After 23 years of waiting, one goal changed it all for Nottingham Forest.
Championship play-off winners with a 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town in their first visit to the new Wembley, Forest are heading back to the Premier League for the first time since 1999 thanks to an own goal from Levi Colwill. With promotion comes an estimated £170million due to the riches of the top-flight.
Huddersfield will feel hard done by after two penalty shouts were waved away by retiring referee John Moss — one of which was checked by VAR as Harry Toffolo was booked for simulation after appearing to go down under a challenge from Jack Colback.
Forest's winner came at a crucial point in the match, just before half-time, after they had put sustained pressure on Huddersfield's defence as Ryan Yates flashed a header wide before playing a crucial role in the decisive moment.
"They're never thrillers are they?," said an emotional Steve Cooper after the match. "And I don't apologise for not a perfect performance, there's too much expectation. So it's probably a typical play-off final game, I would say. I thought we controlled the first half and the possession. Huddersfield, by the way, (I have) a huge amount of respect for Carlos (Corberan) and the team and I know they'll bounce back because of the way he coaches his team, but they were deep and we had to be careful of counter-attacks.
"We had to be careful at set-pieces which we managed really well. I know the goal was a somewhat scruffy one, although it was a good ball in from James (Garner) — that was exactly the game plan. Surround the box, wing-backs high, midfield players and one of the centre-backs get ready to serve into that block and then be creative in amongst it. In the end, we found a way."
Cooper summarised the goal well with the move starting from Keinan Davis' pass in the channel back to Garner, with the on-loan Aston Villa striker having drifted wide to collect the ball.
His pass to feet is shown below and came after an exchange of passes starting on the right flank before the ball was worked across the top of the box to Philip Zinckernagel and then Joe Worrall. Man of the match Scott McKenna's advanced position also offered an option and a welcome distraction as Garner crossed from deep.
Garner's impressive passing ability helped Forest dominate possession in the first half with 68 per cent of the ball to Huddersfield's 32 per cent and his placement of the ball into the area, whether a shot or a cross, put it right on Yates' toe with a crucial bounce to throw Colwill off balance. The placement and the fact that Yates raises an arm to call for the ball as he starts his run suggests it could have been a spectacular cross rather than a speculative shot.
Key to the whole move was an expert duck by Colback as Garner's cross dipped right over his head. It was crucial in catching the Huddersfield backline by surprise in a game defined by tight margins.
After plenty of years of bad luck, things swung the other way for Forest when Colback was involved in the other major talking point of the afternoon as he stuck out a leg and looked to collide with the trailing leg of Toffolo, who was shown a yellow card for simulation. VAR chose not to overrule Moss's decision — though cameras caught Colback making the sign of the cross over his chest once the review came back in Forest's favour.
After starting from the foot of the league table to win promotion, Cooper's side have given fans a season they will never forget.
"We are worthy this year of getting promoted," he said. "I don't know that anyone can deny that."