Chandler’s Wembley delight

WEMBLEY WINNER ... Darlington ace Jamie Chandler relaxes with dog Harri ahead of the his big day at Wembley.
WEMBLEY WINNER ... Darlington ace Jamie Chandler relaxes with dog Harri ahead of the his big day at Wembley.

JAMIE Chandler was the most relieved man in Wembley when team-mate Chris Senior scored Darlington’s winning FA Trophy goal at the end of extra-time.

The final looked to be for the lottery of penalties before Senior clinched victory for the Quakers against Mansfield in the 120th minute.

Chandler was to be the first player to take a Darlo penalty, and admits the scenario had been on his mind.

The Boldon-born midfielder revealed: “I was first up to take penalties for us if it went that far. In the last few minutes I was thinking come on, someone come up with something.

“We had a few chances earlier in the game, but were unable to take them, and you wonder if it’s going to be one of those days.

“We trained at Queen’s Park Rangers the day before, and I took two penalties and scored both.

“I’d been scoring them all week in training, and I’m confident in my own ability, but you just wonder whether it might not come off at Wembley. Thankfully, I didn’t get to find out.”

The ex-Sunderland man capped a memorable day by picking up the man of the match award.

He said: “Obviously the result is the main thing, but to be named man of the match at Wembley was brilliant. I’m still buzzing.

“The whole day was unbelievable, but when we scored the feeling was out of this world.

“You never know whether you will get the chance to play in this type of game again, so you have to make the most of it, and we did.

“When I was singing the national anthem before kick-off the hairs were standing up on the back of my neck, and at the end when you saw the fans and the players and bench celebrating, it was a really special feeling.

“There were a few nerves before the game, but the gaffer (manager Mark Cooper) gave a brilliant speech, and to be honest, it was a very emotional one – it had Thommo our kit man in tears.

“Thankfully, we were able to take inspiration from it and get the job done.”