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AN INDEPENDENT LOOK AT WALSALL FOOTBALL CLUB

On This Day: Reading 2 Walsall 3 - (AET)

On this day in 2001, Ray Graydon's Saddlers defeated Reading by three-goals-to-two in the Division Two Play-Off Final.
In what was an incredibly successful 2000/01 campaign, 'Sir' Ray led Walsall to fourth place in the table, comfortably clinching a Play-Off place ahead of several more fancied sides.

The Saddlers' eventual opponents in the Play-Off Final, Reading, had finished third in the division and defeated Wigan Athletic 2-1 on aggregate in their Semi-Final.

The Saddlers defeated near rivals Stoke City 4-2 at Bescot Stadium following a goalless draw in the Potteries.

The Final itself, which was staged in front of over fifty-thousand fans at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, finished level at one-all in normal time after Don Goodman put the Saddlers back on level terms, cancelling out Jamie Cureton's earlier first-half volley.

Both teams prodded and probed for another goal during a captivating game but were ultimately unable to grab one during the remainder of normal time as the match advanced to an extra thirty minutes of play.

During extra-time, former Walsall striker Martin Butler appeared to have won the match for the Royals as he headed home within two minutes of kick-off, seemingly breaking Saddlers' hearts.

However, following a triple substitution by Sir Ray, the Saddlers staged an incredible comeback which was ultimately finished off by Darren Byfield, the well-travelled forward netting following a bizarre own-goal by Reading substitute Tony Rougier, which had initially brought the Reds back into the game.

You can watch highlights of the match, below.


READING
Whitehead, Viveash, Williams, Murty, Harper, Robinson, Igoe, Parkinson, Butler, Cureton, McIntyre

Subs | Howie, Hunter, Caskey, Forster, Rougier

WALSALL
Walker, Aranalde, Barras, Tillson, Brightwell, Keates, Bennett, Matias, Goodman, Leitao, Hall

Subs | Emberson, Gadsby, Bukran, Angell, Byfield

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