Fulham defeat Aston Villa in Championship play-off final to reach Premier League

Fulham defeat Aston Villa in Championship play-off final to reach Premier League

Fulham defeat Aston Villa in Championship play-off final to reach Premier League

The decisive blow came midway through the first half as Fulham offered a glimpse of the football that has earned so many plaudits this term, with 18-year-old Ryan Sessegnon superbly threading through Cairney to fire home.

Fulham will now join Wolverhampton Wanderers and Cardiff City in the top flight next season after the Cottagers defeated Aston Villa 1-0 in the final this weekend. But let's not forget we are Aston Villa, a proud club, a big club.

It was an unforgettable evening for Fulham, who were making their first appearance at Wembley since losing the 1975 FA Cup final against West Ham. Villa regardless created chances that superior teams would have taken, so Fulham could prove at risk by playing that same way in the Premier League. He stamped on Jack Grealish, right in front of me.

However, two minutes later, Fulham were ahead.

Grealish was Villa's brightest spark throughout the encounter, with the playmaker on the end of a number of meaty challenges. The 19-year-old left-sided player is widely regarded as one of the most talented youngsters in the English game and he will be able to test himself on the country's highest stage next season.

"The second half we were much better".

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"We believe we can play this way, but we must know what characters and what players we need".

Going on the Championship's longest unbeaten run of the season, Fulham brought that same level of poise and quality into their showcase game with Villa. His bewitching second-half surge upfield did deserve to finish with the ball rippling the net.

As ever, the ramification from the Championship play-off final will rumble on for many years to come and for Fulham, the glory is all theirs.

There was to be no fairy tale ending for Villa and they only had themselves to blame after a poor first half showing handed Fulham all the incentive they needed to push for the win.

Having won his two previous play-off finals, Bruce was on the losing side for the first time and despite an improved performance from his team after the break, they didn't really do enough on the day.

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