Match ends, Southend United 3, Stevenage 1.
Southend United 3-1 Stevenage (agg 4-2)
Southend reached the League Two play-off final against Wycombe as extra-time goals from Stephen McLaughlin and Michael Timlin settled a dramatic tie.
Stevenage's Tom Pett put the visitors ahead from close range in the second half, before Ryan Leonard's powerful equaliser made it 2-2 on aggregate.
United striker Barry Corr missed a stoppage-time penalty to win the game at the end of normal time.
But McLaughlin's and Timlin's goals at Roots Hall sent Southend to Wembley.
With the tie level after a 1-1 draw at the Lamex Stadium on Sunday, the Shrimpers knew a home win would see them reach the play-off final at the third time of asking, after two semi-final defeats in the past four seasons.
The home side created the only real chances in a tense first half, with winger David Worrall forcing a good save out of goalkeeper Chris Day early on and Corr, who equalised for his side in Sunday's first leg, chipping the ball wide from close range.
A Ben Kennedy strike which hit the side-netting was the closest the visitors came to a goal before the break, but in the second half they came out with renewed vigour and were rewarded with the opening goal.
Dean Parrett, who opened the scoring in the first leg with a stunning curling effort, picked up midfielder Simon Walton's corner on the edge of the box and sent an effort towards goal, which took a big deflection and bounced to Pett, who finished from six yards out.
Southend pushed for an immediate reply and defender Cian Bolger's low shot was brilliantly kept out by Day, who then did even better to save Joe Pigott's drive - but there was nothing he could do about the equaliser.
Substitute McLaughlin's deep cross to the far post found Leonard and the Shrimpers player had enough time and space to fire a shot into the roof of the net and bring Roots Hall to life.
Deep into stoppage time, Leonard, under pressure from Parrett, went down in the box and referee Graham Scott awarded the penalty, only for top scorer Corr to chip the spot-kick onto the top of the bar, ensuring the game went into extra-time.
At that stage, Southend, who missed out on automatic promotion on the final day of the season, may have feared this was not to be their year.
The hosts went closest in the first half of extra-time, with Corr heading wide and then almost redeeming himself for his missed spot-kick with a powerful low strike that Day somehow managed to deflect past his near post.
But the breakthrough finally came for Southend when full-back John White's measured cross was met by substitute McLaughlin's crisp diving header.
Timlin - who played in a headguard after having 15 stitches in a head wound on Sunday - added a third goal late in the game.
Southend boss Phil Brown:
"For Michael Timlin to get that goal...dear me! It emphasised the commitment that was shown to try to win the game. We never do things easy at this place - it doesn't seem that way anyway.
"I have made some big decisions in my life football-wise and that's probably the biggest, Michael Timlin to play.
"On Sunday he went in for that horrific challenge and their captain's laid out. In the 90th minute here he went into another header with a skullcap on - it was just the bravest performance I've seen from an individual in my managerial time."
Stevenage boss Graham Westley:
"They'll take so much confidence from this and there's a real chance in that dressing room that they can have a good season next year.
"We will see where things go from here. I am the Stevenage manager up until the end of May.
"There's been no offer to me. The club is having a serious re-think about what it's going to do for the future so we'll see how that pans out."
- 26BarrettBooked at 104mins
- 3CokerBooked at 90mins
- 12AtkinsonSubstituted forMcLaughlinat 63'minutes
- 7WorrallSubstituted forDeeganat 113'minutes
- 32PigottSubstituted forWestonat 105'minutes
- 6BondBooked at 58mins
- 22LeeSubstituted forDeaconat 82'minutes
- 23OkimoBooked at 70mins
- 7WhelpdaleSubstituted forPettat 41'minutes
- 8WaltonBooked at 90mins
- 18ParrettBooked at 90mins
- 50MartinSubstituted forHenryat 69'minutes
- 33KennedyBooked at 120mins
- Graham Scott
- Shots on Target
Second Half Extra Time ends, Southend United 3, Stevenage 1.
Ben Kennedy (Stevenage) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Stephen McLaughlin (Southend United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Ben Kennedy (Stevenage).
Goal! Southend United 3, Stevenage 1. Michael Timlin (Southend United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner.
Attempt missed. Barry Corr (Southend United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Myles Weston.
Attempt blocked. Roarie Deacon (Stevenage) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Foul by Ben Coker (Southend United).
Tom Pett (Stevenage) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Ryan Leonard (Southend United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jerome Okimo (Stevenage).
Foul by Ben Coker (Southend United).
Ben Kennedy (Stevenage) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Ben Coker (Southend United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Tom Pett (Stevenage).
Substitution, Southend United. Gary Deegan replaces David Worrall.
Corner, Stevenage. Conceded by Ben Coker.
Goal! Southend United 2, Stevenage 1. Stephen McLaughlin (Southend United) header from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by John White with a cross.
Offside, Southend United. Stephen McLaughlin tries a through ball, but Myles Weston is caught offside.