livescore logo

Ecstasy and heartbreak: Five classic play-off final moments
Copy icon

Adam Drury

Play-off final weekend is always one of the most memorable on the domestic football calendar.

Matches in which dreams are realised, ambitions fulfilled and careers made, the Championship, League One and League Two showpieces will also bring heartache and regret.

Ahead of the trio of showdowns, we remember five classic moments from the many nail-biting matches.

Mendonca's hat-trick (1998)

A remarkable 4-4 draw between Charlton and Sunderland was capped by the first ever Wembley play-off final hat-trick.

Clive Mendonca scored the first, fourth and eighth goals of the incredible battle between the Addicks and the Black Cats in the 1998 Division One final, the last of those an extra-time equaliser that set up a penalty shootout.

The forward's touch and volley from a looped cross defied the fatigue he must have been feeling after 103 minutes of football and paved the way for his side to ultimately win promotion.

Dickov's delight (1999)

Manchester City won a memorable play-off final against Gillingham in 1999
Manchester City won a memorable play-off final against Gillingham in 1999

When the 1999 Division Two play-off final was still 0-0 after 80 minutes, it seemed unlikely it would go on to be considered one of the most dramatic matches in Football League history.

But inside the next 15 minutes, Gillingham would take a 2-0 lead against Manchester City, and then blow it, to leave their promotion hopes in tatters.

Paul Dickov stole the headlines, smashing home a 95th-minute equaliser that remains one of the most euphoric moments in City's history, including what they have since achieved.

The despondent Gills would lose on spot-kicks and must wish the game had petered out into a 0-0 draw all along.

Hometown hero (2008)

Dean Windass fired his boyhood team Hull to promotion to the Premier League in 2008, 17 years after he had first made his debut for the club.

The goal itself was scored in true Roy of the Rovers fashion, too, as Windass thumped home a stunning volley from the edge of the area to down Bristol City at Wembley.

The forward offered his man-of-the-match award to the Tigers' assistant manager Brian Horton, who had released him from the club in 1995, saying: "He told me all those years ago to prove him wrong. That goal's enough for me."

Set-piece sorcery (2010)

Charlie Adam was Blackpool's talisman as they were promoted to the Premier League
Charlie Adam was Blackpool's talisman as they were promoted to the Premier League

Charlie Adam was the poster boy for Blackpool's unlikely 2009-10 promotion bid and produced the goods in the play-off final in trademark style.

The Tangerines had gone behind early to Cardiff at Wembley but soon won a free-kick 25 yards out from goal.

The Scottish international whipped it into the top corner, the iconic moment of a brilliant final Ian Holloway's team would go on to win 3-2.

Zamora drama (2014)

Perhaps the most brutal moment on this list, Bobby Zamora's winner for QPR in the 2014 Championship play-off final denied Derby a promotion that was all but theirs.

Gary O'Neil had been sent off early in the second half for Rangers, who were second-best throughout the 90 minutes against Steve McClaren's effervescent Rams.

But Harry Redknapp's team, featuring Richard Dunne, Joey Barton and Niko Kranjcar, kept their cool and Zamora was on hand to capitalise on a Richard Keogh error to steal promotion.


ChampionshipLeague OneLeague TwoCharltonManchester CityHullBlackpoolQueens Park Rangers
LiveScore logo

LiveScore: Live Sport Updates

Footbal Scores & Sports News