2006 Football League Championship play-off Final
|Date||21 May 2006|
|Venue||Millennium Stadium, Cardiff|
|Referee||Mike Dean (Cheshire)|
The 2006 Football League Championship play-off Final was an association football match played at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on 21 May 2006. It determined the third and final team in the 2005–06 football season to be promoted to the Premier League, the highest division in the English football league system. It was the last play-off final to be held at the Millennium Stadium, as the new Wembley Stadium was completed in time for the 2007 final.
The final featured Watford, who had finished third in the Championship, and Leeds United, who finished fifth. In the semi-finals, Leeds and Watford defeated Preston North End and Crystal Palace respectively. Watford won the match 3–0, with opening goalscorer Jay DeMerit named man of the match. Leeds goalkeeper Neil Sullivan scored an own goal to make the score 2–0 to Watford after 60 minutes, and the final goal was a penalty kick scored by Darius Henderson which assured Watford promotion to the Premier League.
Route to the final
Watford finished the 2005–06 Football League Championship in third place with 81 points, two places and 3 points above Leeds. In the play-off semi-finals, Watford faced Crystal Palace, who had finished in sixth position. The first leg was held at Crystal Palace's ground, Selhurst Park, on 6 May 2006. Goals from Watford players Marlon King, Ashley Young and Matthew Spring gave them a 3–0 win. The second leg at Watford's Vicarage Road stadium finished 0–0, thus giving Watford a 3–0 aggregate victory and a place in the final.
Leeds' semi-final opponents were Preston, who had finished the Championship season in fourth position. Leeds hosted the first leg, but it was Preston who took the lead with a goal from David Nugent in the 48th minute. Eddie Lewis equalised for Leeds in the 74th minute to salvage a 1–1 draw. In the second leg, at Preston's home Deepdale, Rob Hulse and Frazer Richardson scored for Leeds, handing them a 2–0 win on the day and a 3–1 aggregate victory.
|Crystal Palace||3–0||3–0 away; 0–0 home||Preston North End||3–1
||1–1 home; 2–0 away|
Sullivan 57' (o.g.)
Henderson 84' (pen.)
|Shots on target||6||7|
|Shots off target||6||4|
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- Oxley, Simon. "Watford FC – Cardiff 2006". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
- "Crystal Palace 0–3 Watford". BBC Sport. 6 May 2006. Retrieved 8 November 2009.
- "Watford 0–0 C Palace (agg 3–0)". BBC Sport. 9 May 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2009.
- "Leeds 1–1 Preston". BBC Sport. 5 May 2006. Retrieved 8 November 2009.
- "Preston 0–2 Leeds (agg 1–3)". BBC Sport. 8 May 2006. Retrieved 8 November 2009.