WATCH: Top 5 Play-Off Moments!

WATCH: Top 5 Play-Off Moments!

WATCH: Our Top 5 Play-Off Moments!

It’s play off season for few fortunate or unfortunate teams who have made the cut. It’s the worst way to lose but also the best way to win. Four teams from the three Football League divisions battle it out for the final promotion spot. The team who finishes highest plays against the lowest, with the two in the middle battling it over two legs, with the two winners of each tie meeting at Wembley for the final.

We’ve seen some unbelievable moments of pure ecstasy, which in turn means moments of heartbreak for the opposition. Just on Wednesday this week we saw Sheffield Wednesday knocked out of the Championship play-off semi-final on penalties by Huddersfield Town. Fernando Forestieri missing the decisive spot-kick. We’re going to take a look at what we believe are the five greatest ever play-off moments.

Watford v Leicester City 2013

This was an absolute no brainer for us. Arguably the best ever play-off moment in history. The sheer range of emotions that occur in such a short space of time will probably never be witnessed again. So it’s the second leg of the Championship semi-final between the Foxes and the Hornets at Vicarage Road. It’s six minutes into just a four minute stoppage time, the score is 2-2 on aggregate which means extra-time and penalties. However Leicester have a penalty which if scored would send them to Wembley. Anthony Knockaert steps up but Manuel Almunia pulls off a sensational double save and the Watford break is on. Within just twenty seconds of the save, the ball is headed into the path of Troy Deeney who lashes the ball home and fires the Hornets to Wembley. It really has to be seen to be believed.

Derby County v QPR 2014

Warning: if you’re a Derby County fan then scroll past now. The Rams looked destined for a return to the Premier League as they were by far the better side throughout. When the R’s were reduced to ten men on the hour mark after a late challenge on Johnny Russel from Gary O’Neil, it was even more one way traffic. Derby had chance after chance, but just couldn’t break the deadlock. With extra-tine looming, QPR hadn’t even registered a single shot on target. So you all know what happens next. Some sloppy defending from the Rams saw the ball fall to Bobby Zamora who’s 90th minute first time finish sent the R’s to the Premier League. That was their only shot on target all game. Heartbreak for Derby.

Manchester City v Gillingham 1999

These two sides met at the old Wembley in the Second Division play-off Final, which back then was the third tier. The score was goalless up until ten minutes to play when it magically sprung into action. Goals in the 81st and 87th for Gillingham saw them two goals to the good and on their way to the First Division. As the clock ticked to the 90th minute, Kevin Horlock gave Man City a glimmer of hope but surely it was too late? Surely they couldn’t score again. Oh but they did. Five minutes into injury time Paul Dickov equalised with the last kick of the game. City went on to win on penalties and were then promoted to the Premier League the following season. Many see that Dickov goal as the pivotal moment in Man City’s recent history, which laid the foundation for future Premier League titles.

Hull City v Bristol City 2008

This final is remembered due to one man and one man only. A certain 39-year-old grey haired veteran striker. The Tigers and the Robins were battling it out for the third and final place in the Premier League. Shortly before half-time Dean Windass fired in a magnificent 20-yard volley which turned out to be the only goal of the game. This strike sent his hometown club to the top flight of English football for the first time in their history. At the final whistle the substituted Windass charged across the Wembley turf towards the Hull support, collapsing into a sobbing bundle of tears.

Charlton v Sunderland 1998

Now this one isn’t as well known as some of the others with it being in 1998, unless you’re a Charlton or Sunderland fan of course. And it doesn’t come under the same bracket as the Deeney goal ecstasy, but this is in for it’s utter heartbreak. Both teams were battling out it on the First Division play-off Final for the third and final place in what was known as the Premiership back then. It was a thrilling spectacle which saw the sides level at 3-3 in normal time. It headed into extra-time but a goal from each team meant it finished 4-4 and was to be decided from the spot. After 13 straight perfect penalties, up stepped Michael Gray. Born and bred Sunderland lad who was fulfilling his boyhood dream of playing for his home town club. Just take a look what happens, the shoot-out starts at 10:30.

If you think another moment should’ve made it, let us know on twitter at @footyaccums

 

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