1996 Football League First Division play-off Final

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
1996 Football League First Division play-off final
Old Wembley Stadium (external view).jpg
after extra time
Date 27 May 1996
Venue Wembley Stadium, London
Referee D. Allison (Lancaster)
Attendance 73,573

The 1996 Football League First Division play-off Final was a football match played at Wembley Stadium, London on May 27, 1996 at the end of the 1995–96 season. The match determined the third and final team to gain promotion from First Division to the Premiership, and was contested by Leicester City, who finished fifth during the league season, and Crystal Palace, who finished third. The teams reached the final by defeating Stoke City and Charlton Athletic respectively in the two-legged semi-finals.

It was Leicester's fourth Football League First Division play-off final in five years, having lost to Blackburn Rovers and Swindon Town and beaten local rivals Derby County in three consecutive finals in 1992, 1993 and 1994. Crystal Palace had also been in the play-off final at this level before, also playing Blackburn Rovers, and beating them 4–3 on aggregate in 1989.


After a shaky start from both teams, Crystal Palace took the early advantage, netting after just 14 minutes thanks to a drilled effort from Andy Roberts. The game ebbed and flowed for the remainder of the half, with just the single goal separating the sides at half-time. Leicester came out fighting in the second half, with Steve Walsh seeing an attempt saved off the line just after the break. Their persistence eventually paid off after Marc Edworthy brought down Muzzy Izzet in the area and Garry Parker converted the resulting spot-kick with 15 minutes of regulation time left to play. The game ended 1-1 at 90 minutes and went into extra-time. The biggest talking point of extra-time came with just seconds to go; Martin O'Neill sent on his substitute goalkeeper Željko Kalac, expecting the 6 ft 7in keeper to be a better bet at saving penalties than Kevin Poole. Immediately following the resumption of play, a long free-kick was only partially cleared by the Crystal Palace defence and the ball came back out to an unmarked Steve Claridge on the edge of the Palace box. Claridge then shinned home the winner from 20 yards past the hapless Nigel Martyn with just 2 seconds[citation needed] of extra-time left to play. Some Crystal Palace players later admitted they were put off by the substitution, though O'Neill admitted that was never the intention.[1]

Match details[edit]

27 May 1996
15:00 BST
Leicester City 2–1 (a.e.t.) Crystal Palace
Parker Goal 76' (pen.)
Claridge Goal 120'
Report Roberts Goal 14'
Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 73,573
Referee: David Allison (Lancaster)
Leicester City
Crystal Palace
GK 1 England Kevin Poole Substituted off 119'
RB 2 England Simon Grayson
CB 4 England Julian Watts
CB 5 England Steve Walsh (c) Substituted off
LB 3 England Mike Whitlow
RM 10 England Garry Parker
CM 6 Turkey Muzzy Izzet
CM 7 Northern Ireland Neil Lennon
LM 8 England Scott Taylor Substituted off
CF 11 England Emile Heskey
CF 9 England Steve Claridge
FW 12 England Mark Robins Substituted in
GK 13 Australia Zeljko Kalac Substituted in 119'
DF 14 Northern Ireland Colin Hill Substituted in
Northern Ireland Martin O'Neill
GK 1 England Nigel Martyn
RWB 7 England Darren Pitcher
CB 2 England Marc Edworthy
CB 3 England Kenny Brown
CB 10 England Dave Tuttle (c) Substituted off
LWB 5 Republic of Ireland Rob Quinn
CM 6 Scotland David Hopkin Substituted off
CM 4 England Andy Roberts
CM 8 Republic of Ireland Ray Houghton
CF 9 Scotland Dougie Freedman Substituted off
CF 11 England George Ndah
MF 12 Australia Carl Veart Substituted in
MF 13 England Simon Rodger Substituted in
FW 14 England Bruce Dyer Substituted in
England Dave Bassett


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

Road to Wembley[edit]

Leicester City[edit]

First Leg Leicester City 0–0 Stoke City
Second Leg Stoke City 0–1 Leicester City

Crystal Palace[edit]

First Leg Charlton Athletic 1–2 Crystal Palace
Second Leg Crystal Palace 1–0 Charlton Athletic