Swansea City's play-off final memories | 1997

26th May 2021
First team

Swansea City will play in their fifth play-off final when they take on Brentford at Wembley on Saturday.

It’s an impressive strike rate with the Swans having reached the play-offs eight times since the format was introduced before the start of the 1986-87 season.

In the build-up to Saturday’s game we are taking a look back at Swansea’s four previous finals. Today we recall the 1997 Third Division final against Northampton Town.

Swansea City 0 Northampton Town 1, May 24 1997, Wembley Stadium.

Jan Molby had been unable to prevent the Swans being relegated from the third tier at the end of the 1995-96 season following his February appointment, but he had guided them to the brink of a swift return at the end of the following campaign.

After a fifth-place finish, the Swans had reached the final thanks to a 3-0 aggregate win over Chester City, with all three goals coming in the second leg at the Vetch after a goalless draw in the opening encounter.

It was a second visit to Wembley in three years for the Swans, having seen off Huddersfield on penalties to win the Autoglass Trophy final in 1994, and hopes were high against a Northampton side who had seen off Cardiff after finishing just one place and one point above Molby’s men.

Jan Molby

Swansea certainly made the brighter start with Cobblers’ keeper Andy Woodman – father of current Swans number one Freddie – making a handful of fine saves.

The pick of the bunch came when Carl Heggs chested the ball away from his marker and dispatched a dipping volley that Woodman acrobatically tipped over.

At the other end Kwame Ampadu cleared a Sean Parrish shot off the line with Roger Freestone beaten.

As time ticked down extra-time looked all but certain, but there would be a heartbreaking twist for Swansea.

Northampton were awarded a stoppage-time free-kick just outside the area.

John Frain’s initial effort hit the wall and bounced away to safety, only for Jonathan Coates to be adjudged to have been within 10 yards as he raced out to try and charge the shot down.

Frain made the most of the second chance as his retaken left-footed strike found the back of the net.

It was the last kick of the game, there wasn’t even time to kick-off as those in white sank to the turf in disbelief.

Swansea City: Roger Freestone, Dai Thomas (Linton Brown 84), Joao Moreira, Keith Walker, Christian Edwards, Kwame Ampadu, Carl Heggs, David Penney, Steve Torpey, Jan Molby, Jonathan Coates.

Unused subs: Ryan Casey, Shaun Chapple.