1995 Football League First Division play-off Final

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1995 Football League Division One play-off Final
Old Wembley Stadium (external view).jpg
Event1994–95 Football League First Division
Date29 May 1995
VenueWembley Stadium, London
RefereePeter Foakes

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[edit]

Reading Round Bolton Wanderers
Final league position
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
2 Reading 46 23 7 13 58 44 +14 79
3 Bolton Wanderers 46 21 14 11 67 45 +22 77
4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 46 21 13 12 77 61 +16 76
5 Tranmere Rovers 46 22 10 14 67 58 +9 76
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)
Tranmere Rovers1–3Reading
Malkin Goal 14' Lovell Goal 9'81'
Nogan Goal 74'
Attendance: 12,207
Referee: John Kirkby

Reading0–0Tranmere Rovers
Attendance: 13,245
Referee: Paul Alcock

Reading won 3–1 on aggregate.

Bolton Wanderers
Wolverhampton Wanderers2–1Bolton Wanderers
Bull Goal 44'
Venus Goal 51'
McAteer Goal 46'
Attendance: 26,153
Referee: Philip Wright

Bolton Wanderers2–0 (a.e.t.)Wolverhampton Wanderers
McGinlay Goal 44'109'
Attendance: 20,041
Referee: Steve Dunn

Bolton Wanderers won 3–2 on aggregate.

Match Summary[edit]

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.[1][2]

Match details[edit]

Bolton Wanderers4 - 3 (a.e.t.)Reading
Coyle Goal 75'
de Freitas Goal 86'118'
Paatelainen Goal 105'
(Report) Nogan Goal 4'
Williams Goal 12'
Quinn Goal 119'
Attendance: 64,107
Referee: Peter Foakes (Clacton-on-Sea).
Bolton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers:
GK 1 England Keith Branagan
DF 2 England Scott Green
DF 3 England Jimmy Phillips
DF 5 Iceland Guðni Bergsson
DF 6 England Alan Stubbs
MF 7 England Neil McDonald Substituted off 46'
MF 4 Republic of Ireland Jason McAteer
MF 9 Finland Mixu Paatelainen
MF 11 England Alan Thompson
FW 8 Republic of Ireland Owen Coyle
FW 10 Scotland John McGinlay
GK 16 England Peter Shilton
DF 14 England John Dreyer
FW 12 Suriname Fabian de Freitas Substituted in 46'
Scotland Bruce Rioch
GK 1 England Shaka Hislop
RWB 2 Australia Andy Bernal Substituted off 67'
DF 4 England Keith McPherson
DF 6 Poland Dariusz Wdowczyk
DF 5 Wales Adrian Williams
LWB 7 England Michael Gilkes
MF 8 England Mick Gooding
MF 3 England Simon Osborn
MF 11 England Scott Taylor
FW 9 Wales Lee Nogan Substituted off 62'
FW 10 Australia Stuart Lovell
GK 15 England Simon Sheppard
DF 14 Wales Jeff Hopkins Substituted in 67'
FW 12 Northern Ireland Jimmy Quinn Substituted in 62'
Northern Ireland Jimmy Quinn & England Mick Gooding


  • 90 minutes.
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary.
  • Penalty shootout if scores still level.
  • 3 named substitutes.
  • Maximum of 3 substitutions.

Post Match[edit]

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.


  1. ^ "Reading 3 Bolton Wanderers 4". Hob Nob Anyone?. 29 May 1995. Retrieved 4 May 2009.
  2. ^ "WANDERERS MEMORIES: Bolton Wanderers 4 Reading 3 - May 1995". The Bolton News. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2017.