9:00am Saturday 22nd March 2014
By Craig Stoddart
Former Darlington captain Ian Miller hopes to make it two out of three wins at Wembley this weekend when he plays in the FA Carlsberg Trophy final for Cambridge United.
He lifted the Trophy as Quakers captain in May 2011 when a last minute Chris Senior goal gave Darlington a dramatic 1-0 win over Mansfield Town.
He was back under the Arch last year with Grimsby Town when the Mariners lost on penalties to Wrexham, and tomorrow he wants to savour victory again when Cambridge face Gosport Borough.
“I can’t wait,” he told the FA.com. “This will be my third final at Wembley in four years.
“It was a fantastic feeling [winning in 2011]. We were playing a very good Mansfield Town side and the match went down to the wire.
"It was 0-0 and Chris Senior scored the winner in the 119th minute which was unbelievable, leaving it so late perhaps made it extra-special.
"I was extremely proud to lead the team out, with the armband on and my team-mates behind me. The fans were so loud in the ground, it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
"When you play at the park with your friends as a kid you pretend to play at Wembley, and to get that chance was amazing. Hopefully I get it again with leading Cambridge out, too.”
Now 30, Miller moved to Grimsby after leaving Darlington midway through the 2011-12 season, when financial difficulties hit the club hard, and 18 months later was at Wembley again in the Trophy final.
“It was a pretty horrible experience," admitted Miller, who joined Cambridge last summer and fellow former Darlington defender Greg Taylor is also at the Abbey Stadium.
“Just losing a game of football is bad enough but to lose on penalties after such a big build-up to the game and then to come away with a runners-up medal was hard to take.
“To be fair, we probably didn’t deserve to beat Wrexham but it was still a sour taste watching the opposition lift The Trophy and celebrate with their fans. I just wanted to go home as soon as possible.”
Cambridge, second in the Conference, are strong favourites to win tomorrow against a team third-bottom in the Conference South.
Miller added: “I’ve played in those two finals and been on both sides of the coin, so if anyone asks for my advice I’ll just tell them how I felt last year after losing.
“Although I’ll equally never forget winning, I’ll never forget the moment we lost and the post-match emotions.
“Watching the other players, staff and fans all in jubilant mood is not something I want to re-live again, and I’ll be spurring the boys on with that image.”
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