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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 May, 2004, 21:07 GMT 22:07 UK
Play-off picture
The Nationwide League season is set for a grandstand finish with a series of make-or-break play-off matches.

BBC Sport guides you through the teams in the mix, who's hot, who's not and the players to watch.

DIVISION ONE

14 May: Palace 3-2 Sunderland
15 May: Ipswich 1-0 West Ham
17 May: Sunderland 2-1 Palace
18 May: West Ham 2-0 Ipswich

West Ham United will face London rivals Crystal Palace in the First Division play-off final in Cardiff on 29 May.

The Hammers booked their trip to the Millennium Stadium with a pulsating 2-0 victory over Ipswich in the second leg of their semi-final at Upton Park.

Matthew Etherington and Christian Dailly were the Hammers' heroes with the goals which knocked Town out 2-1 on aggregate.

Palace made sure of their place in the final 24 hours earlier with a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Sunderland.

Sunderland won the second leg 2-1 after losing 3-2 at Selhurst Park, but they lost 5-4 on penalties and will be back in Division One next season.

Since his Christmas arrival Iain Dowie has led Palace from fourth bottom to the post-season knockouts in a run that has included victories over all their play-off rivals.

And in Andrew Johnson they possess the league's leading scorer who terrorises opposition defences - and scored the winner in the first leg of the semi-finals against Sunderland.

DIVISION TWO

15 May: Hartlepool 1-1 B City
16 May: Swindon 0-1 Brighton
19 May: B City 2-1 Hartlepool
20 May: Brighton 1-2 Swindon
Bristol City have made it through to the Second Division play-off final.

Danny Wilson's side beat Hartlepool 2-1 in the second leg, after drawing 1-1 in the first leg, to go through 3-2 on aggregate.

They will meet either Brighton who came through an even more dramatic semi-final against Swindon.

Swindon's Sam Parkin took the tie into extra time with a 81st minute goal which wiped out Brighton's first-leg lead.

The Seagulls looked to be heading out when Rory Fallon put Swindon ahead seven mintues into overtime.

But in added time Adam Virgo's diving header levelled the aggregate scores, setting up a penalty shoot-out which Brighton won when Andy Gurney's spot-kick strucj the post.

DIVISION THREE

15 May: Lincoln 1-2 Hudd'field
16 May: N'hampton 0-2 Mansfield
19 May: Hudd'field 2-2 Lincoln
20 May: Mansfield 1-3 N'hampton
Huddersfield will be at Cardiff after they knocked out Lincoln.

The Terriers won the first leg 2-1 away from home and held on for a 2-2 draw in the second leg to claim their place in the final.

Mansfield will be their opponents after a nail-biting match at Field Mill.

Mansfield held a 2-0 lead from the first leg but Northampton had turned the tie on its head just after half time, with goals from Marc Richards, Chris Hargreaves and Martin Smith giving the Cobblers a 3-2 lead.

But Tom Curtis's late leveller took the tie into extra-time and a subsequent penalty shoot-out where Kevin Pilkington saved Eric Sabin's penalty, giving Colin Larkin the chance to be the hero.


SEE ALSO
West Ham reach final
18 May 04  |  English Div 1
Palace scrape through
09 May 04  |  English Div 1
QPR clinch promotion
08 May 04  |  English Div 2
Torquay edge out Terriers
08 May 04  |  English Div 3



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