1998 Football League Third Division play-off Final

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1998 Football League Third Division play-off final
Old Wembley Stadium (external view).jpg
Event 1997–98 Football League Third Division
Date 22 May 1998
Venue Wembley Stadium, London
Referee M. Fletcher
Attendance 19,486[1]

The 1998 Football League Third Division play-off final was a football match contested by Colchester United and Torquay United on 22 May 1998 at Wembley Stadium to decide the third team to be promoted from Division Three to Division Two for the 1998–99 season.

Under Division Three play-off rules, the final is contested by the two teams which secured an aggregate victory over two-legged semi-finals, with the team that finished seventh in the league table (Barnet) having played fourth place (Colchester United), and sixth place (Scarborough) having played fifth place (Torquay United).

Route to the final[edit]

Pos Club Pld W D L F A GD Pts
4 Colchester United 46 21 11 14 72 60 +12 74
5 Torquay United 46 21 11 14 68 59 0+9 74
6 Scarborough 46 19 15 12 67 58 0+9 72
7 Barnet 46 19 13 14 61 51 +10 70


First leg
10 May 1998
Barnet 1–0 Colchester United
Heald Goal 48'
Devine Red card 82'
Report Branston Yellow cardRed card 82'
Underhill, Barnet
Attendance: 3,858
Referee: E Wolstenholme

10 May 1998
Scarborough 1–3 Torquay United
Rockett Goal 40' Report Jack Goal 22'
Gittens Goal 50'
McFarlane Goal 72'
McCain Stadium, Scarborough
Attendance: 5,246
Referee: M Pierce
Second leg
13 May 1998
Colchester United 3–1 (a.e.t.) Barnet
Gregory Goal 12' (pen.)95'
Greene Goal 65'
Report Goodhind Goal 41'
Howarth Red card 59'
Layer Road, Colchester
Attendance: 5,863
Referee: T Heilbron

Colchester United won 3–2 on aggregate.

13 May 1998
Torquay United 4–1 Scarborough
Jack Goal 6' (7)
McCall Goal 38'
Gibbs Goal 55'
Report Rockett Goal 22'
Williams Yellow cardRed card 28'
Plainmoor, Torquay
Attendance: 5,386
Referee: R Harris

Torquay United won 7–2 on aggregate.


22 May 1998
19:45 BST
Colchester United 1–0 Torquay United
Gregory Goal 22' (pen.) Report
Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 19,486
Referee: Mick Fletcher
GK 1 England Carl Emberson
DF 2 Republic of Ireland Joe Dunne
DF 3 England Simon Betts Booked
DF 4 England Aaron Skelton Substituted off 82'
DF 5 Republic of Ireland David Greene
MF 6 England David Gregory
MF 7 England Richard Wilkins Booked
MF 8 England Paul Buckle
MF 11 England Steve Forbes
FW 9 England Mark Sale Booked
FW 10 England Neil Gregory Substituted off 70'
FW 12 England Tony Lock Substituted in 70'
MF 13 England Karl Duguid Substituted in 82'
MF 14 England Paul Abrahams
England Steve Wignall
GK 1 England Matt Gregg
DF 2 England Andy Gurney
DF 3 England Paul Gibbs Booked
DF 4 England Jamie Robinson
DF 5 England Jon Gittens
DF 6 England Alex Watson
MF 7 England Gary Clayton Booked
MF 8 England Chris Leadbitter Booked
MF 11 England Steve McCall Booked Substituted off 72'
FW 9 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Rodney Jack Booked
FW 10 England Andy McFarlane Substituted off 84'
FW 12 England Tony Bedeau Substituted in 72'
DF 13 England Wayne Thomas Substituted in 84'
MF 14 England Kevin Hill
England Kevin Hodges


  • 90 minutes.
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary.
  • Penalty shootout if scores still level.
  • Maximum of 3 substitutions.


Colchester United won the final by a scoreline of 1–0 to move them out of the bottom division for the first time in 22 years. Colchester made a furious start although Torquay soon rallied, a sublime dance down the right from Rodney Jack, their outstanding St Vincent international, ricocheting out for the first in a series of corners that Torquay were unable to make the most of. Colchester soon realised the threat of the pace of Jack allied to Andy McFarlane's height, and after 19 minutes that combination had the ball in the net, only for McFarlane to be ruled offside. But after 22 minutes, Colchester won a penalty following a handball by Jon Gittens. David Gregory stepped up to put Colchester ahead from the spot, the ball cannoning in off Matt Gregg's right-hand post. Just after the half-hour, Neil Gregory - making history along with David as the first pair of brothers in a play-off final - was handed an open invitation by the Torquay defence to double the score. Unmarked in the penalty area, he skewed his shot just wide. With half-time beckoning, the Gulls defence - all in the Colchester penalty area - had a chance to make amends. Alex Watson's shot rebounded off Jamie Robinson and Gittens, stationed on the far post, could only scoop the ball over the bar. Colchester started the second half the brighter, and Gregg's inexperience soon showed when he inexplicably failed to gather a tame shot from Simon Betts, which slipped under his body and just wide of the post. On the hour, Paul Gibbs brought down David Gregory in the area, but referee Mick Fletcher waved away a strong claim for a penalty. Torquay refused to buckle, Gibbs' 30-yard drive was just turned over by Carl Emberson, who then did well five minutes later to keep out Andy Gurney's low shot. With 12 minutes left Mark Sale might have put the game beyond Torquay, but headed straight at the keeper.[2]


  1. ^ "Colchester United - Match Details". coludata.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  2. ^ Riley, Catherine (23 May 1998). "Gregory's goal lifts Colchester". London: Independent. Retrieved 2012-03-29.