Championship play-off final: Four decades of play-off drama

By Gavin Bevis
BBC News

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Can Forest triumph at Wembley?

It's been billed as the most lucrative game in world football, thanks to the money that comes with being promoted to the Premier League.

And on 29 May, Nottingham Forest will get their first taste of a Championship play-off final as they take on Huddersfield Town at Wembley.

Nine finals have seen East Midlands teams competing in the nerve-racking winner-takes-all match.

Here BBC News looks back at how those previous visits panned out.

Warnock guides Magpies to Wembley glory

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Neil Warnock's Notts County ran out 3-1 winners

One of the first big successes in Neil Warnock's action-packed managerial career saw his Notts County side triumph in a 3-1 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion in 1991.

Sadly the Magpies were unable to establish themselves as a force in Division One, as it was then called, and came back down the following season.

Premier League spot eludes Foxes

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Leicester City were beaten 1-0 by Blackburn Rovers

A place in the shiny new Premier League awaited the winner of this 1992 final but the glittering prize went to big-spending Blackburn Rovers, who would go on to beat Manchester United to the league title three years later.

For Leicester City, the 1-0 defeat was the first part of a dramatic play-off final trilogy.

Leicester fall short in Wembley goalfest

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A late penalty sunk Leicester City in 1993

This play-off classic may have been a treat for neutral fans watching on television, but Leicester City's 4-3 defeat at the hands of Swindon Town saw fans in tears as they were denied promotion again.

The decisive goal came in the 84th minute, with Paul Bodin holding his nerve to score from the penalty spot to book the Robins a place in the top flight.

Third time lucky for Foxes as Rams beaten

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The Foxes beat their East Midlands rivals 2-1

Cars and coaches packed with supporters from both sides travelled down the M1 to Wembley for this 1994 all-East Midlands play-off final.

In-form Derby County took the lead but the Foxes dug deep to equalise and then scored again to claim a 2-1 victory that saw them finally promoted at the third time of asking.

Late Claridge strike seals promotion

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The Foxes secured a quick return to the top flight with victory over Crystal Palace

With the scores level at 1-1 as the end of extra time approached in the 1996 final against Crystal Palace, Foxes boss Martin O'Neill decided he would bring on goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac for the penalty shoot-out.

However, the lofty keeper's spot-kick saving skills were not needed, as Steve Claridge scored a dramatic winner with just 11 seconds left on the clock.

Rams win in the rain

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Derby County beat West Bromwich Albion by a single goal at a rainy Wembley

Derby County were slight underdogs heading into the 2007 final against West Bromwich Albion, but Stephen Pearson grabbed the game's only goal to win promotion for the Rams.

However their return to the top flight was not a happy one - they claimed just one win all campaign and set a record for the lowest points tally of any Premier League side.

QPR break Derby hearts in closing minutes

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Richard Keogh was inconsolable following defeat to QPR

Steve McClaren's Rams side arrived at Wembley in 2014 in great form after thrashing Brighton in the semi-finals and were the dominant side against a dogged QPR team managed by Harry Redknapp.

But Derby were made to pay for their inability to score when Bobby Zamora pounced on an error by Richard Keogh to claim a 90th minute winner.

Rams beaten again in Lampard's final game

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Lampard's Rams side fell short against Aston Villa

Derby County's 2019 Wembley date with Aston Villa came after a rousing semi-final win over bitter rivals Leeds United in the wake of the Spygate controversy.

But Frank Lampard's side were put to the sword by Aston Villa in a 2-1 defeat, in what was to be his final game before leaving the Rams to take charge at Chelsea.

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