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Swindon scuppered their own chances of automatic promotion - although they didn't lose any of their last ten matches, they drew six of their last eight, forcing them down the newly-introduced route of the play-offs. They met Wigan Athletic in the semi-finals, winning 3-2 in the first leg at Wigan, then drawing the home match 0-0. Gillingham knocked out Sunderland in the other semi, condemning them to relegation.
In the first leg of the final, a single goal from David Smith nine minutes from time gave Gillingham victory, in a game in which Swindon were generally on top. The second leg was played at the County Ground, and Swindon controlled throughout. Despite this, Gillingham took the lead in the 17th minute with a 20 yard volley from Karl Elsey, with their only attack of the first half - giving them a 2-0 aggregate lead.
Peter Coyne gave the fans hope with a goal with half an hour to go, then, with just 12 minutes left, Charlie Henry put the Town 2-1 up on the night, and level on aggregate. Despite the away goals rule being in force in the semi-finals, in wasn't in place for the final, so the game went to a replay.
Ten thousand Town fans travelled to Selhurst Park for the game. They weren't disappointed. Steve White gave Swindon the lead after just two minutes, after a long ball from Phil King was flicked on by Charlie Henry. Swindon remained on top for the rest of the first half, but despite creating many chances, they failed to add to their lead.
After the break, it was Gillingham's turn to take the initiative, forcing Fraser Digby to make some great saves. Then, in the 66th minute and against the run of play, Steve White grabbed his second goal of the night - running the ball into the penalty area, and beating the 'keeper with a low drive.
Still Gillingham pressed on, forcing Charlie Henry to revert to a defensive role, but they failed to breach the Town's defence. The Town fans, who had out sang their Gillingham counterparts all evening, stayed to celebrate after the match.