EFL moments of the decade part one: Troy Deeney, Doncaster and drama

Troy Deeney
Is Watford striker Troy Deeney's goal against Leicester in the 2013 Championship play-off semi-final the most iconic EFL goal from the past decade?

As the decade draws to a close, BBC Sport is reflecting on the past 10 years in the English Football League.

From Troy Deeney breaking Leicester City hearts, to Paul Caddis saving Birmingham City and Paolo di Canio managing Swindon Town - it's been eventful.

Part one of our look back focuses on the most memorable on-pitch moments in the Championship, League One and League Two.

The play-offs

There's nothing quite like the play-offs for drama and the final minute at Vicarage Road as Watford hosted Leicester City in the second leg of their Championship play-off semi-final in 2013 might be the most dramatic of the lot.

With the scores tied at 2-2 on aggregate, Leicester were awarded a controversial late penalty when Anthony Knockaert went down in the area. Knockaert took responsibility for the kick, only for Manuel Almunia to deny him from the spot and on the rebound.

With their opponents reeling, the Hornets launched an immediate counter-attack that ended with Jonathan Hogg heading down a deep cross for the onrushing Troy Deeney to thump past a despairing Kasper Schmeichel in the Foxes goal and send the home side to Wembley.

Cue complete pandemonium as home fans and manager Gianfranco Zola stormed onto the pitch, with the Italian taking a spectacular tumble just to round the madness off.

Anthony Knockaert
Anthony Knockaert recovered from his penalty heartbreak to win promotion from the Championship twice - with Leicester in 2014 and Brighton in 2017

That wasn't the only penalty woe the Foxes had in the play-offs this decade.

Their Championship play-off semi-final against Cardiff City went to spot-kicks in 2010.

The first six were all successful before French striker Yann Kermorgant stepped up for Nigel Pearson's men. Kermorgant had scored just once in 25 appearances since his arrival from his homeland the previous August so quite what had given him the confidence to try a Panenka penalty is a mystery.

Needless to say it was not successful, as the ball floated gently into the grateful arms of Bluebirds goalkeeper David Marshall. Mark Kennedy then put the home side in front before Marshall denied Martyn Waghorn.

The League One play-off final between Sheffield United and Huddersfield in May 2012 might not live long in the memory for anything of note in the goalless 120 minutes, but the penalty shoot-out at the end was some reward for neutrals who stuck with it.

The Terriers missed their first three kicks to leave their Yorkshire rivals on the verge of promotion to the second tier, only for Danny Wilson's side to lose their nerve when it mattered most.

It came down to the goalkeepers and, after Town's Alex Smithies confidently slammed home, opposite number Steve Simonsen sent his effort into the Huddersfield fans behind the goal to send Simon Grayson's men up.

Last-day drama

Marcello Trotta
Marcello Trotta's penalty will live long in the memory of Brentford and Doncaster fans - for very different reasons

One thing was for sure when third-placed Brentford hosted second-placed Doncaster on the final day of the League One season in April 2013; one of them would end up celebrating promotion, while the play-offs would beckon for the other.

After a cagey 90 minutes the hosts were dramatically awarded a penalty in the final minute of time added on. Young Fulham loanee Marcello Trotta stood up to take it, knowing a goal would send the Bees into the second tier for the first time in 20 years.

However, the Italian smashed his spot-kick against the Rovers crossbar and, after a scramble, the visitors cleared the ball to the safety of striker Billy Paynter on the halfway line.

With no Bees player in the same postcode as him and with time almost up, Paynter headed towards goal before rolling the ball across the six-yard box where Rovers legend James Coppinger tapped home from all of two yards out in front of the jubilant Doncaster fans.

Paul Caddis celebrates after scoring Birmingham's crucial late equaliser
Paul Caddis' goal saved Birmingham from relegation to League One in 2014

Just over a year later, Rovers were at the opposite end of the last-day emotion spectrum.

They travelled to runaway champions Leicester needing only to match Birmingham City's result at Bolton to stay in the second tier.

With 76 minutes on the clock the South Yorkshire side trailed 1-0 but, with Blues 2-0 down, safety seemed to be assured.

A Nikola Zigic goal gave Blues some hope and, with time almost up, defender Paul Caddis headed home from three yards out to send 3,500 travelling Blues fans wild and consign Doncaster to relegation on goal difference.

Started from the bottom...

Eddie Howe
Eddie Howe guided Bournemouth to promotion from League Two up to the Premier League between 2010 and 2015

On 2 January 2010, Eddie Howe's Bournemouth fell to a 2-0 home defeat by Northampton Town in League Two.

Despite the disappointing result they were second in the fourth tier, already looking set to make a major improvement on the previous season where a 17-point deduction had left them scrapping for Football League survival.

The Cherries ended the season in second spot to seal promotion to League One.

Three years later, they went up to the second tier for the first time since 1987, with boss Howe, back for a second spell after a brief stint as Burnley boss, saying leading the club to the Championship "meant the world" to him.

Howe was celebrating promotion once again in 2015 as Bournemouth improbably secured their place in the Premier League for the first time.

A 14-game unbeaten run, which included an 8-0 win at Birmingham City, between October and December saw them top the table at the turn of the year and despite late pressure from a resurgent Norwich they held on to reach the top flight, where they have remained ever since.

It might not quite compare with Bournemouth's rapid rise through the leagues, but Norwich have managed to cram a lot into the past 10 years.

The Canaries won promotion from League One to the Championship in 2009-10 and secured back-to-back promotions the following campaign to reach the Premier League.

Relegated back to the Championship in 2014, they immediately went back up again in 2015, only to be relegated once more in 2016.

They won their fourth promotion of the decade last season as they stormed to the Championship title under Daniel Farke.

Current Premier League sides Sheffield United, Wolves, Brighton and Southampton all played in the third tier at some stage this decade.

Unlikely promotions

Ian Holloway
Blackpool boss Ian Holloway celebrates leading Blackpool to the Premier League with a 3-2 play-off final win over Cardiff in 2010
  • Blackpool - With one of the smallest budgets in the division, Ian Holloway worked miracles to guide the Seasiders to promotion to the Premier League with a play-off final victory over Cardiff City in May 2010.
  • Huddersfield - The Terriers defied the odds to secure their first ever promotion to the Premier League under German boss David Wagner in May 2017, just one season after finishing 19th in the Championship.
  • Yeovil - It might seem fanciful now the Glovers are a non-league side once more, but in 2013 Gary Johnson guided the Somerset club to the second tier for the first time in their history with a 2-1 play-off final win over Brentford.
  • Burton - The Brewers won promotion to League One in 2015 and their inaugural season in the third tier went rather better than expected as the Staffordshire side made light of losing boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to QPR to go up to the Championship under Nigel Clough.
  • Accrington - Despite having the second smallest attendance in the EFL, Stanley won promotion to the third tier for the first time in their history in 2018 under legendary boss John Coleman.

Paul Scholes was Oldham boss?!

Paul Scholes on the touchline at Oldham
Paul Scholes played more than 700 times for Manchester United during his playing career but lasted just 31 days as Oldham boss

Yes, among a few surprising EFL appointments in the decade, the former England and Manchester United man spent 31 days in charge of the League Two Latics in 2019.

Sol Campbell enjoyed rather more success in his time as Macclesfield boss, helping the Silkmen to avoid relegation to the National League in his first managerial posting.

Paolo di Canio's 21-month spell as Swindon manager was certainly eventful, with the Italian leading them to promotion to League One in his only full season before resigning in February 2013.

During his time in the County Ground hotseat, the former West Ham forward had a public fall-out with striker Leon Clarke, called goalkeeper Wes Foderingham "the worst professional he had ever seen" before a quick reconciliation, and claimed he had done "a fantastic job" to get the team promoted.

Some eyebrows were raised when Derby appointed Frank Lampard as manager in June 2018 but he helped the Rams to the Championship play-off final before leaving to take over at Chelsea after defeat by Aston Villa at Wembley.

One surprise Championship hiring that didn't work out so well was David Hockaday's spell in charge of Leeds.

The former Forest Green manager was controversial owner Massimo Cellino's first appointment as head coach at Elland Road, despite never having managed in the Football League before. He was sacked after just six games.

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