1995 Football League First Division play-off Final
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|Event||1994–95 Football League First Division|
|Date||29 May 1995|
|Venue||Wembley Stadium, London|
The 1995 Football League Division One play-off Final was hosted on 29 May 1995 at Wembley Stadium, London. The winner gained promotion to the 1995–96 FA Premier League. The match was contested between Bolton Wanderers and Reading, Bolton winning the match 4–3, after extra time.
The Premier League was being reduced in size from twenty-two teams down to twenty, meaning that only two clubs were promoted from the First Division; four would be relegated from the Premier League. Reading had been promoted, as champions, from the Second Division the year before. They finished the league season in second place, which would have ordinarily won the club automatic promotion to the top flight. Bolton, who had finished fourteenth in the previous season, finished third in Division One. Middlesbrough were promoted as First Division champions. In the league season, Bolton had defeated Reading 1–0 at Burnden Park, while Reading had won the reverse fixture 2–1 at Elm Park.
Route to the Final
|Opponent||Agg.||1st leg||2nd leg||Play-offs||Opponent||Agg.||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Tranmere Rovers||3–1||3–1 (A)||0–0 (H)||Semi-finals||Wolverhampton Wanderers||3–2||1–2 (A)||2–0 aet (H)|
|Malkin 14'||Lovell 9', 81'
Reading won 3–1 on aggregate.
- Bolton Wanderers
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||2–1||Bolton Wanderers|
|Bolton Wanderers||2–0 (a.e.t.)||Wolverhampton Wanderers|
|McGinlay 44', 109'|
Bolton Wanderers won 3–2 on aggregate.
Reading went 1-0 up after four minutes following a goal from Lee Nogan. Adie Williams put Reading 2–0 up within twelve minutes. Stuart Lovell missed a penalty for Reading on thirty-four minutes, which would have put the Berkshire club 3–0 ahead. Bolton scored a seventy-fifth minute goal through Owen Coyle. with four minutes to go, Fabian de Freitas levelled the match with four minutes left to play, sending the game into extra-time. Bolton completed the comeback with a Mixu Paatelainen goal in the hundred and fifth minute, before de Freitas scored his second of the match with two minutes of extra-time remaining. Reading player-manager Jimmy Quinn scored a minute later, but Bolton held out for the win.
|Bolton Wanderers||4 - 3 (a.e.t.)||Reading|
de Freitas 86', 118'
The play-off final proved to be the final game in charge of Bolton Wanderers for manager Bruce Rioch, leaving the club on 8 June to become the new manager at Arsenal. Roy McFarland was brought in as his successor, but he lasted just six months as Bolton were relegated from the Premier League in their first season in the division, after finishing the 1995–96 season bottom. They would return for the 1997–98 season, in which they were also relegated, before having an uninterrupted eleven-year stay in the top flight between 2001 and 2012.
Reading wouldn't enjoy as much success in the next season, finishing nineteenth, after selling goalkeeper Shaka Hislop to Premier League giants Newcastle United for a then-club record sale of £1.6 million. The club would only secure their First Division place with a 3–0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the final home match of the season. Reaching the play-off final gave impetus for the club to relocate to the new Madejski Stadium, as their former home, Elm Park was deemed unsuitable for Premier League, and latterly First Division, football. The club would eventually reach the Premier League, following a Championship title win in the 2005–06 season - eleven seasons later.
- "Reading 3 Bolton Wanderers 4". Hob Nob Anyone?. 29 May 1995. Retrieved 4 May 2009.
- "WANDERERS MEMORIES: Bolton Wanderers 4 Reading 3 - May 1995". The Bolton News. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2017.