Football League Two play-offs

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The Football League Two play-offs are a series of play-off matches, contested by the teams finishing from 4th to 7th in the Football League Two table to determine the fourth promotion place to the third tier of English football, League One. The semi-finals are played over two legs, with 7th playing 4th and 6th playing 5th, with the return fixtures following. The final is played at Wembley Stadium, although from 2001 to 2006 the final was played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff while Wembley was being rebuilt. Due to a clash with the Champions League final, the 2011 play-off final was again in a new location, this time at Old Trafford.

The first ever play-off final was contested in 1987 between Aldershot and Wolverhampton Wanderers, with Aldershot ending up as winners over two legs. The last team to win the League Two play-offs was Fleetwood Town defeating Burton Albion 1-0 at Wembley

Format[edit]

Name changes
1987–1992 Football League Fourth Division Play-offs
1993–2004 Football League Third Division Play-offs
2005–0000 Football League Two Play-offs

Aside from the branding changes which affected English football in 1992 and 2004, the League Two Play–offs have also changed in format.

When they were introduced for the 1986–87 season, the play-offs originally featured a third-tier club as well as the three fourth-tier clubs. The first winners were Aldershot, who won promotion in impressive style by beating their illustrious opponents Bolton Wanderers in the semi-finals (condemning the four-times FA Cup winners to relegation) and then defeated a Wolverhampton Wanderers side with nine major trophies to their name in the two-legged final. A year later, Swansea City won promotion at the expense of Rotherham United.

The format was then but discontinued afterwards to include only the four teams who finished behind the team or teams winning automatic promotion. As before, the semi-final and final were both two-legged, and this time were won by a Leyton Orient side who memorably climbed into the top seven of the Fourth Division after being in the bottom half of the table with two months of the league season remaining.

Since the 1989–90 season, the final has been a single game, contested between the winners of the semi-finals (which remain two-legged), held at either Wembley Stadium or the Millennium Stadium. The first winners of the final in this format were Cambridge United, whose victory marked the beginning of an excellent three-season run for the East Anglian club, being followed by the Third Division title a year later and then a playoff appearance in the Second Division in 1992, where a semi-final defeat ended their hopes of playing in the new FA Premier League and becoming the first Football League team to win three consecutive promotions.

Past winners[edit]

Year Winners Finalists Semi-finalists
1987 Aldershot Wolverhampton Wanderers Bolton Wanderers, Colchester United
1988 Swansea City Torquay United Rotherham United, Scunthorpe United
1989 Leyton Orient Wrexham Scunthorpe United, Scarborough
1990 Cambridge United Chesterfield Maidstone United, Stockport County
1991 Torquay United Blackpool Burnley, Scunthorpe United
1992 Blackpool Scunthorpe United Crewe Alexandra, Barnet
1993 York City Crewe Alexandra Walsall, Bury
1994 Wycombe Wanderers Preston North End Torquay United, Carlisle United
1995 Chesterfield Bury Mansfield Town, Preston North End
1996 Plymouth Argyle Darlington Hereford United, Colchester United
1997 Northampton Town Swansea City Chester City, Cardiff City
1998 Colchester United Torquay United Scarborough, Barnet
1999 Scunthorpe United Leyton Orient Rotherham United, Swansea City
2000 Peterborough United Darlington Barnet, Hartlepool United
2001 Blackpool Leyton Orient Hartlepool United, Hull City
2002 Cheltenham Town Rushden & Diamonds Rochdale, Hartlepool United
2003 Bournemouth Lincoln City Scunthorpe United, Bury
2004 Huddersfield Town Mansfield Town Northampton Town, Lincoln City
2005 Southend United Lincoln City Macclesfield Town, Northampton Town
2006 Cheltenham Town Grimsby Town Wycombe Wanderers, Lincoln City
2007 Bristol Rovers Shrewsbury Town Milton Keynes Dons, Lincoln City
2008 Stockport County Rochdale Darlington, Wycombe Wanderers
2009 Gillingham Shrewsbury Town Bury, Rochdale
2010 Dagenham & Redbridge Rotherham United Morecambe, Aldershot Town
2011 Stevenage Torquay United Shrewsbury Town, Accrington Stanley
2012 Crewe Alexandra Cheltenham Town Southend United, Torquay United
2013 Bradford City Northampton Town Burton Albion, Cheltenham Town
2014 Fleetwood Town Burton Albion Southend United, York City

Records[edit]

Note: These are only for play-offs at League Two level, for overall records in the Football League play-offs see here.

References[edit]