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Football: Stockport heroes go so close.

M'boro 0, Stockport 1

(Boro win 2-1 on agg)

Stockport manager Dave Jones saluted his side's brave bid to claim a fourth Premiership scalp in the Coca-Cola Cup last night.

His men rocked Boro with an early goal from fullback Sean Connelly, and home keeper Mark Schwarzer denied Luis Cavaco with a brilliant save twenty minutes from time.

Even the 75th-minute dismissal of Tony Dinning for retaliation on Fabrizio Ravanelli couldn't spoil Second Division Stockport's joy at winning ag- ain on Premiership territory.

Jones said: "Cavaco had a great chance to make it 2-0. If that had gone in, we'd have really had them twitching.

"I can't ask any more of my lads on the night. I think they were magnificent.

"But Middlesbrough have won over the two legs.

"It's great for them to have reached the final but it's also great for Stockport because we've beaten another Premiership side on the night."

Stockport had knocked out Blackburn Rovers, West Ham and Southampton en route to

semi-finals. Dinning's dismissal probably ended their chances of another upset, and Jones said:

"The way Ravanelli went down I thought somebody in the stand had shot him.

"Still, I wish Boro all the best. This was our Cup final."

Boro manager Bryan Robson was also a proud man after his team made it to Wembley for a major final for the first time in the club's 121-year history.

He said: "It got a bit nervous out there.

"That's only natural when a lot of these players have never even been to a semi-final before.

"If we'd scored in the first five minutes, as we threatened to, we could have relaxed and enjoyed the night.

"Instead Stockport made it very hard for us.

But the important thing was making sure we got to Wembley and we've done that."
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 13, 1997
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