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The BBC's Dave Woods
"A game sprinkled with marvellous moments"
 real 28k

Monday, 29 May, 2000, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
Ipswich triumph at last
Ipswich players celebrate their promotion
Ipswich 4-2 Barnsley

Ipswich Town survived a late attack of nerves to climb back into the Premiership for the first time since 1995.

Town had goalkeeper Richard Wright to thank as they came from a goal down to make it fifth time lucky at Wembley.

Wright produced a stunning save in the dying seconds to deny Barnsley an equaliser, having earlier saved a penalty.

George Burley's team have failed in the play-offs on four occasions in the last few years - but finally made it into the Premiership with a stirring fightback.

Barnsley boss Dave Bassett contemplates another year in Division One
A goal behind early on, with striker David Johnson off injured, and things looked bleak for Town.

But led by the tireless running of sub Richard Naylor and with goals from Tony Mowbray, Naylor, Marcus Stewart and Martijn Reuser, they hauled themselves into the top flight despite two goals from Craig Hignett.

Hignett had put Barnsley in front with the game only minutes old before Mowbray equalised on 26.

Five minutes after the interval, Ipswich were in front.

Marcus Stewart flicked on Wright's long goalkick and Richard Naylor, on as sub for the injured David Johnson, pounced.

Barnsley, beaten 6-1 by Ipswich earlier in the season, had come out of the traps as if desperate to make up for that humiliation.

Early goal

Just six minutes were on the clock when Hignett picked the ball up 35 yards out, took a couple of strides and sent in a dipping shot that crashed off the bar and into the net off the groping Richard Wright.

It was Hignett's 21st goal of the season, a remarkable return for a man who believed his career at the top level was over when Middlesbrough let him go to Aberdeen two years ago.

Tony Mowbray heads the equaliser for Ipswich
And Hignett, given unfathomable amounts of room by the Ipswich midfield, nearly had a second when his curling shot slipped just past the post midway through the half.

Ipswich drew level from the most unlikely source. Veteran defender Mowbray, making the 673rd appearance of his career, rose at the far post to power a header past Miller.

Mowbray had begun the season expecting to concentrate solely on coaching, and only retained his player registration in case of emergencies.

With Marcus Stewart making it three with a firm header from Clapham's cross, Hignett's second, from the penalty spot with seven minutes to go, came too late.

Martijn Reuser sealed the win in the last minute to send the hordes from East Anglia into ecstacy.


Just as FA Cup finals these days are generally tedious affairs, play-off games tend to be the complete opposite.

And, true to script, the first half closed on a note of high drama.

Richard Wright made the wrong decision by diving at the feet of Craig Hignett, who was running away from goal, to give away a penalty.

But when Darren Barnard stepped up to take the spot kick, Wright guessed right and palmed the ball away.

In that moment, the game swung decisively.


Barnsley: Miller, Curtis, Morgan, Chettle, Brown, Barnard, Tinkler, Hignett, Appleby, Dyer, Shipperley. Subs: Sheron, Hristov, Jones, Eaden, Thomas.

Ipswich: R. Wright, Croft, McGreal, Mowbray, Venus, Clapham, Holland, Magilton, J. Wright, Johnson, Stewart. Subs: Wilnis, Naylor, Brown, Reuser, Branagan.

Referee: T Heilbron (Newton Aycliffe)

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