Five cup finals involving Football League clubs

With Wigan Athletic and Sheffield United attempting to reach the FA Cup final this weekend, Sports Mole looks back at five cup finals involving Football League teams.

This weekend will see Wigan Athletic and Sheffield United attempt to join an illustrious number of Football League clubs who have managed to reach either the FA Cup or League Cup final.

Each of the domestic cup competitions have been known for many fairytale stories throughout their history, but rarely has a team from outside the top flight progressed through to the final.

Below, Sports Mole takes a look back at the last five finals that have included a Football League side.

1. 2001 League Cup final: Liverpool vs. Birmingham City

Birmingham City's main target for the 2000-01 campaign was to try to win promotion to the Premier League, but after progressing past Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup, they found themselves in with a shout of glory.

After a dramatic semi-final triumph over Ipswich Town, Liverpool stood in their way at the Millennium Stadium but a first-half goal from Robbie Fowler left Trevor Francis's team with it all to do after the break.

However, after a frustrating second half, Darren Purse netted from the penalty spot to take the match into extra time, but neither side could add a second to prevent the final heading to penalties.

With the score at 4-4, the shootout reach a sudden-death scenario, with Birmingham's Andrew Johnson missing the crucial penalty for the Division One side.

2. 2004 FA Cup final: Manchester United vs. Millwall

The 2004 FA Cup campaign saw the draw be remarkably kind to Millwall, who weren't paired with a Premier League team throughout their run to the final.

However, after defeating Sunderland to reach the Millennium Stadium showpiece, the Lions, managed by Dennis Wise, found Manchester United awaiting them as they looked to win the competition for the first time in their history.

Despite a gutsy first-half effort, Millwall conceded a minute before the break before two Ruud van Nistelrooy goals condemned the Londoners to a 3-0 loss.

A runners-up spot was enough for Millwall to qualify for the UEFA Cup, but they bowed out in the first round to Hungarian club Ferencvaros.

Despite having only broken into the senior side a year earlier, Fletcher started the 2004 FA Cup final against Millwall.© Getty Images

3. 2008 FA Cup final: Portsmouth vs. Cardiff City

Like with Millwall, Cardiff received a favourable path to the 2008 FA Cup final, with Middlesbrough being their only Premier League scalp in their five ties.

Portsmouth awaited the Bluebirds in an unlikely final pairing, but Pompey, whose team included an array of star names, were the heavy favourites going into the encounter at Wembley.

The match itself proved to be a disappointing affair, with Nwankwo Kanu netting the only goal of the game as Cardiff were denied their first FA Cup success in 81 years.

4. 2012 League Cup final: Liverpool vs. Cardiff City

Four years later, Cardiff returned to Wembley for the League Cup final with Liverpool after edging past Crystal Palace on penalties in the semi-finals.

The Welsh outfit were huge underdogs against the Merseyside giants but Joe Mason stunned Wembley by giving Cardiff the lead after 19 minutes.

A Martin Skrtel effort took the match into extra time, and Liverpool looked on course for victory after Dirk Kuyt netted with 12 minutes remaining.

However, Ben Turner struck with two minutes left to leave Cardiff dreaming of a memorable win, but three missed penalties in the shootout left the Championship outfit heartbroken after their second final loss in four years.

5. 2013 League Cup final: Swansea City vs. Bradford City

Bradford City captured the nation's imagination during the 2012-13 season as the League Two club enjoyed a miracle run to the final of the League Cup.

The Bantams saw off Arsenal and Aston Villa to progress through to a final with Swansea City, with a place in the Europa League also available to the winner.

The Wembley showdown proved to be a forgettable occasion for Phil Parkinson's side as they quickly fell a goal behind to their Premier League opponents, and that soon became 3-0 at the start of the second half.

Goalkeeper Matt Duke was dismissed on the hour mark to add to Bradford's woes, and the minnows ended the match, which they lost 5-0, having registered just three shots on goal.

Liverpool's Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt celebrates with Liverpool's Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles and Liverpool's Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos after scoring his third goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manch
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