Football, bloody hell! Sheffield Wednesday stun Peterborough in all-time great match to advance to League One promotion play-off final

Liam Palmer Sheffield Wednesday 2022-23Getty Images
  • Sheffield Wednesday trailed 4-0 on aggregate
  • Won second leg 5-1 to force shootout
  • Triumphed on penalties to reach play-off final

WHAT HAPPENED? Needing to overturn a four-goal deficit to force extra-time and keep their hopes of reaching the Championship alive, Michael Smith got Wednesday up and running with an early penalty, before Lee Gregory gave the Hillsborough faithful hope of the seemingly impossible with a second goal before the break.

It remained 2-0 until the 71st minute when defender Reece James bundled home to set up a grandstand finish. For at least 20 minutes, it looked like it wouldn't quite happen for Darren Moore's side, until very late on when Liam Palmer scored the fourth – in the eighth minute of six minutes of added time. He turned home after Aden Flint's header kept the ball alive following a melee in the Peterborough box.

AND WHAT'S MORE: That goal forced the game into extra-time amid wild celebrations from the Wednesday supporters who couldn't quite believe what they'd witnessed. It looked as if it might all be for nothing, though, when Peterborough momentarily silenced the home fans in extra-time, with Gregory forced to turn into his own net to hand the visitors the advantage again.

But Wednesday produced more magic to make it 5-1 through the irrepressible Callum Paterson as the game went to penalties. Peterborough's Dan Butler struck the crossbar in the shootout, then Jack Hunt stroked home the decisive spot-kick to complete the fairytale victory for Wednesday, sparking a pitch invasion.

WHAT THEY SAID: "We had a strong belief, we honestly did," Moore said of his team after the game. "We showed them videos of great comebacks in the week. The mindset was right."

Opposing head coach Darren Ferguson came away less enthused: "We made some wrong decisions, and then obviously in the last minute of the game - you don't want to be sounding bitter, because I don't - but there's six minutes [added on] and we play eight. It's not right, but congratulations to Sheffield Wednesday. We don't know what the future holds, it's not the right time to answer that. I've got a lot of players in there that are sore, the young ones are going to have to remember this, because it's a sore night."


Sheffield Wednesday fan 2022-23Getty ImagesLee Gregory Sheffield Wednesday 2022-23Getty ImagesLiam Palmer Sheffield Wednesday celebrate 2022-23Getty ImagesSheffield Wednesday shootout celebration team 2022-23Getty ImagesSheffield Wednesday young fan 2022-23Getty Images

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The winners were last in the Championship in 2020-21 and last in the Premier League in 1999-2000. They had been the first team in Football League history to earn 96 points and not go up automatically. This is undoubtably one of the their sweetest wins in recent memory - though they'll need to be careful not to suffer a letdown in their next game.

DID YOU KNOW? Sheffield Wednesday are the first team in Football League play-off history to progress to the final despite losing the first leg of the semi-final by a four-goal margin.

WHAT'S NEXT? Barnsley or Bolton await in the League One play-off final for Moore's side, who will surely feel they can do anything after this.