Southend 1-1 Wycombe- Match Report

Bentley the hero as Southend go upDaniel Bentley went from zero to hero as Southend won a dramatic Sky Bet League Two play-off final against Wycombe on penalties.The Shrimpers goalkeeper was seconds from going down as Wycombe's Wembley match winner after his cruel own-goal five minutes into extra time.But substitute Joe Pigott equalised in the 122nd minute to tie things up at 1-1 and take the clash to penalties.In a nerve-shredding finish Bentley then saved from Matt Bloomfield and Sam Wood in the shoot-out to secure a 7-6 victory on penalties and a return to League One for the Shrimpers.It all could have been so different for the 21-year-old, who has broken club records for clean sheets this season to keep Southend in the promotion race.With five minutes of extra-time played Wanderers left-back Joe Jacobson stepped up to curl in a 25-yard free-kick.His shot hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced back up, brushed Bentley's back and then hit the bar again, before spinning over the line.After a forgettable 90 minutes it appeared either a mistake or a moment of magic was going to settle a tense encounter, and between them Bentley and Jacobson had provided both

But Bentley's blushes were spared when Pigott fired through a crowded penalty area to hand the goalkeeper his shot at redemption and force those Southend fans who had left early to turn on their heels and dash back into the stadium.Young Wycombe keeper Alex Lynch gave his side the advantage in the shoot-out when he saved from Ben Coker, but it was not to be Wycombe's day.In fact the afternoon got off to a wretched start for Wanderers - and Sam Saunders in particular

The midfielder was chopped down by Southend's Will Atkinson in the centre circle, straight from the kick-off, and looked distraught as he hobbled off the pitch, his Wembley appearance effectively ended with just two seconds on the clock.There was little to separate these teams in the league - Wycombe finished above the Shrimpers on goal difference alone - and it was a similar story for much of the final.Both sides had goals ruled out in the first half, with Barry Corr's header for Southend chalked off for a push, while Wycombe skipper Paul Hayes had long since been flagged offside when his effort was deflected into the net.Southend's best chance fell to Corr, who headed David Worrall's cross too close to Lynch, while three minutes from the end of normal time Bentley denied Wycombe a winner with a fine save to push Aaron Pierre's header over the top, ensuring the clash would go to extra time

Bentley then looked like being the fall guy when he dived in vain for Jacobson's shot and turned round just in time to see it bounce agonisingly over the line.However, Pigott stepped up in stoppage time to smash in the equaliser and Bentley was not going to waste his second chance

Source : PA

Source: PA