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1999 Football League Second Division play-off Final

The 1999 Football League Second Division play-off Final was a football match played at Wembley Stadium on 30 May 1999, to determine the third and final team to gain promotion from the Second Division to the First Division of the Football League in the 1998–99 season. Gillingham faced Manchester City.

1999 Football League Second Division play-off Final
Event1998–99 Football League Second Division
Manchester City won 3–1 on penalties
Date30 May 1999
VenueWembley Stadium, London
Man of the MatchVince Bartram (Gillingham)[1]
RefereeMark Halsey (Lancashire)


Route to the finalEdit

Football League Second Division final table, leading positions
Pos Team P W D L F A Pts
1. Fulham 46 31 8 7 79 32 101
2. Walsall 46 26 9 11 63 47 87
3. Manchester City 46 22 16 8 69 33 82
4. Gillingham 46 22 14 10 75 44 80
Pos=Position P=Games played W=Wins D=Draws
L=Defeats F=Goals for A=Goals against Pts=Points

The match was Gillingham's first ever appearance at the Wembley Stadium.[2] Manchester City, by comparison, had played there on eleven previous occasions in FA Cup and League Cup finals.[3] The teams reached the final by defeating Preston North End and Wigan Athletic respectively in the semi-finals.

Manchester City Gillingham
Opponent Result Legs Round Opponent Result Legs
Wigan Athletic 2–1 1–1 away; 1–0 home Semi-finals Preston North End 2–1 1–1 away; 1–0 home



The match was scoreless until the 81st minute, when Carl Asaba gave Gillingham the lead. Robert Taylor added a second five minutes later. With only a few minutes of normal time left, and two goals behind in the game, many City fans considered the game had been lost and began to make their way to the exits. However, Kevin Horlock scored for City to halve the deficit in the 90th minute and, in the fifth minute of added time, Paul Dickov scored an equaliser to send the game into extra time. With no further goals being scored, the match was decided by a penalty shoot-out, which City won to gain promotion.[4]

Given the match's importance as a final to determine league promotion and the highly unlikely turnaround in the final minutes, the game has been regarded as one of the most exciting in English football history[5] and highlights of the game have been repeatedly shown on television. Manchester City fans and other commentators also regard the game as a crucial first step in the club's revival from the third tier of English football to its current status as yearly contenders for the Premier League championship.[6] Gillingham, under new manager Peter Taylor, returned to the play-offs the following year and this time won in extra-time against Wigan. Dickov's goal (after six minutes and nine seconds of injury time) remains the latest goal ever scored prior to the final whistle in a match at the old Wembley Stadium.[citation needed] In a strange coincidence, the Gillingham keeper he scored past, Vince Bartram, had also been the best man at Dickov's wedding.[7] Prior to City's first goal, Bartram had been awarded the man of the match award for making several important saves. Manchester City keeper Nicky Weaver saved two Gillingham penalties and, following his save from Guy Butters which sealed the victory, celebrated wildly with his teammates.


Manchester City2–2 (a.e.t.)Gillingham
Horlock   90'
Dickov   90+5'
Report Asaba   81'
Taylor   87'
3–1   Smith
Attendance: 76,935
Manchester City
GK 1 Nicky Weaver
RB 2 Lee Crooks   85'
LB 3 Richard Edghill
CB 4 Gerard Wiekens  
CB 5 Andy Morrison (c)   61'
LM 6 Kevin Horlock
CM 7 Michael Brown   61'
CM 8 Jeff Whitley
CF 9 Paul Dickov
CF 10 Shaun Goater
RM 11 Terry Cooke
FW 12 Gareth Taylor     85'
DF 13 Tony Vaughan   61'
MF 14 Ian Bishop   61'
Joe Royle
GK 1 Vince Bartram
RWB 2 Nicky Southall
CB 3 Barry Ashby
CM 4 Paul Smith
CB 5 Guy Butters
CB 6 Adrian Pennock
LWB 7 Mark Patterson   105'
CM 8 Andy Hessenthaler (c)
CF 9 Carl Asaba   87'
CM 10 Mick Galloway   56'
CF 11 Robert Taylor  
MF 12 John Hodge   105'
MF 13 Mark Saunders   56'
DF 14 Darren Carr     87'
Tony Pulis

Man of the Match:
Vince Bartram (Gillingham)[1]

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.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Parry, Haydn (2000). Never Look Back: The Official Account of The Gills 1999/2000 Promotion Season. Gillingham Football Club plc. p. 14.
  2. ^ Grant, Michael (30 May 1999). "Manchester's Wembley march aims to dispose of City's blues". Sunday Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 11 August 2008 – via FindArticles.
  3. ^ "Manchester City". Football Club History Database. Richard Rundle. Archived from the original on 28 June 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2008.
  4. ^ "Shoot-out success for City". BBC Sport. 30 May 1999. Retrieved 11 August 2008.
  5. ^ "Premier League final day as it happened". BBC Sport. 13 May 2012. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  6. ^ "The Joy of Six: Football League play-off finals". The Guardian. London. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Football: Dickov: May best man win". Sunday Mirror. London. 30 May 1999. Retrieved 30 October 2013 – via