The 2011 Football League Championship play-off final was a football match contested by Reading and Swansea City on 30 May 2011 at Wembley Stadium to decide the third team to be promoted from the Championship to the Premier League for the 2011–12 season.
Under Championship play-off rules, the final is contested by the two teams which secured an aggregate victory over two-legged semi-finals, with the team that finished sixth in the league table (Nottingham Forest) having played third (Swansea City), and fifth (Reading) having played fourth (Cardiff City).
Swansea City won the final by a scoreline of 4–2. The Welsh side went into half-time 3–0 up thanks to two goals from Scott Sinclair and a third from Stephen Dobbie. Reading came close to bringing the score level in the early stages of the second-half through a Joe Allen own goal and a headed goal from Matt Mills. Swansea however, secured victory in the 80th minute with their second penalty kick of the game, converted by Sinclair for his second career hat-trick.
Due to the UEFA Champions League 2011 final being held at Wembley Stadium on 28 May 2011, it appeared that the three Football League play-off finals may have to be played at a different venue for the first time since 2007 due to the double-booking of Wembley.
Manchester United's Old Trafford had been confirmed as a possible alternative, while Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff were also said to be under consideration to host the Championship, League One and League Two play-off finals.
It was later confirmed that Wembley would host the Championship play-off final on 30 May, while Old Trafford would host the League Two and League One finals on 28 and 29 May respectively.
The two-legged semi-finals determined that the final would be contested by Reading and Swansea City.
Swansea City won 3–1 on aggregate.
Reading won 3–0 on aggregate.
Accountancy firm Deloitte calculated that the Championship play-off final would again be worth about £90,000,000 to the winner, including over £40,000,000 of higher broadcast income, gate receipts and commercial income in the 2011-12 Premier League.
A win would also see Reading return to the Premier League after a three-year absence. Swansea City last played in England's top-flight in 1983, but a victory would make them the first Welsh team to enter the contemporary 'Premier League' since its establishment in 1992.
A hat-trick which included two penalty kicks from Scott Sinclair helped Swansea City secure promotion to the Premier League for the first time since 1983. Two goals in two first-half minutes for Sinclair, the first a penalty, and a third from Stephen Dobbie saw the Welsh side go into the dressing room at half-time with a seemingly comfortable 3–0 advantage.
Television reports suggested that in the tunnel at half-time, Reading's assistant manager Nigel Gibbs and unused substitute Jay Tabb were both sent off by referee Phil Dowd.
Reading struck back early in the second half, however, through a Noel Hunt header which deflected in off Joe Allen for an own goal and a headed goal by Matt Mills to pull the score back to 3–2. Reading came close to an equaliser when Jem Karacan's shot was deflected onto the post, but Sinclair sealed it for the Swans with an 80th-minute penalty, and in doing so completing his second career hat-trick.
Source: BBC Sport