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Four of the best Football League Play-off matches of All Time

| 04.06.2020

We could have given you a list on par with the yellow pages when discussing great play-off matches down the years.

Notable mentions have got to go to Blackpool’s 3-2 victory over Cardiff City in 2010 or even last season’s ‘spygate’ rivalry between Derby County and Leeds United in the Championship semi-final.

But we had to settle on four of the best that really sum up what the play-offs are all about -High class and even higher drama!

1998: Charlton 4-4 Sunderland (aet) (Championship final) – Charlton won 7-6 on pens

This list may as well be null and void if we didn’t include the ‘Clive Mendonca final’.

The reality was that Sunderland led the game three times, including in extra-time when Nicky Summerbee thought he’d won it for the Wearsiders.

But this final goes down in history thanks to Mendonca’s 103rd minute equaliser that saw him become the first player to score a play-off hat-trick.

The Addicks then won it on penalties. Have some of that!

1999: Gillingham 2-2 Manchester City (League One final) – Manchester City win 3-1 on penalties

Only a year later and the play-offs produced more Wembley drama. This time in the old Second Division final in 1999.

Manchester City were two nil down with minutes to spare, before Kevin Horlock (90th) and Paul Dickov (95th) struck to take it to extra-time and penalties.

The latter missed his spot-kick, but it was ‘keeper Nicky Weaver producing the heroics this time with three saved penalties.

Oh, where would Man City be without Dickov? Would the Sheikhs have rocked up at Priestfields? Not worth thinking about Gills fans…

2013: Watford 3-1 Leicester City (Championship semi-final) –  Watford won 3-2 on aggregate

When you talk about top class sporting entertainment then hop onto YouTube (after this) and watch all the drama unfold.

This is when Troy Deeney wrote himself into the Watford history books. With the tie locked at two-apiece, Leicester earn a stoppage-time penalty.

Anthony Knockaert sees his kick and rebound saved by Manuel Almunia before the Hornets produce a sting in the tail. Fernando Forestieri tears up the wing before Jonathan Hogg nods back across goal…Deeney did the rest and Vicarage Road was bouncing!

2015: Swindon Town 5-5 Sheffield United (League One semi-final) – Swindon won 7-6 on away goals

Did someone order a plate of goals? No holds barred, all out attack was the order of the day.

Swindon Town went into the second leg at home 2-1 up and raced into a 3-0 lead inside 20 minutes.

But with the aggregate score-line a seemingly insurmountable 5-1 margin. But the Blades pulled two goals back by the break to give them a glimmer of hope.

Swindon’s Michael Smith looked to have put the game to bed. But in a topsy turvy match Sheffield United drew the level with two goals in two minutes to make it 5-5 on the night.

The hosts had to see out nine minutes of added time. It’s still to this day the highest scoring single play-off match ever.

So that’s that then four of the most remarkable games the play-offs have ever seen. But which one gets the nod for you?

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Author

Charlie Dear

Charlie has covered sport for the likes of The Guardian, Football365 and FourFourTwo. Arsenal sufferer. German football enthusiast.