May 12 2008
Crystal Palace twice recovered from play-off defeat at the end of the 1988/89 campaign to gain promotion to the top flight.
Steve Coppell's troops finished the old Division Two season in third place behind Chelsea and Manchester City to confirm their place in the end-of-season showdown.
It was just reward after three years of narrowly missing out on the top six and they travelled to sixth-placed Swindon Town in the semi-final first leg.
Palace were without injured centre half pairing Gary O'Reilly and Gavin Nebbeling and the makeshift back four held their own for most of the game until Jeff Hopkins put the ball into his own net to give the Robins a slight advantage ahead of the second leg.
In the return fixture at Selhurst Park, Mark Bright quickly levelled the scores on aggregate before strike partner Ian Wright got the winner to send Palace into the two-legged play-off final against Blackburn Rovers.
The South Londoners had lost 5-4 at Ewood Park earlier in the campaign and this time Blackburn won 3-1 with winger Eddie McGoldrick netting a priceless consolation goal.
Despite going into the second leg in front of a 30,000 partisan crown at Selhurst Park, it was difficult to see Coppell's men pulling back a 3-1 deficit.
After 16 minutes they opened the scoring after a fine flowing move ended up with Alan Pardew crossing with the outside of his right boot for Wright to sweep home.
A minute into the second half, Palace got the crucial second goal from the penalty spot. Fleet-footed McGoldrick scampered into the area and was upended by defender David Mail, leaving referee George Courtney no option but to point to the spot. Penalty expert Dave Madden converted the kick sending Terry Genoe the wrong way.
Keeper Perry Suckling kept Palace in the match with a fantastic block to deny Simon Garner's sweetly-struck volley from the edge of the box, and with the scores locked at 3-3 on aggregate, it went to extra-time.
Then Wright made sure of Palace's place in the old Division One when in the 117th minute he rose unmarked to glance his header from McGoldrick's right wing cross into the bottom corner. Moments later, referee Courtney blew for full time to spark a huge pitch invasion.
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