Watch the dramatic highlights as Ipswich Town beat Barnsley at Wembley - 20 years ago today
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
It’s 20 years ago today that Ipswich Town beat Barnsley 4-2 in the first division play-off final to reach the Premier League.
And what a dramatic afternoon it was in the Bank Holiday Monday sun.
Following three years of play-off pain, Ipswich hearts sunk as Craig Hignett’s early strike thundered back off the bar, off of Richard Wright’s out-stretched arm and into the back of the Town net. 1-0 Barnsley.
But the Blues clawed themselves level as Tony Mowbray, in what proved to be his final professional game, climbed highest to reach Jim Magilton’s pin-point cross and level the scores.
Wright’s eventful day continued prior to the interval, as he gave away a penalty after a foul on Hignett but saved Darren Barnard’s spot kick. Ipswich fans were beginning to think it would be their day.
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Then Richard Naylor, an early substitute for David Johnson, took over. He reacted quickest to Marcus Stewart’s flick on to turn the ball home and send Town fans wild as he whipped off his shirt and swung it around his head.
His next act was to bring a long Mark Venus pass down from the sky, lay it off to Jamie Clapham and watch as the left-back’s perfect cross landed on the head of Stewart, whose clever movement allowed him to head home.
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Home and dry? Not quite.
Mowbray’s foul on Geoff Thomas allowed Barnsley to claw one back from the spot before a stunning Wright save denied Georgi Hristov ‘from point blank range’ as the Tykes piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser.
But, when Naylor turned and stabbed the ball through for Reuser to slam home goal number four the job was complete.
Ipswich Town were back in the Premier League.