Brentford 1-2 Fulham: Fulham beat Brentford to secure Premier League promotion as Joe Bryan stars in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.
After an incredible 368 days after the 2019-20 Championship season commenced, two exquisite extra-time goals from Joe Bryan sealed the win for Fulham, who return to England’s top-flight having been relegated just last year.
While Fulham entered the game as the more experienced of the two, having won the play-off final against Aston Villa just two years ago, it was Brentford who came out on top in the Championship, securing two victories over the Cottagers with an aggregate score of 3-0.
Scott Parker made two changes to his Fulham side that beat Cardiff in the semi-final, with Denis Odoi and Aboubakar Kamara coming in, with a still not fully fit Aleksandar Mitrovic on the bench. Meanwhile, Thomas Frank made just the one change after their Swansea win, Josh Dasilva drafted into the team.
It was Fulham who started the brighter, with Josh Onomah – full of confidence after his phenomenal semi-final solo effort against Swansea – forcing a save out of a diving David Raya.
But they should perhaps have found themselves a man down at the break after Harrison Reed was shown just a yellow card following a lunging challenge on Brentford’s Christian Norgaard.
With just 45 minutes at an empty Wembley Stadium to decide their Premier League fate, both sides emerged with an increased impetus to attack. But it wasn’t until the 70th minute that Brentford’s star striker Ollie Watkins got a sniff at goal, his rising 20-yard effort tipped over the bar by Rodak.
The two sides were forced into an additional 30 minutes, the match extending into extra time after the London duo proved inseparable in the first 90.
You got the feeling a moment of magic would be needed to prevent penalties, and that’s exactly what happened. Bryan stood over a free-kick on the left, with Raya expecting nothing other than across. The full-back improvised, however, his curling effort beating the ‘keeper at his near post to send Fulham into wild jubilation.
Brentford proceeded to attack with everything they had, desperate to return to England’s top flight for the first time since 1947.
But Fulham put the game beyond doubt with just three minutes remaining – and it was Bryan once more. He burst forward from defence, played an exquisite one-two with substitute Mitrovic before sliding past Raya from six yards out.
Henrik Dalsgaard clawed a goal back for Brentford in the dying seconds, but it was nothing more than a consolation goal, with the full-time whistle coming seconds later.
For Brentford, their wait for a Premier League return – which spans all the way back to 1947 – continues. For Parker, on the other hand, he – and his Fulham side – are back in the big league.