Plymouth Argyle, Southend United, Stevenage and Wycombe Wanderers all have something in common, other than the fact they're competing in this season's Sky Bet League 2 Play-Offs.Unlike any other division in this term's end-of-season showdowns, these four contenders all have previous experience of winning the Play-Offs. Here, we take a look back through the history books.
This will be the third time that Plymouth have taken part in the Football League Play-Offs and their semi-final first leg against Wycombe Wanderers takes place at Home Park on Saturday at 7.45pm.
Their first Play-Off voyage came in 1993/94 when, under Peter Shilton, they came third in Division Two (League 1). Argyle took on Burnley over two legs in the semi-finals and, after a 0-0 draw on the road, they suffered a 3-1 defeat in the reverse match.
Two years later they were back in the Play-Offs, but this time in Division Three (League 2) and Colchester United were their semi-final opponents. A 1-0 loss in the first leg was followed by a 3-1 success in the second tie, taking them to the final at Wembley against Darlington. Ronnie Mauge scored the only goal of the final and Neil Warnock's Pilgrims sealed promotion in front of 43,431 at the national stadium.
Martin O'Neill was the first manager to lead Wycombe into the Play-Offs, in 1993/94, and it ended in promotion as they saw off Preston North End in the Division Three final, after a 4-1 aggregate semi-final win over Carlisle United.
Since then, they've lost two Play-Off semi-finals 2-1 on aggregate; firstly against Cheltenham Town in 2005/06 under the stewardship of John Gorman, before Paul Lambert's Wanderers suffered the same fate against Stockport County in 2007/08.
Gareth Ainsworth will now lead the club into their fourth Sky Bet League 2 Play-Off campaign, after a fourth-placed finish in the regular season.
Southend are the most experienced Play-Off campaigners out of all the Sky Bet League 2 contenders as they've competed in them on four occasions.
Their first appearance in 2005 ended with success as they saw off Lincoln City 2-0 in the League 2 final at the Millennium Stadium, with Freddy Eastwood and Duncan Jupp scoring the crucial extra-time goals.
Since then though, they've suffered three semi-final defeats; against Doncaster Rovers (2007/08 – League 1), Crewe (2011/12 – League 2) and Burton Albion (2013/14 – League 2).
Graham Westley's Stevenage came into The Football League in 2010 and tasted Play-Off success in their first season, beating Torquay United 1-0 in the League 2 final at Old Trafford, following a semi-final triumph over Accrington Stanley.
And they were at it again 12 months later in League 1, although they suffered a narrow 1-0 aggregate semi-final defeat at the hands of Sheffield United, with Gary Smith at the helm after Westley had left for Preston North End.
With Westley back in the dugout, it's no surprise to see Stevenage back in the Sky Bet League 2 Play-Offs this term for their third end-of-season Football League showdown, and their first leg against Southend takes place at the Lamex Stadium on Sunday evening (6.35pm kick-off).
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