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League One playoff semi final ends with 5-5 aggregate, epic comeback and penalty shootout

An astonishing League One playoff semi final ends with a 5-5 aggregate, an epic Sheffield Wednesday comeback and a penalty shootout.

Sheffield Wednesday went into this game knowing they had it all to do having trailed Peterborough United 4-0 after last week’s first leg down in Cambridgeshire.

If they were to reach the showpiece final at Wembley later this month, Darren Moore’s side will have to create history…

No side has ever come from three goals down after the first leg, never mind four.

Speaking in the build-up to the second semi final, Moore spoke of his and the players’ desire to pull off the impossible under the lights at Hillsborough.

“What’s happened has happened. We’ve got together and continued to work, as we have done all season,” said Moore. “We’ve now got a game in front of a packed Hillsborough and we just want to go and win it.”

So how did the second leg play out? Quite possibly one of the craziest in EFL history.

GOAL! Sheff Wed 1-0 Peterborough (Smith, 9 pen)

Michael Smith is as cool as you want him to be. He sends Will Norris diving left, and then rolls the penalty in the bottom right corner of the Kop.

GOAL! Sheff Wed 2-0 Peterborough (Gregory, 25)

Will Norris, the Peterborough goalkeeper, tries to punch away a cross but ends up pushing it right into Callum Paterson’s path.

Paterson takes a few steps closer to the ball and then strikes. Lee Gregory is on hand to finish the shot!

GOAL! Sheff Wed 3-0 Peterborough (James, 71)

Can you believe it?! Just under 20 minutes left to play, Wednesday has another goal. Just one more goal will send this to extra time.

Reece James arrived at the back post to slot through Will Norris.

GOAL! Sheff Wed 4-0 Peterborough (Palmer, 90+8)

Sheffield Wednesday was 4-0 down at the end of the first leg. However, they forced extra time with a Liam Palmer close-range goal in the eighth minute of stoppage time.

GOAL! Sheff Wed 4-1 Peterborough (Gregory OG, 105)

Would you believe it – Peterborough have edged ahead in this remarkable tie once again!

Michael Smith concedes a cheap penalty kick, but the free-kick that results hits Lee Gregory’s back and crosses the line.

GOAL! Sheff Wed 5-1 Peterborough (Paterson, 112)

Callum Paterson takes one shot following a left-side cross that is blocked. He is lucky to get another bite at the cherry, and this time he taps it in!


Dan Butler’s shot hit the crossbar and over, with all other penalties were scored in the shootout that matched the 120 minutes of play before it.

Before this tie, no team in the EFL playoffs had ever overcome an early two-goal deficit to reach the final.

Wednesday will face Barnsley or Bolton at Wembley, on Monday 29 May.

Sheffield Wednesday captain Barry Bannan told Sky Sports:

“Everybody wrote us off. Everybody told us we couldn’t do it but it’s unbelievable.

“We’ve watched comebacks all week. It was all about believing. When we have the fans behind us, anything is possible.

“It’s the best game I’ve ever played in. I’m so happy because all these lads deserve it. I give everything for this club to get us promoted. Everybody wrote us off but we showed we’re made of strong stuff. We’re only halfway there.

“Those who were booing us last week saying we’re not fit to wear the shirt, have a look at this.

“What he [Darren Moore] has done is unbelievable, to turn around the mindset of the players. I’m so proud of him how he’s handled this week after the racism he’s experienced.

“That one’s for him.”

Francis Green (Ex-Peterborough forward on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire): “Peterborough made two substitutions at half-time, bringing on two centre-backs. I understood why Darren Ferguson did it, because Wednesday were bombarding the wide channels.

“As a player, I used to love psychologically when the other team made negative substitutions. It showed me the opposition were scared of my team.

“They were still in control of the tie at half-time, but they had no outlet. They had no way of attacking Wednesday.

“You bring criticism on you when you do that.”

Brian Laws (Ex-Sheff Wed manager on BBC Radio Sheffield): “I’m speechless. Remarkable. I’ve never seen anything like this.

“What an incredible evening I have seen unfold. My thoughts immediately go to Darren Moore, who has gone through the mill with criticism after the first game.

“It was so nasty and vicious, but his professionalism, his calm and cool, has allowed his team to do something so remarkable.

“My heart goes out to him. I want to congratulate him.”

Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore:

“What we’ve done has not sunk in as yet because it’s just been a remarkable night of football. There was a real never-say-die attitude from the boys. We planned after the first leg and had been working all week on changing the mindset, but doing some good work in training. We did that and there was a real great belief. Even taking penalties, we’d done it all week in preparation.

“The goals came at crucial times, but the endeavour and the spirit was there and the togetherness was there. I’m just pleased for everybody at the football club. After that performance, they deserve Wembley. We’ve got one more game to go and we focus on that one.”

Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson:

“It’s very raw, as you can imagine. To lose a semi-final in the manner we did, it is a cruel game at times. I have to congratulate Sheffield Wednesday, and I wish them all the best in the final.

“We knew Hillsborough is a very rare place in League One in terms of the momentum it can give you. We made some wrong decisions. I don’t want to sound bitter, but there were six minutes of added time and we played eight, which is not right. But congratulations to Sheffield Wednesday.”

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