Hudd'field 1-2 MK Dons (agg 3-2)

By Ian WoodcockBBC Sport at the Galpharm Stadium

Huddersfield booked a League One play-off final date against Sheffield United despite defeat by MK Dons in the second leg of their semi-final.

The Terriers, leading 2-0 from the first leg at Stadium MK, went ahead on the night when Jordan Rhodes finished neatly from a free-kick.

Daniel Powell got one back for the Dons with a sharp finish from 18 yards.

Substitute Alan Smith scored with a stoppage-time header from a corner, but they could not find a crucial third.

Ultimately Rhodes's 40th goal of the season was enough for the Terriers to make a second successive play-off final.

Huddersfield, who lost 3-0 to Peterborough in last season's final at Old Trafford, went into the second leg with an advantage from the away leg.

With the two-goal deficit in mind it was perhaps unsurprising that the Dons started on the front foot and Powell nearly got in on goal after a major defensive mix-up between home skipper Peter Clarke and goalkeeper Ian Bennett.

Lee Novak fired two warning shots on the visitors' goal in response but was unable to force visiting custodian David Martin into action.

After more pressure from the Dons it was Town who took the lead when Novak's challenge from a long free-kick caused chaos in the defence and Rhodes nipped in to finish with unerring accuracy.

Far from calming Huddersfield's remaining nerves the goal seemed to cause an increased uncertainty in the Town ranks and Bennett had to be replaced by Alex Smithies after picking up an injury smothering a low Dean Bowditch centre.

Smithies's first meaningful action was to pick the ball out of his net. An incisive inside pass by full-back Adam Chicksen found Powell who turned adroitly and fired a low effort into the bottom corner.

As the half drew to a close, Karl Robinson felt his Dons should have been awarded a penalty when Charlie MacDonald seemed to be nudged from behind by Sean Morrison when he looked set to convert a Powell cross.

After MacDonald poked narrowly wide from Potter's clever slide-rule pass Town almost sealed their place at Wembley when Martin was forced into an excellent double stop, first denying Jack Hunt and then tipping away Novak's ferociously hit follow up.

Hunt, who scored the second at Stadium MK on Saturday, had been largely peripheral up to that point but now began to look to attack at any given opportunity.

Conscious of Town's growing dominance Robinson made a double substitution in a last ditch attempt to save the match and with it his side's season, Luke Chadwick and Jabo Ibehre came on for Bowditch and Chicksen respectively.

The replacements failed to have the immediate desired impact and it was the Terriers who continued to press, Rhodes flashing narrowly over from the angle.

Smithies produced a stunning late double save from Ibehre and Powell but, from the following corner, former Leeds forward Smith, who had entered the field to howls of derision from home fans, crashed in from close range to set up a frantic finale.

There was not enough time for the Dons to net again though and Huddersfield clung on to spark a pitch invasion for the second night running in Yorkshire, after the Blades won through to the 26 May final by beating Stevenage on Monday.


Huddersfield boss Simon Grayson:

"We could have killed the game off with the chances we had. You could see extra-time coming a mile off, Alan Smith coming on, getting booed all night and scoring the goal.

"Fortunately there was only one minute left and we saw it out comfortably enough.

"We are delighted with the end product. It has the ingredients of being a great game, obviously there is Yorkshire pride at stake but there is a bigger prize on offer of a ticket into the Championship.

"We will go there in good spirits and focused on what we need to do. There is no point going to Wembley if you're not going to win it and that is our ambition to do that. We are going there to win it."

MK Dons boss Karl Robinson:

"I thought we were the better team over the two legs to be honest and I am gutted we haven't gone through.

"Jordan Rhodes has been the difference. I thought we were magnificent, and we just didn't have that luck.

"I am disappointed because I wanted to go to Wembley and I am desperate to get this club in the Championship, I feel I have let people down and come up short.

"But we're not in the same hemisphere as a club like Huddersfield, we are punching well above our weight and the gulf didn't even show today.

"Good luck to Huddersfield. They were excellent and I am a little bit jealous, but I am sick because I wanted to be walking out at Wembley with my team, but it wasn't to be."

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