A brilliant brace from surprise hero Joe Bryan proved the difference this evening, as Fulham got the better of Brentford in the Championship playoff final.
Bryan decides it
Scott Parker’s men went head-to-head with the Bees at Wembley a short time ago, in the final fixture of the season’s English football calendar.
The importance of the matchup of course could not be emphasised enough ahead of kick-off, with the victors set to book their spot in the Premier League for the 2020/21 campaign.
Fulham were seeking out an immediate return to the top-tier of English football, on the back of their relegation last year.
Brentford, on the other hand, were eyeing up a first-ever Premier League berth.
And, when all was said and done in the English capital, it was Fulham who got the job done.
A cagey, uninspired opening 90 minutes, during which both sides struggled to carve out meaningful opportunities, eventually saw this evening’s clash forced into extra-time.
And it was from here that an unexpected match-winner stepped forward.
After Fulham were awarded a free-kick in what appeared a relatively unthreatening position with 105 minutes on the clock, Joe Bryan stepped up to bend a wonderful effort around the Brentford wall and in, catching David Raya completely off guard.
And, incredibly, with 3 minutes to go in extra-time, Bryan was back at it again, slotting home on the back of a neat one-two with Aleksandar Mitrovic to all but ensure victory.
Brentford, to their credit, continued to battle hard, and did manage to pull one back courtesy of Henrik Dalsgaard’s header.
But the Bees’ solitary goal proved the last kick of the game, with Thomas Frank’s men now facing another season of hard work in their hopes of finally securing a historic Premier League spot.
Parker’s men are back
For Fulham, though, it is of course time to celebrate.
The post-match scenes at Wembley saw Scott Parker reduced to tears, with match-winner Bryan deservedly showered in praise.
A season back in the big time now awaits the Londoners, with the added bonus of a £135 million cash injection also no doubt a welcome arrival at Craven Cottage:
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