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2012 Football League One play-off Final

The 2012 Football League One play-off Final was a football match contested by Sheffield United[3] and Huddersfield Town. The match was played on 26 May 2012 at Wembley Stadium to decide the third team to be promoted from League One to the Championship for the 2012–13 season.[4]

2012 Football League One play-off Final
2012 Football League One play off final.jpg
Event2011–12 Football League One
Huddersfield won 8–7 on penalties
Date26 May 2012
VenueWembley Stadium, London
Man of the MatchPeter Clarke (Huddersfield)
RefereeRoger East[1]
WeatherSunny and warm

Under League One play-off rules, the final is contested by the two teams which secured an aggregate victory over the two-legged semi-finals contested between the teams finishing between third and sixth in the league table. The match itself ended in a 0–0 draw after extra time, with Huddersfield Town going on to win 8–7 on penalties.


This match was Huddersfield Town's fourth play-off final, their previous three coming in 1995 (a 2–1 win over Bristol Rovers), 2004 (a 4–1 penalty shoot-out win over Mansfield Town) and 2011 (a 3–0 loss to Peterborough United), and completed their eighth Football League play-off campaign. It was their first ever visit to the renovated Wembley Stadium. Manager Simon Grayson had previously achieved promotion success as a manager from the Football League One play-offs with Blackpool in the 2007 final.

Sheffield United had been involved in six previous play-off campaigns in the modern era, but have never won a play-off final despite attempts in 1997, 2003 and 2009.[5]

The previous encounters between the two teams in the 2011–12 Football League One season ended in an away victory in both matches, Huddersfield taking a 3–0 victory away at Bramall Lane with goals from Oscar Gobern and a brace from Lee Novak, and Sheffield United winning 1–0 away at the Galpharm Stadium thanks to a Neill Collins goal.[6]

Route to the finalEdit

The two-legged semi-finals determined the competitors in the final.

First legsEdit

Stevenage0–0Sheffield United
Attendance: 5,802
Referee: Anthony Bates

Milton Keynes Dons0–2Huddersfield Town
Report Rhodes   32'
Hunt   73'
Attendance: 11,898

Second legsEdit

Sheffield United1–0Stevenage
Porter   85' Report
Attendance: 21,182
Referee: Nigel Miller

Sheffield United won 1–0 on aggregate.

Huddersfield Town1–2Milton Keynes Dons
Rhodes   18' Report Powell   39'
Smith   90'
Attendance: 15,085
Referee: Scott Mathieson

Huddersfield Town won 3–2 on aggregate.


Huddersfield's biggest injury doubt was that of goalkeeper Ian Bennett, who injured his hand during the semi-final second leg against Milton Keynes Dons, with Alex Smithies on standby as his replacement. Scott Arfield had recovered from the ankle injury that forced him off in the semi-final first leg and later forced him to miss the home tie.

Sheffield United's Kevin McDonald picked up a hamstring injury in their 1–0 win in the semi-final second leg, and missed the final. Richard Cresswell had recovered from an eye infection that caused him to miss the previous match, and looked set to feature in the final.[7]



The match was a cagey affair, with Huddersfield creating the most chances. In the first minute of the second half, Town winger Danny Ward hit the angle of the crossbar with a right-footed shot. Later, Harry Maguire headed wide from Stephen Quinn's corner, before Town captain Peter Clarke responded, heading Kallum Higginbotham's corner wide.

Blades keeper Steve Simonsen made vital contributions to the team, saving two further headers from Clarke, while Michael Doyle cleared Tommy Miller's follow-up effort off the line to preserve the clean sheet.

In extra time, Clarke came to Huddersfield's rescue in his own penalty area, blocking Stephen Quinn's drive in the 98th minute. Town substitute Alan Lee then failed to score with an angled shot, Simonsen saving in the 109th minute to see the tie through to penalties.

The penalties were taken at the west end of the stadium, in front of the Huddersfield Town fans. Huddersfield were the first team to walk up to the spot, but missed their first three penalties. However, the score was 2–2 after the first five penalties, taking the shoot-out to sudden death. Each team scored their next five penalties, leaving goalkeeper Alex Smithies to be the last of the 11 Huddersfield players to take a penalty. He scored. Sheffield United's last penalty also fell to their goalkeeper Steve Simonsen. Simonsen fired his spot-kick over the bar, securing an 8–7 penalty shoot-out victory for Huddersfield Town in a contest that had all 22 players on the field taking a penalty.[8]


Huddersfield Town
Sheffield United
GK 1 Alex Smithies
DF 32 Jack Hunt
DF 15 Sean Morrison
DF 5 Peter Clarke (c)
DF 2 Calum Woods
MF 27 Kallum Higginbotham   62'   79'
MF 14 Damien Johnson   113'
MF 18 Tommy Miller
MF 11 Danny Ward   98'
FW 17 Jordan Rhodes
FW 21 Lee Novak   116'
GK 25 Nick Colgan
DF 12 Tom Clarke
MF 7 Gary Roberts   79'
MF 16 Scott Arfield   116'
FW 19 Alan Lee   98'
Simon Grayson
GK 1 Steve Simonsen
DF 2 Matthew Lowton
DF 15 Neill Collins
DF 19 Harry Maguire   106'
DF 32 Matt Hill
MF 4 Nick Montgomery   120'
MF 8 Michael Doyle (c)
MF 11 Ryan Flynn   108'
MF 14 Lee Williamson
MF 28 Stephen Quinn
FW 17 Richard Cresswell   85'
GK 13 Mark Howard
DF 16 Andy Taylor   120'
MF 20 David McAllister
FW 21 Chris Porter   85'
FW 29 Michael O'Halloran   108'
Danny Wilson

Man of the Match:
Peter Clarke (Huddersfield Town)

Assistant referees:
Harry Lennard[1]
Matthew Wilkes[1]
Fourth official:
Danny McDermid[1]
Reserve Assistant Referee:
Mark Scholes[1]

Match rules:

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


Huddersfield Town Sheffield United
Total shots 18 18
Shots on target 5 7
Ball possession 50% 50%
Corner kicks 8 9
Fouls committed 19 15
Offsides 1 3
Yellow cards 2 1
Red cards 0 0

Source: BBC Sport[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Match Official Appointments". The Football League. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Begley, Emlyn (26 May 2012). "Huddersfield have been promoted". BBC Sport. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  3. ^ "Sheff Utd 1–0 Stevenage". BBC Sport. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  4. ^ "npower League 1 Play-off semi-final first leg preview". The Football League. 11 May 2012. Archived from the original on 20 April 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  5. ^ "Sheffield United vs. Huddersfield Town". 25 May 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  6. ^ "Preview: Championship Place at Stake". 25 May 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  7. ^ "SHEFF UTD: PRE-MATCH ANALYSIS". Huddersfield Town A.F.C. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  8. ^ "Huddersfield seal dramatic shoot-out win". UKPA. 26 May 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012.