2011 Football League Championship play-off Final

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2011 Football League Championship play-off final
Swansea City AFC Championship Play Off Winners 2011.jpg
Event 2010–11 Football League Championship
Date 30 May 2011
Venue Wembley Stadium, London
Man of the Match Scott Sinclair (Swansea)
Referee Phil Dowd
Attendance 86,581
Weather Light rain

The 2011 Football League Championship play-off final was a football match contested by Reading and Swansea City on 30 May 2011 at Wembley Stadium to decide the third team to be promoted from the Championship to the Premier League for the 2011–12 season.[1]

Under Championship 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 sixth in the league table (Nottingham Forest) having played third (Swansea City), and fifth (Reading) having played fourth (Cardiff City).

Swansea City won the final by a scoreline of 4–2. The Welsh side went into half-time 3–0 up thanks to two goals from Scott Sinclair and a third from Stephen Dobbie. Reading came close to bringing the score level in the early stages of the second-half through a Joe Allen own goal and a headed goal from Matt Mills. Swansea however, secured victory in the 80th minute with their second penalty kick of the game, converted by Sinclair for his second career hat-trick.[2]

Venue controversy[edit]

Due to the UEFA Champions League 2011 final being held at Wembley Stadium on 28 May 2011, it appeared that the three Football League play-off finals may have to be played at a different venue for the first time since 2007 due to the double-booking of Wembley.

Manchester United's Old Trafford had been confirmed as a possible alternative, while Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff were also said to be under consideration to host the Championship, League One and League Two play-off finals.[3]

It was later confirmed that Wembley would host the Championship play-off final on 30 May, while Old Trafford would host the League Two and League One finals on 28 and 29 May respectively.[4]

Route to the final[edit]

The two-legged semi-finals determined that the final would be contested by Reading and Swansea City.

First legs[edit]

13 May 2011
19:45 BST
Reading 0–0 Cardiff City
Madejski Stadium, Reading
Attendance: 21,485
Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)

Second legs[edit]

16 May 2011
19:45 BST
Swansea City 3–1 Nottingham Forest
Britton Goal 28'
Dobbie Goal 33'
Pratley Goal 90+3'
Report Earnshaw Goal 80'
Liberty Stadium, Swansea
Attendance: 19,816
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)

Swansea City won 3–1 on aggregate.

17 May 2011
19:45 BST
Cardiff City 0–3 Reading
Report Long Goal 28'45' (pen.)
McAnuff Goal 84'

Reading won 3–0 on aggregate.

Match overview[edit]


Accountancy firm Deloitte calculated that the Championship play-off final would again be worth about £90,000,000 to the winner, including over £40,000,000 of higher broadcast income, gate receipts and commercial income in the 2011-12 Premier League.

A win would also see Reading return to the Premier League after a three-year absence. Swansea City last played in England's top-flight in 1983, but a victory would make them the first Welsh team to enter the contemporary 'Premier League' since its establishment in 1992.[5]


A hat-trick which included two penalty kicks from Scott Sinclair helped Swansea City secure promotion to the Premier League for the first time since 1983. Two goals in two first-half minutes for Sinclair, the first a penalty, and a third from Stephen Dobbie saw the Welsh side go into the dressing room at half-time with a seemingly comfortable 3–0 advantage.[6]

Television reports suggested that in the tunnel at half-time, Reading's assistant manager Nigel Gibbs and unused substitute Jay Tabb were both sent off by referee Phil Dowd.

Reading struck back early in the second half, however, through a Noel Hunt header which deflected in off Joe Allen for an own goal and a headed goal by Matt Mills to pull the score back to 3–2. Reading came close to an equaliser when Jem Karacan's shot was deflected onto the post, but Sinclair sealed it for the Swans with an 80th-minute penalty, and in doing so completing his second career hat-trick.[7]


30 May 2011
15:00 BST
Reading 2–4 Swansea City
Allen Goal 49' (o.g.)
Mills Goal 57'
Report Sinclair Goal 21' (pen.)22'80' (pen.)
Dobbie Goal 40'
Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 86,581
Referee: Phil Dowd[8]
Swansea City
GK 1 Adam Federici
RB 2 Andy Griffin YC 8' Substituted off 84'
CB 5 Matt Mills (c)
CB 15 Zurab Khizanishvili YC 12'
LB 23 Ian Harte
CM 4 Jem Karacan
CM 8 Mikele Leigertwood
RW 14 Jimmy Kébé
LW 11 Jobi McAnuff YC 39'
CF 9 Shane Long
CF 10 Noel Hunt Substituted off 76'
GK 41 Alex McCarthy
DF 24 Shaun Cummings
DF 26 Alex Pearce
MF 7 Jay Tabb Red card
MF 19 Hal Robson-Kanu Substituted in 84'
MF 20 Brian Howard
FW 18 Simon Church Substituted in 76'
Brian McDermott
GK 1 Dorus de Vries
RB 22 Àngel Rangel
CB 16 Garry Monk (c)
CB 2 Ashley Williams
LB 5 Alan Tate
CM 37 Leon Britton Substituted off 77'
CM 24 Joe Allen YC 54' Substituted off 89'
RW 12 Nathan Dyer
AM 14 Stephen Dobbie Substituted off 55'
LW 21 Scott Sinclair
CF 15 Fabio Borini YC 12'
GK 25 Yves Makabu-Makalambay
DF 17 Albert Serrán
MF 8 Darren Pratley Substituted in 55'
MF 27 Mark Gower YC 82' Substituted in 77'
MF 29 Ashley Richards
FW 9 Craig Beattie
FW 19 Luke Moore Substituted in 89'
Brendan Rodgers


  • Assistant referees:
    • Scott Ledger
    • Simon Long
  • Fourth official: Lee Mason
  • Reserve referee: Andrew Halliday


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


Reading Swansea
Total shots 19 6
Shots on target 11 4
Ball possession 47% 53%
Corner kicks 16 1
Fouls committed 18 4
Offsides 3 0
Yellow cards 3 3
Red cards 1 0

Source: BBC Sport[7]


  1. ^ The Football League | Match | Key Dates | Key dates Archived 14 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "Reading 2 – 4 Swansea". ESPN Soccernet. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011. 
  3. ^ Ogden, Mark (16 April 2010). "Old Trafford considered as venue for 2010–11 Football League play-off finals". Telegraph. London. 
  4. ^ "2011 Football League Play-off Final and Semi-final Dates". London Events 2011. 
  5. ^ "Championship play-off final win 'worth £90m'". BBC News. 29 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "Congratulations Stephen Dobbie" 30 May 2001 www.qosfc.com
  7. ^ a b Fletcher, Paul (30 May 2011). "Reading 2–4 Swansea". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  8. ^ "Match Official Appointments". Football League.