Play-off classics

Ahead of the Championship play-off final between Crystal Palace and Watford at Wembley on Monday, we look back into the archives for some memorable matches, next up is Crystal Palace 1 West Ham 0

Crystal Palace secured play-off success against West Ham in 2004

Crystal Palace are the most successful side in second tier play-off history, having secured themselves a winning ticket in the promotion lottery on three previous occasions. That would appear to bode well for the Eagles heading into a Bank Holiday Monday showdown with Watford.

The last of their successes came back in 2004, when they upset the odds to edge out West Ham United.

With Wembley undergoing redevelopment, the game was staged at Cardiff's impressive Millennium Stadium. A mass exodus from the English capital to the Welsh one saw followers of the Eagles and Hammers clinging to the dream of Premier League football.

Palace had enjoyed a remarkable upturn in fortunes since handing their managerial reins to Iain Dowie, and he was to oversee a fitting finish to a fairytale adventure at Selhurst Park.

Palace were able to frustrate their London rivals for long periods, while offering an attacking threat of their own. In the end, club stalwart Neil Shipperley was the hero of the hour - quite literally - as he netted the only goal of the game on 61 minutes.

He bundled home from close range after Hammers goalkeeper Stephen Bywater failed to hold an effort from Andrew Johnson.

Organisation and dogged determination saw the Eagles hold on from that point, placing them back among English football's elite - a standing they were to enjoy for just one season before slipping back down the League ladder.