1997 Football League Third Division play-off Final

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1997 Football League Third Division play-off Final
Old Wembley Stadium (external view).jpg
Date 24 May 1997
Venue Wembley Stadium, London
Referee Terry Heilbron (Durham)
Attendance 46,804

The 1997 Football League Third Division play-off Final was a football match played at Wembley Stadium on 24 May 1997, to determine the fourth and final team to gain promotion from the Third Division to the Second Division of The Football League in the 1996–97 season. It was contested by Northampton Town, who had finished fourth during the league season, and Swansea City, who had finished fifth. The teams reached the final by defeating Cardiff City and Chester City respectively in the two-legged semi-finals.

With the game heading for extra time, John Frain stepped up to score a retaken free kick past the Swansea City goalkeeper Roger Freestone in the third minute of stoppage time.[1]

Route to the final[edit]

Northampton Town finished the season in fourth place in the Third Division table with 72 points, fourteen points short of the automatic promotion places.[2] In the play-off semi-final they faced seventh placed Cardiff City, with the first leg away at Ninian Park on 11 May 1997 finishing 1–0 to Northampton.[3] In the second match at Sixfields Stadium three days later, John Gayle scored the winning goal as Northampton won 3–2 to reach the final.[4]

Swansea City finished the season in fifth place; one place and one point behind Northampton.[2] Swansea faced sixth placed Chester City in the play-off semi-final, who they played away from home at the Deva Stadium in the first leg, and drew 0–0.[5] Their progression to the final was confirmed with a 3–0 victory at the Vetch Field, which ended the tie with an aggregate score of 3–0.[6]



24 May 1997
15:00 BST
Northampton Town 1–0 Swansea City
Frain Goal 90' Report
Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 46,804
Referee: Terry Heilbron
Northampton Town
Swansea City
GK 1 Andy Woodman
DF 2 Ian Clarkson
DF 5 Ray Warburton
DF 4 Ian Sampson
DF 3 John Frain
MF 6 David Rennie Substituted off 40'
MF 7 Sean Parrish
MF 11 Roy Hunter
FW 9 John Gayle Substituted off 76'
FW 8 Neil Grayson
FW 10 Christian Lee
MF 27 Dean Peer Substituted in 40'
MF 14 Ali Gibb
FW 12 Jason White Substituted in 76'
Ian Atkins
GK 1 Roger Freestone
DF 8 Dave Penney
DF 5 Christian Edwards
DF 4 Keith Walker
DF 3 Joao Moreira
MF 6 Kwame Ampadu
MF 10 Jan Mølby
MF 11 Jonathan Coates
FW 9 Steve Torpey
FW 7 Carl Heggs
FW 2 Dai Thomas Substituted off 83'
FW 12 Linton Brown Substituted in 83'
MF 15 Shaun Chapple
DF 14 Ryan Casey
Jan Mølby

Match rules:

  • 90 minutes.
  • 30 minutes of extra time if necessary.
  • Penalty shoot-out if scores still level.
  • Three named substitutes.
  • Maximum of three substitutions.


  1. ^ Fox, Norman. "Swansea run over by Frain". The Independent. London. 25 May 1997. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Final 1996/1997 Football League Two Table". Soccerbase. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  3. ^ "Cardiff 0–1 Northampton". Soccerbase. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  4. ^ "Northampton 3–2 Cardiff". Soccerbase. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "Chester 0–0 Swansea". Soccerbase. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  6. ^ "Swansea 3–0 Chester". Soccerbase. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 

External links[edit]