Football

Adkins hails Murphy heroics

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Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins paid tribute to penalty hero Joe Murphy after his side booked their place in the Coca-Cola League One play-off final.

Goalkeeper Murphy saved two spot-kicks in a nerve-jangling shoot-out before veteran MK Dons striker Tore Andre Flo smashed his effort against the crossbar to send the Iron through 7-6 after a goalless draw left the sides level at 1-1 over two legs.

"I enjoyed that, it was good," beamed Adkins afterwards. "We always fancy Joe to save one, he's been taking money off the other players all week."

He added: "We practice penalties and having positive body language and they all strode up and looked as if they meant business.

"It comes down to a lottery after a long season ultimately decided on a spot-kick but we are pleased to get to Wembley and have the chance to get back to the Championship."

Flo's miss denied his old Chelsea team-mate Robert Di Matteo, a three-time cup-winning goalscorer with the Blues, a chance to return to Wembley in his first season as a manager of the Dons.

Instead Scunthorpe, themselves Wembley losers in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy against Luton a month ago, have the chance top bounce straight back to the Championship when they face Millwall in the capital a week on Sunday.

"That will hold us in good stead," added Adkins. "It was the first cup final in the club's history and now we have to draw on that experience and make sure we give ourselves a chance to win it this time."

Aaron Wilbraham should have broken the deadlock for the Dons in normal time, while Iron defender David Mirfin hit a post in extra-time. But in truth these two sides could have played all night without finding the net.

When the inevitable penalties arrived, Scunthorpe skipper Cliff Byrne fired over only for Jason Puncheon to be immediately denied by Murphy. Matt Sparrow then hit the crossbar but Jude Stirling, given the chance to win it, fired straight at Murphy. Ian Morris held his nerve for Scunthorpe and 35-year-old Flo blasted against the bar to send the visitors through.

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Topics:
Milton Keynes Dons
Aaron Wilbraham
Football
Millwall
Ian Morris
Scunthorpe United
Championship
League One
David Mirfin
Chelsea
Joe Murphy
Tore Andre Flo
Jude Stirling
Cliff Byrne
Jason Puncheon

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