Most Read Football

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Sky Bet EFL play-offs: A look back at some of the best play-off finals for drama

Nicky Weaver celebrates
Nicky Weaver celebrates

The Sky Bet Championship play-off match between Leeds and Derby was a cracker for the neutral, with plenty of goals, cards and drama.

Trailing 1-0 from Saturday's first leg at Pride Park, the Rams fell behind early on to a Stuart Dallas goal (24), but Jack Marriott (45), Mason Mount (46) and a Harry Wilson penalty (58) put them ahead in the tie.

Dallas then grabbed another to level proceedings (62) but Gaetano Berardi's late sending off handed the ascendancy back to Derby, and Marriott clipped in the late winner (85) to secure a 4-3 aggregate win.

You can watch full highlights of that game by heading here, and Frank Lampard's side will now go on to face Aston Villa - who beat West Brom on penalties on Tuesday night - in the final on Monday, May 27.

Here's a look at some of the play-offs best games for drama...


Fourth Division Final, 1987

Aldershot 3-0 Wolves (on aggregate)

Aldershot's Recreation Ground
Aldershot's Recreation Ground

The first year of the play-offs threw up a two-legged final between mighty but ailing Wolves and tiny Aldershot, who had finished nine points behind them in the Fourth Division standings.

Despite Shots striker Bobby Barnes admitting they were "in awe" of their opponents, they prevailed in style, following up a 2-0 first leg win with a 1-0 triumph in front of almost 20,000 at Molineux three days later.


Second Division Final, 1990

Sunderland 0-1 Swindon

Swindon manager Osvaldo Ardiles (right) and player Alan McLoughlin
Swindon manager Osvaldo Ardiles (right) and player Alan McLoughlin

Gary Bennett's first-half own goal appeared to have gifted Swindon a place in the top flight for the first time in their history in an unremarkable game at Wembley.

But the drama was to follow the final whistle, as Swindon were subsequently handed a double demotion for breaching Football League rules, that was reduced to them remaining in the Second Division on appeal, and the Black Cats became the first and only team to lose a play-off final and still - ultimately - find themselves promoted.


First Division Final, 1993

Leicester 3-4 Swindon

Paul Bodin scores from the penalty spot
Paul Bodin scores from the penalty spot

Just three years after their controversial demotion, Swindon were back in the play-off final - and this time they booked their place in the top flight in style.

An opening goal from player-manager Glenn Hoddle saw them cruise into a 3-0 lead only for the Foxes to pull level in a stunning 12-minute spell in the second half.

But Swindon held their nerve and sealed their belated ascent through Paul Bodin's late penalty.


First Division Final, 1995

Bolton 4-3 Reading

Bolton's Fabian de Freitas scores
Bolton's Fabian de Freitas scores

Stuart Lovell's missed penalty after 34 minutes proved crucial as Bolton struck back to clinch victory in extra-time. Reading dominated the early stages and led 3-0 but Lovell's miss changed the course of the game.

Owen Coyle and Fabian de Freitas pulled Bolton level and Mixu Paatelainen gave the Trotters the lead in extra-time. De Freitas' second effectively sealed Bolton's win before shell-shocked Reading grabbed a late consolation.

It was harsh on the Royals, who finished the season second but missed out on automatic promotion as the Premier League was resized.


First Division Final, 1998

Charlton 4-4 Sunderland (7-6 pens)

Celebrations for Charlton
Celebrations for Charlton

Arguably the greatest of all play-off finals saw Charlton striker Clive Mendonca, a lifelong Sunderland fan, score the first hat-trick in a play-off final as the Addicks battled back from behind three times to force a penalty shoot-out.

The first 13 spot-kicks were all scored before Michael Gray's effort was saved by Charlton keeper Sasa Ilic, sealing a dramatic victory for Alan Curbishley's men, and leaving Sunderland-born Gray inconsolable.


Second Division Final, 1999

Manchester City 2-2 Gillingham (3-1 pens)

Gillingham 2-2 Manchester City

City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver was the hero, charging the length of the Wembley pitch in celebration after saving two Gillingham penalties and completing his side's stunning comeback.

City trailed 2-0 going into the final minute of normal time before Kevin Horlock struck what appeared to be a consolation goal. But Paul Dickov netted in the fifth minute of added time to force the extra half-hour and ultimately, the penalty drama.


Championship final, 2010

Blackpool 3-2 Cardiff

Ian Holloway: Tactics, Blackpool 3 Cardiff City 2 - Masterclass

The pre-season favourites for relegation, Blackpool had to come from behind twice to win a game where all five goals were scored in the first-half.

Michael Chopra grabbed the first goal before Charlie Adam hit back four minutes later. Joe Ledley then put Cardiff back ahead, but Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Brett Ormerod ensured Blackpool held a lead at half-time which they would maintain until the final whistle.

After the game, Blackpool boss Ian Holloway said: "They're going to get so much money now from the Premier League. I can't put this into words. I'm bursting with pride."


Championship final, 2012

Blackpool 1-2 West Ham

Ricardo Vaz Te celebrates his winning goal against Blackpool
Ricardo Vaz Te celebrates his winning goal against Blackpool

Two years later, Blackpool were back at Wembley looking to secure an instant return to the Premier League. They face a West Ham team who went down with them the season before, the only side to finish lower than them.

As had been the case in 2010, Blackpool went behind as Carlton Cole put West Ham in front with just over half an hour player.

Tom Ince struck shortly after the break, but Ricardo Vaz Te popped up with the winner in the 87th minute to send Sam Allardyce's side to the top-flight.


Championship final, 2013

Crystal Palace 1-0 Watford (AET)

2013 Championship Play-Off Final - Crystal Palace 1-0 Watford

Kevin Phillips was the hero as he struck in extra-time to send Crystal Palace to the Premier League, the second promotion in three years for Ian Holloway.

The striker found the top corner and came after a clumsy foul by Marco Cassetti on Wilfried Zaha at the edge of the area.

Not only did the penalty provide the drama, but so too did Joel Ward as he headed Fernando Forestieri's effort off the line in the dying moments of the game.


Championship final, 2014

Derby 0-1 QPR

2014 Championship Play-Off Final - Derby 0-1 QPR

Substitute Bobby Zamora scored popped up with a goal in the 90th minute to secure the victory and send QPR up to the Premier League.

The striker capitalised on a mistake from Derby defender Richard Keogh to find the top corner from inside the area, that coming after Rob Green had kept the R's in the game with a series of good saves.

To make things even sweeter, Harry Redknapp's side had to play the final half an hour with ten men after Gary O'Neil was shown a red card for bringing down Johnny Russell.


League One final, 2015

Southend 1-1 Wycombe (7-6 pens)

Sky Bet League Two Play-Off Final - Southend 1-1 Wycombe (7-6 pens)

Extra-time was needed after a 0-0 draw over 90 minutes. David Bentley was unlucky to see Joe Jacobson's free-kick deflected off his back and in with 95 minutes played, before Joe Pigott scored in the 122nd minute to force penalties.

Cian Bolger then scored the 15th penalty of the shootout, and Bentley then won it for the Shimpers as he tipped Sam Wood's follow-up penalty onto the post.

Southend had gone from being on the verge of elimination to sheer delight, all in less than ten minutes.


Championship final, 2016

Hull 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday

2016 Championship Play-Off Final - Hull 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday

Hull were looking for a return to the Premier League and they headed to Wembley to take on a Sheffield Wednesday side who had spent big in the hope of securing promotion.

There was just the one goal to shout about, but what a goal it was. Mo Diame picked up the ball around 30 yards out before curling it past a helpless Keiren Westwood.


League One final, 2018

Rotherham 2-1 Shrewsbury

League One Play-Off Final - Rotherham 2-1 Shrewsbury

Millers captain Richard Wood scored a brace to send Rotherham back up to the Championship at the first time of asking.

Rotherham had a golden opportunity to score first but on-loan goalkeeper Dean Henderson denied David Ball from the penalty spot after just eight minutes. Wood then gave the Millers the lead after half an hour before Shrewsbury hit back with a clever free-kick routine around 30 minutes later.

Then, in extra-time, Wood was there again to connect with another set-piece from close range to secure victory.


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Most Read Football

Vincent Kompany will return to Anderlecht1

Kompany to become Anderlecht boss

Vincent Kompany will become the player-manager of Belgian club Anderlecht next season following his departure from Manchester City.

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Pep Guardiola and Raheem Sterling after their FA Cup triumph3

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