, the Lincolnshire side were level with a stunning strike from midfielder Grant McCann.

The two sides were forced into an extra half an hour's play and it was Town's substitute striker Claude Gnapka who lifted the ball over Scunthorpe keeper Joe Murphy to seal the extra time win.

Bristol Rovers 2-3 Doncaster Rovers (AET)

Doncaster continued their renaissance with a stunning JPT Final win against Bristol Rovers in the last final held at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium

The South Yorkshire side got off to the perfect start when Jonathan Forte fired them ahead after just 43 seconds. Just four minutes later they were 2-0 ahead - Paul Heffernan latching onto a long ball forward to double their lead.

However, the Gas fought back in the second half and, after Richard Walker's penalty had reduced the arrears, Sammy Igoe's half-volley levelled matters.

That meant the game went into extra time and it was Doncaster who summoned up the strength to take the lead and eventually the trophy. Graeme Lee meeting Sean Thornton's corner to head the Vikings to glory.


Southend United 0-2 Wrexham

Financially striken Wrexham put their woes behind them as two extra time goals were enough to beat Southend United.

The Welsh club, who had entered administration not soon before and been deducted 10 points for their troubles, were facing a Southend side who would go on to win promotion from League Two in May.

It was no surprise that the final was a tight one therefore. Juan Ugarte went narrowly wide for the Red Dragons, and United responded with Spencer Prior's powerful header being well saved.

The teams continued to trade blows in the second half but, with neither side making the breakthrough, the game was forced into extra time.

Wrexham stepped up their game and took the lead when Ugarte headed home a corner. The Essex club searched for a leveller, but were caught on the break when Darren Ferguson poked home Wrexham's second.

It provided a rare moment of joy for the troubled club's fans when their points deduction would prove decisive in their demotion to League Two.


Grimsby Town 2-1 Bournemouth (AET)

The first ever own goal scored by a goalkeeper helped Alan Buckley's Grimsby Town win the Auto Windscreens Shield as these two clubs made their debut appearances at Wembley.

John Bailey had given the Cherries a first half lead, and the cash-strapped club appeared to be on their way to a fairytale win. However, with fifteen minutes remaining, Town equalised.

A cross into the box was met by Kingsley Black whose header deflected in off the keeper's leg for the equaliser.

The goals panel later put the strike down as an own-goal on behalf of the goalkeeper - a certain Jimmy Glass. They obviously thought he'd never write himself into history any other way...

The Mariners, boosted by the goal, went on to win the game in extra time. Wayne Burnett's volley from a corner was the Golden Goal to bring the trophy back to Lincolnshire.


Birmingham City 1-0 Carlisle United (AET)

Birmingham City made Wembley history with the national stadium's first ever Golden Goal to settle the 1995 Auto Windscreens Final.

The Blues, who would also win promotion back to the second tier in the same season, were the strong favourites against plucky Carlisle, but toiled throughout the match.

Rod Thomas missed a glorious chance for the Cumbrians and Steve Claridge hit the post for City in normal time, but with the match remained scoreless after 90 minutes, forcing extra time.

Then 13 minutes into the additional time a cross into the box was glanced on by Paul Tait [right] leaving the Carlisle keeper with no chance, and the Shield in the hands of the Midlanders.

Wembley history had been made.

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