The Greatest EFL Play-Off Finals Staged At The New Wembley Since 2007

Ahead of the 2022-23 play-off finals, we reminisce over some of the great matches that have come before
13:00, 23 May 2023

The EFL play-offs are quite possibly the greatest thing ever invented in football. As we were left with our jaws on the floor at Sheffield Wednesday’s monumental comeback from 4-0 down to beat Peterborough United on penalties, it left us wanting more. Luckily for us, the play-off finals come to our screens this weekend from Wembley Stadium.

The home of English football has staged some brilliant contests since its reopening in 2007 and we have picked out the ones which we feel have been the standouts across the three divisions during that time.


Blackpool 3-2 Cardiff City - 2010

This game was play-off drama at its finest, with all five goals scored in the first half. Blackpool had to twice come from behind to seal promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history. With Blackpool 1-0 down, Charlie Adam pulled the Tangerines level with a stunning free-kick, which is still one of the best we’ve seen at the new Wembley over the years.

Adam may have scored the best goal of the game but it was his teammate, Brett Ormerod, who was Blackpool’s hero. The attacker was perfectly positioned when the ball rolled to him on the left side of the box and he made no mistake in scoring the all-important goal to send Blackpool to the top flight. His goal came nine years after he scored in their League Two play-off final win. Poetic.


Swansea City 4-2 Reading - 2011

A year after Blackpool’s triumph we were treated to another cracker at Wembley. This was a historic afternoon under the famous arch as Swansea, led by Brendan Rodgers, became the first Welsh club to reach the Premier League. The Swans took a 3-0 lead, before Reading pulled two goals back early in the second half to test the nerves of Rodgers' men and the travelling Jack Army. Those nerves were calmed in the 80th minute when a young Scott Sinclair completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot to get the job done for the Swans.

League One

Millwall 2-3 Scunthorpe United - 2009

With Scunthorpe United heading to the National League North next season, fans will be wondering what has happened to them in the last 14 years since they were promoted to the Championship in 2009. 

Nigel Adkins was in charge of the Iron for this memorable fixture in which his side came from 2-1 down to win 3-2 late on. Matt Sparrow gave Scunthorpe the perfect start with a goal in the opening 10 minutes. Kenny Jackett’s Millwall were able to respond later in the half with two quickfire goals from Gary Alexander. With time running out, Sparrow doubled his tally with an equaliser, powering home from 20 yards to give his side hope.

This rallied his team for the closing stages of the game. With five minutes left of normal time and with Scunthorpe in need of a hero, Martyn Woolford’s left-footed strike hit the back of the net to send the claret and blue half of Wembley wild.


Rotherham United 2-2 Leyton Orient (Rotherham won 4-3 on penalties) - 2014

This one served us over two hours of entertainment with four goals and a penalty shootout to settle it as Rotherham sealed a second consecutive promotion to reach the second tier for the first time in 10 years. Moses Odubajo kicked things off with a sublime volley for Orient, and minutes later Dean Cox doubled their lead, leaving the Millers a huge task for the second half. Rotherham were able to rally in the second half thanks to an Alex Revell brace, including a phenomenal half volley that rose high before dipping over the goalkeeper in what felt like the blink of an eye. This forced the game to extra-time and eventually penalties. Rotherham completed the incredible comeback thanks to goalkeeper Adam Collins pulling off a smart save to deny Chris Dagnall’s spot-kick and seal promotion.

League Two

Dagenham & Redbridge 3-2 Rotherham United - 2010

Thirteen years ago, current National League side Dagenham & Redbridge struck a dagger into the hearts of Rotherham fans, who were hoping for a return to the third tier after three years away. The best possible way to describe this match is as an insane tennis rally. As soon as one team scored, the other would have a reply.

Paul Benson put the Daggers ahead and the celebrations were cut short within a minute as Ryan Taylor pulled the Millers level. Dan Green restored Dagenham’s lead just before the hour mark, but once again Rotherham showed they weren’t going out without a fight. Taylor brought the tie level again with his second of the game. Nine minutes later, Dagenham took the lead for the third and decisive time. Rotherham failed to clear a corner and the ball fell kindly to Jon Nurse, whose deflected shot rustled the back of net and sealed promotion for John Still’s side.

Coventry City 3-1 Exeter City - 2018

Coventry City’s recent story is nothing short of epic. The Sky Blues are hoping for a happy memory on Saturday as they take on Luton Town in the Championship play-off final, capping a spell in which Mark Robins has worked wonders in his second stint. And this play-off final from 2018 was the start of their incredible rise.

The script was written for the Sky Blues that day as they sailed into a 3-0 lead against Exeter with all their goals coming in the second half. Jordan Willis got the show up and running with a delightful curling effort from outside the box. Jack Grimmer wrapped up the game with just over 20 minutes to go. Exeter were able to grab a late consolation goal through Kyle Edwards, but Coventry were just too good for them on the day. Looking at their progress over the past five years, with many hurdles thrown in their path, Coventry continue to defy the odds and make miracles happen - is another one on the horizon this weekend?

Betfred's Play-Off markets*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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