Bristol City moved within a match of making the Premiership for the first time as stunning goals by Lee Trundle and Michael McIndoe saw them come from behind to beat perennial Premiership underachievers Crystal Palace 2-1 in their Championship play-off semi-final second leg clash and go through 4-2 on aggregate.
City — who were in the old First Division for a couple of seasons in the early 1980s — will meet either Hull or Watford in the final at Wembley for the right to make it to the Premiership.
Bristol were fortunate to even get to extra-time as Palace had missed a penalty in the second-half as their goalscoring hero from the first-half, Ben Watson, stepped up to take it but saw his effort hit the post.
Watson had earlier given Palace a lifeline — though the fact they even made the play-offs was extraordinary given they were in the relegation zone when Neil Warnock took over earlier in the season — as his header soared into an empty net after City goalkeeper Adriano Basso had been beaten to a cross.
City looked bereft of ideas but somehow conjured up an equalizer as 31-year-old Trundle — who even at his comparatively advanced age wants to break into the international scene with the Republic of Ireland for whom he qualifies through his grandmother — finally came good good on his £1 million (US$1.9 million) transfer from Swansea City last year and smacked in a superb shot to equalize.
If his goal was outstanding then McIndoe outdid it for Bristol City’s winner as he whacked in a shot from 30m out and even had Warnock applauding it.
■ FA DROPS CHARGES
The English Football Association (FA) has dropped one of the two charges brought against each of six agents relating to alleged breaches of regulations involving transfers at Luton Town, it emerged yesterday.
Last November, following an investigation that had begun the previous March, more than 50 charges were brought against the club — which has just been relegated from League One — former chairman Bill Tomlins, three former directors, and the six agents.
Of the charges, 48 related to the allegation that after Luton signed players the agents were paid not by the club, as required by FA rules, but by the club’s holding company, Jayten Limited.
Of those, 12 — two each — were levelled at each of the agents Sky Andrew, Mike Berry, Mark Curtis, Stephen Denos, David Manasseh and Andrew Mills.
It is the first of those, the charge that the payments were made by Jayten Limited, that has been dropped.
The charge that they conducted negotiations without a “representation contract” remains.
“I remain fully supportive of the FA’s right to investigate any suggestion of improper conduct in our game,” Mills said.
“In my case, I have maintained my innocence throughout and pleaded not guilty to both FA charges. I welcome the FA’s finding and their decision to drop the charge,” he said.