Wembley win promotes Palace

Crystal Palace will play in the Premier League next season after Kevin Phillips' extra-time penalty earned a 1-0 win over Watford in the Championship play-off final.

Last Updated: 27/05/13 at 19:19 Post Comment

Kevin Phillips: Celebrates scoring the winner from the penalty spot

Kevin Phillips: Celebrates scoring the winner from the penalty spot

Free £50 bet

Daily Offers and Promotions, sign up for a free £50 matched bet

After 90 minutes had failed to produce a goal at Wembley, Palace eventually scored the winner their second-half dominance deserved just before the halfway point in extra-time, when Manchester United-bound Wilfried Zaha earned a spot-kick, which was ruthlessly dispatched by substitute Phillips.

The victory will see Ian Holloway's side return to the top flight after an eight-year absence and bank an estimated £120million. Gianfranco Zola's Watford, who were never allowed to get into their stride, must try again next season after narrowly missing out on automatic promotion on the final day of the season.

The two previous Championship meetings between the sides produced nine goals but the first half at Wembley was a tight and tense affair, with neither goalkeeper tested.

Watford dangerman Matej Vydra was given a sight of goal on 33 minutes when neat interplay around the edge of the box saw the ball break for the Championship Player of the Year. But as he looked to bend a shot with his right instep, Damien Delaney threw himself across to get in a splendid block.

The challenge left Vydra with an ankle knock and the Czech forward was unable to continue after half-time, with Spaniard Alex Geijo coming off the bench to start the second half.

The game's first real opportunity came just before the hour mark, when Aaron Wilbraham was played in behind the Watford defence. The Palace forward, though, was eventually reined in by the chasing centre-halves, who were allowed to get goal-side and block when Wilbraham tried to cut inside and shoot.

Manuel Almunia was finally tested in the 65th minute, when the former Arsenal goalkeeper made a fine block to keep out substitute Stuart O'Keefe's firm drive after good hold-up play by Zaha.

From the resulting corner, Almunia was forced to get down low again when no one in the Watford defence took responsibility for clearing a bouncing ball, gifting an opportunity to Wilbraham. The goalkeeper, though, sprang from his line to smother the Palace striker's shot.

With Palace in the ascendancy, Holloway sent on Phillips for the last quarter, and the veteran forward was soon involved in the 72nd minute. Zaha's deep cross was nodded back by Phillips to Owen Garvan, but his shot drifted wide of the far post.

Garvan did find the target with eight minutes remaining with a volley after a brilliant touch and spin in the box, but Almunia was well positioned to make the catch, just as he was two minutes later when Wilbraham created a yard of space but his shot was blocked by the keeper's left foot.

Palace tested Almunia once more in added time, when Mile Jedinak headed a corner towards goal but the Watford stopper sprang to his left to make a diving catch.

After remaining untested during normal time, Palace keeper Julian Speroni made a wonderful save early in extra-time when he dived to his left at the feet of Troy Deeney to deny the Watford striker a tap in from two yards. Speroni then stood firm to hold Cristian Battocchio's swerving drive from 25 yards.

The breakthrough finally arrived in the 105th minute. Zaha's trickery fooled Marco Cassetti, who was tempted into a challenge that sent the Palace winger crashing to the Wembley turf. Phillips took the spot-kick and smashed the ball into the top corner beyond the dive of Almunia.

Watford pressed late on and Palace were thankful for two interventions by defender Joel Ward, the second of which was a header off the line to keep out Fernando Forestieri's effort.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

There are no results at present.

Sky Bet Championship

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Birmingham 0 0 0
2 Blackburn 0 0 0
3 Blackpool 0 0 0
4 Bolton 0 0 0
5 Bournemth 0 0 0
6 Brentford 0 0 0
7 Brighton 0 0 0
8 Cardiff 0 0 0
9 Charlton 0 0 0
10 Derby 0 0 0
11 Fulham 0 0 0
12 Huddersfld 0 0 0
13 Ipswich 0 0 0
14 Leeds 0 0 0
15 Middlesbro' 0 0 0
16 Millwall 0 0 0
17 Norwich 0 0 0
18 N Forest 0 0 0
19 Reading 0 0 0
20 Rotherham 0 0 0
21 Sheff Wed 0 0 0
22 Watford 0 0 0
23 Wigan 0 0 0
24 Wolves 0 0 0

Updated Mon, 14 Jul 2014

Footer 365

Danny Higginbotham backs Manchester United's Luke Shaw to overcome fitness issues

Former Stoke and Manchester United defender Danny Higginbotham has backed Luke Shaw to overcome recent fitness issues.

Transfer news: Sheffield Wednesday sign Tom Lees from Leeds

Sheffield Wednesday have signed defender Tom Lees from Leeds United for an undisclosed fee.

Transfer news: Juventus insist Arturo Vidal will remain at the club

Juventus have reiterated that Manchester United-linked Arturo Vidal will remain with the Bianconeri next term.

Mail Box

Sterling Stuff And Other Friendly Thoughts

We have one reader reaching conclusions from last night's friendly while we have others discussing Romelu Lukaku's move to Everton. Oh and some swearing...

Divock Origi Is Like Connor Sammon (Sort Of)

One Mailboxer inserts his tongue into cheek to offer his thoughts on Liverpool's newest signing. Plus thoughts on league-owned clubs, badges, and swearing...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property