Play-Off Years: 1997/98

Last updated : 17 May 2009 By @blades_mad1889

Sheffield United had an industrial season which saw them lose 1-0 at Old Trafford to Newcastle United with Magpies legend Alan Shearer netting the only goal.

The Blades had overcame Bury, Ipswich Town and Reading to reach the Quarter-Final stages of the historic competition - and this stage against Premier League opposition Coventry City was to prove there finest hour. United were drawn at Highfield Road where the game was drawn 1-1 - Dion Dublin's first half penalty had put the home side ahead but Marcelo levelled for the Blades in the second.

In the replay at Bramall Lane it turned out to be a magical night for the followers of Red and White; Paul Telfer's free-kick flew into the net inside ten minutes and the game looked lost as the final whistle approached; however not be hard thought with 90 seconds remaining on the clock defender David Holdsworth turned on the volley and mashed in a crowded area past Steve Ogrizovic in the Sky Blues goal.

Chances went begging for United in extra-time but the game was eventually decided on penalties, with United winning 4-1 on spot kicks.

In the league (then known as the Nationwide League) the Blades had beaten Sunderland on the first day of the season at home; Jan Fjortoft and debutant Vas Borbokis getting on the score sheet in a 2-0 win. They completed the double over Bryan Robson's Middlesbrough whom finished in second place behind Nottingham Forest who had both previously been relegated from the top flight only the season before.

The Blades also embraced memorable nights, won which springs to mind was a 5-0 demolition of Stockport County in which Fjortoft netted a hat-trick whilst at Oxford United (won 4-2) Brian Deane scored within 18 seconds of the game to net the fastest goal of the season.

In the end they found it difficult to keep up with the top two, selling quality players in January didn't help whilst Sunderland, their semi-final opponents were too good on their day having won 4-0 at the Stadium of Light.

League Division One
1Nottingham F4628108824294
4Charlton Ath46261010804988
5Ipswich T4623149774383

The Blades had finished up nine points clear of Birmingham City (not on table) and were drawn to face Sunderland in the two-legged competition. Kevin Ball (17) had given the Wearsiders a wealthy lead but Marcelo (57) levelled and Vass Borbokis (76) slammed home a stunning free-kick late on to take a 2-1 lead to the Stadium of Light.

Nicky Marker netted an own goal (21) to give the Blades a difficult task of guiding them into the final, and things got worse when Kevin Phillips (38) added a second.

The Black Cats faced Charlton Athletic in the final at Wembley and it set up to be a very unforgettable day in Play-Off Final history which saw the underdogs overcome the bookies favourites to win a place in the 1998/99 Premiership season.

The London club had beaten Ipswich Town 2-0 (1-0 & 1-0) over two legs, tensions were high with millions at stake but it was the Addicks who crept through the back door. Former Blade Clive Mendonca (23) got the scoring ahead in this 4-4 thriller.

Nail Quinn (50) levelled for the North East club and Kevin Phillips (58) again found the back of the net. Mendonca (71) made it 2-2 with Quinn re-taking the lead for the former Roker Park club two minutes later - it looked as though Sunderland, who were 'on loan to Division One' (according to there fans) were set to also win promotion at the first time of asking but with five minutes remaining Richard Rufus levelled.

In extra-time both clubs gunned for victory and Sunderland again answered the fans prayers when Nicky Sumerbee (99) found the net, but not to be undone Mendonca (103) completed his hat-trick. The game finished 4-4 and the game went to penalties which was eventually won 7-6 by the London club after former Blades keeper Sasa Ilic saved the decisive spot kick.