1999 Football League Second Division play-off Final

1999 Football League Second Division play-off Final
Event 1998–99 Football League Second Division
Manchester City won 3–1 on penalties
Date 30 May 1999
Venue Wembley Stadium, London
Man of the Match Vince Bartram (Gillingham)[1]
Referee Mark Halsey (Lancashire)
Attendance 76,935

The 1999 Football League Second Division playoff 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 199899 season. Gillingham faced Manchester City.

Route to the final

Football League Division Two final table, leading positions
Pos Team P W D L F A Pts
3.Manchester City4622168693382
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 Football 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

Match summary

The match was scoreless until approximately nine minutes from the end, 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 four 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. 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 team-mates.



Manchester City
GK 1England Nicky Weaver
RB 2England Lee Crooks  85'
LB 3England Richard Edghill
CB 4Netherlands Gerard Wiekens
CB 5 Scotland Andy Morrison (c)  61'
LM6Northern Ireland Kevin Horlock
CM7England Michael Brown  61'
CM 8 Northern Ireland Jeff Whitley
CF 9 Scotland Paul Dickov
CF 10Bermuda Shaun Goater
RM11 England Terry Cooke
FW 12 Wales Gareth Taylor  85'
DF13 England Tony Vaughan  61'
MF 14England Ian Bishop  61'
England Joe Royle
GK 1 England Vince Bartram
RWB 2 England Nicky Southall
CB 3 England Barry Ashby
CM 4England Paul Smith
CB 5 England Guy Butters
CB6England Adrian Pennock
LWB 7England Mark Patterson  105'
CM 8 England Andy Hessenthaler (c)
CF 9 England Carl Asaba  87'
CM 10England Mick Galloway  56'
CF 11England Robert Taylor
MF 12England John Hodge  105'
MF 13England Mark Saunders  56'
DF 14 England Darren Carr  87'
Wales Tony Pulis

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


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


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