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Highest-Scoring EFL Play-off Finals

Highest-Scoring EFL

Highest-Scoring EFL Play-off Finals

The 2004/05 season was the first of the newly rebranded English Football League, with each division being newly named as the following: Championship (Division One), League One (Division Two) and League Two (Division Three).

Since then, there have been plenty of memories created by each club that has participated, however, in this article, we will be taking a look at the highest-scoring English Football League play-off finals since the start of the 2004/05 campaign.

Stockport County 3-2 Rochdale - 2008

In the 2007/08 season, local rivals Stockport County and Rochdale met at Wembley in the League Two play-off final, with little to separate these two sides, having finished fourth and fifth in League Two that campaign, with County finishing two points better off on 82.

When they both met at Wembley Stadium on 26th May 2008, it would be Stockport that would edge the contest by a 3-2 scoreline, as despite falling behind to a Rory McArdle goal in the 24th minute, the Edgely Park outfit took a 3-1 lead thanks to an own goal by Nathan Stanton as well as goals from Anthony Pilkington and Liam Dickinson before Adam Rundle’s 77th-minute consolation goal for the Dale.

Millwall 2-3 Scunthorpe United - 2009

On 24th May 2009, Scunthorpe United had one of the best days out in their recent history, as they earned promotion to the Championship in dramatic style.

This was a battle between fifth and sixth place in the League One standings, with the Lions finishing on 82 points that campaign, six ahead of United.

In the final itself, Nigel Adkins’ side took a sixth-minute lead through a Matt Sparrow goal, however, a stunning brace from Gary Alexander just before half time gave Millwall a 2-1 advantage. But, Sparrow was to be the hero once again, equalising in the 70th minute for Scunny, before a left-footed strike from Martyn Woolford sent fans of the Iron into delirium in the 85th minute to send the Glanford Park club into the second-tier of English football.

Dagenham & Redbridge 3-2 Rotherham United - 2010

The second League Two play-off final to make this list comes from the 2009/10 season, as Dagenham & Redbridge took on Rotherham United at Wembley Stadium on 30th May 2010.

In terms of league context, this was a meeting of seventh and fifth, with the Millers finishing on 73 points, one better off than their opponents.

On-field, the match was fought as closely as their league table finishes, as the Daggers’ first two goals from Paul Benson and Danny Green were pegged back immediately by strikes from Ryan Taylor within five minutes of each goal.

However, in the 70th minute, Dagenham midfielder Jon Nurse took a shot from a poorly cleared corner which deflected off Kevin Ellison and past a stranded Andy Warrington in the Rotherham goal to put John Still’s side back in front and on their way to a historic promotion.

Blackpool 3-2 Cardiff City - 2010

2010 was evidently a great year for high-scoring play-off finals, as Blackpool and Cardiff City faced off at Wembley Stadium in another action-packed match.

Ian Holloway’s men finished sixth in the Championship standings against all odds, while Cardiff ended up in fourth place, six points better off than their opponents. Memorably, in the play-off semi-finals, the Tangerines had already seen off the favourites in Nottingham Forest 6-4 on aggregate, while the Bluebirds beat Leicester City on penalties after a 3-3 draw.

Interestingly, all five goals in this play-off final came in the first half of the match, with Cardiff taking the lead twice, through goals by Michael Chopra and Joe Ledley, while Blackpool hit back with a stunning Charlie Adam free kick and a Gary Taylor-Fletcher strikee. In fitting fashion, legendary Seasiders forward Brett Ormerod scored the winning goal in first-half stoppage time.

Hartlepool United 2-4 Sheffield Wednesday - 2005

In League One’s first-ever play-off match since its rebrand from Division Two, Hartlepool and Sheffield Wednesday play out an all-time classic at the Millenium Stadium.

During that campaign, the Owls managed to finish in fifth place on 72 points, one ahead of Hartlepool who had overachieved to make it there under manager Martin Scott.

The play-off final itself was decided in extra time, with Jon-Paul McGovern’s 45th-minute opener for Wednesday being cancelled out by an Eifion Williams goal just after half time, before Jon Daly’s 71st-minute goal for the Pools looked like potentially being the winner until Chris Westwood was sent off in the 81st minute after conceding a penalty, of which Steven MacLean converted the resulting spot kick.

In extra time, the Owls ran out as 4-2 winners, making their man advantage pay as Glenn Whelan and Drew Talbot ultimately scored the goals that sealed their side's promotion back to the Championship.

Reading 2-4 Swansea City - 2011

The final game on this list comes from the 2011 Championship play-off final which has hotly contested by Reading and Swansea City.

This match was a six-goal thriller, of which Swansea emerged victorious under the management of Brendan Rodgers, becoming the first-ever Welsh side to reach the Premier League itself.

Swansea raced into a 3-0 lead during the match, as a Scott Sinclair brace and Stephen Dobbie goal put them firmly in control at half time. However, a Joe Allen own goal and Matthew Mills header brought the scoreline back to 3-2 with just over an hour to go. But, Sinclair managed to complete his hat-trick from the penalty spot in the 80th minute to confirm the Swans' place in the top-flight.