Levi Colwill’s own goal was the difference as Nottingham Forest secured promotion to the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town in the Championship play-off final.
In the first half, Steve Cooper’s side was in the ascendancy, and their reward at Wembley Stadium arrived.
When Colwill turned into his own net after 43 minutes.
Huddersfield was left aggrieved in the second half after referee Jonathan Moss did not award Harry Toffolo a penalty for a challenge by Jack Colback, and Lewis O’Brien had a strong case for a spot-kick.
But Forest held firm to secure their return to the Premier League for the first time since the 1998-99 season.
Forest made a promising start as Ryan Yates flicked a header narrowly wide from a James Garner free-kick.
Yates skewed another presentable chance over, but the pressure from Cooper’s side seemed to have subsided until just before the interval when Colwill inadvertently diverted into his own goal following Garner’s teasing cross.
Yates tamely fired into the hands of Huddersfield’s Lee Nicholls after the break, while an unmarked Jonathan Hogg wastefully headed over from Sorba Thomas’ corner at the other end.
Huddersfield grew into the game past the hour mark, and Toffolo thought he had won a penalty.
But he was instead booked for diving after going down under the challenge of Colback.
O’Brien had what looked to be a similarly strong appeal turned down following clumsy play from Max Lowe, leaving Huddersfield furious in defeat as Forest – who had to take off goalkeeper Brice Samba due to injury – gained promotion.
What does it mean? Cooper ends the play-off hoodoo.
Forest is playing in their first English Football League play-off final.
They were the dominant force for large parts against Carlos Corberan’s side and earned a deserved victory.
Twice European Cup winners in the days of Brian Clough, Forest will feel they have rightfully returned to the English top-flight, while Cooper has finally won promotion through the Championship play-offs at the third time of asking.
Cooper’s incredible turnaround.
Cooper inherited a Forest side that was languishing in the relegation zone in the season’s early stages after Chris Hughton’s dismissal in mid-September.
He has transformed Forest’s fortunes, triumphing in 27 of his 45 games in charge at a win percentage of 60.
The highest of any Forest manager to take charge of at least 15 games.
Since the club joined the Football League in 1892-93.
Chelsea loanee Colwill was unfortunate as he poked past his goalkeeper Lee Nicholls in the first half.
That made Colwill the first player to score an own goal in a Championship play-off final since Allen in 2011.
And Huddersfield could not recover from then on.
Forest can prepare for life in the big time, with the Premier League fixtures confirmed next month.
And the new season is starting in early August. Huddersfield will go again in the Championship next term.
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