Fulham booked their immediate return to the Premier League as Joe Bryan struck twice in extra-time to see them past Brentford 2-1 in the Championship play-off final.
Bryan scored a remarkable 105th-minute free-kick at Wembley on Tuesday night to give his side the lead. Facing a 35-yard distance between himself and the goal, Bryan looked as though he was going to cross it but instead bent one straight into the corner, completely wrong-footing David Raya in the Brentford goal.
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The left-back then added another in the dying minutes to seal his side's spot back in the Premier League after just a season away.
Brentford, meanwhile, who were trying to end a 73-year wait to reach the big time, will have to deal with yet another play-off failure. Henrik Dalsgaard grabbed them a last-gasp consolation, but there was no way back and it is now nine attempts in their history without managing to seal promotion on a single occasion.
Bryan's magic seals Fulham's win at Wembley
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It was a strange first half in many ways. An open, attacking game was expected due to the lack of an atmosphere that usually builds so much pressure for a play-off final, and it was Fulham who dealt with the conditions earlier on, pressing Brentford high up the pitch and creating a couple of opportunities for Josh Onomah to test Raya.
While Brentford may have felt a little fortunate to go into the break goalless, they could also have felt aggrieved to not go in with a man advantage. On 30 minutes Harrison Reed could easily have been dismissed for a studs-up challenge into the ankle of Christian Norgaard, but referee Martin Atkinson opted to only book the Fulham midfielder.
The game became cagier as it went on, as play-off finals so often tend to do. Midway through the second half Fulham may well have picked up another red card as Tom Cairney went in rashly on Said Benrhama, but again the referee opted only for a yellow.
On 71 minutes we finally saw a goalkeeper called into action again, too. Ollie Watkins had been starved of service throughout much of the game but picked up the ball on the edge of the box before seeing his stinging drive tipped over the bar by Marek Rodak.
It became a question of when, not if, Scott Parker would introduce Aleksandar Mitrovic - and the Championship Golden Boot winner, who missed both semi-final legs, finally came in in second-half stoppage-time.
But it was Bryan who provided the magic in the end, with his free-kick nudging his side in front, before combining with Mitrovic in the 117th minute and sending a low strike past the helpless Raya.
Dalsgaard then managed to bundle the ball home in added time in extra-time, but there was no way back for Brentford. They had to watch their fierce rivals celebrate at full-time, and will now have to prepare for another season in the Championship.
Man of the Match - Joe Bryan
Could it be anyone else? As defining moments in a big game go, this was one of the very best. Such quick thinking and such good technique after 105 minutes of slogging to put Fulham ahead with a quite wonderful free-kick. It's not one David Raya will want to remember.
Then, at a time where he should have been sat back holding onto a lead, he got his tired legs working again to burst into the box and finish off the game. A wonderful performance from the left-back.
"[Parker told me to] whip it in the near post," Bryan told Sky Sports of his incredible free-kick. "The goalkeeper comes ridiculously far off his line. That's what we've practised this week. [The eyes] are from my dad. We used to practice in the field and he'd give me the eyes when I had to go in goal."
What the managers said...
Brentford's Thomas Frank: "First I would like to say congratulations to Fulham, Scott Parker, his coaching staff and everyone involved. Of course it's tough when you lose a final like this in a very tight game but I'm extremely proud of my players.
"We have gone from a mid-table club to a team who, in the league table, was the third-best team. We are very fine margins away from the Premier League, which is an incredible achievement from us."
Fulham's Scott Parker: "I feel emotional. The journey you go on, the ups and downs, along the way the disappointment, I'm the face who fronts up but behind the scenes is a support network of people that keep you going in those times and those moments. That's why I feel emotional, I feel for the people who aren't here, the people who've supported the team and me as manager, sometimes you've not always got that and I'm very proud of my team, so so proud of them.
"I've learned so much this season. I'm sure I'll be learning until my career as a manager ends, but this season couldn't have got much tougher, I've said it many times about the team and where we were a year ago. We had some big, open wounds that probably from the outside no one saw.
"There were some deep-rooted issues in the club which come with relegation, losing a lot of matches, and that needed to be addressed. They're still there, we've done what we've done tonight, but there's still improvement.
"That's what makes me so proud and happy, that for all the good players and everything you see, what makes me happy is seeing a group of players who were struggling psychologically a year ago, didn't have a mindset to drive and drive this team every single day, and I see a team tonight that represents what I've been saying over the last year."
Analysis: 'Parker got tactics spot on'
Aston Villa boss, and former Brentford manager, Dean Smith on Sky Sports...
"The first feeling will be relief [for Fulham]. That's what you're trying to do, right from the start, get promoted. They'll be elated after that. It's a fantastic achievement. To come down, it's tough because you have to change a losing mentality around. The job Scott Parker has done is tremendous.
"Defensively tonight they were outstanding, they were very compact tactically and kept a free-scoring team really quiet. I think Ollie Watkins had one shot all game. They're the top scorers in the league, and to do that with the biggest prize up for grabs is some achievement."
Liam Rosenior on Sky Sports...
"On the night, I think Scott Parker got his tactics spot on. We spoke from the beginning and half-time, he was very pragmatic and that's a sign of a top-level manager. He knew the strengths of Brentford, he said to Joe Bryan about the goalkeeper's position.
"It's one thing to have a player shooting from 45 yards, it's another thing doing it. But full credit to him and the rest of the squad. We're sat in the stands at an empty Wembley, every single player on the bench, that wasn't in the squad was screaming, encouraging their team-mates.
"When you're a manager, who can bring that spirit to a football club, I think Scott Parker's done a fantastic job."
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