Aston Villa are back in the Premier League following a 2-1 Championship playoff final victory over Derby County.
Goals from Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn gave Dean Smith’s side the win despite a Derby late fightback.
The team in Claret and Blue end a three-year exile from the English top flight while their beaten midlands rivals suffer yet more heartbreak at this stage.
Derby have now reached the playoffs four times in the last six seasons and failed to win promotion on each occasion.
For their opponents, it was a feeling of redemption following defeat in last year’s final against Fulham.
Watched by arguably their most famous supporter in Prince William, Villa were victors in the ‘richest game in football’, with the club reportedly set for a £170m windfall from their top flight return.
Villa started the game the brighter and Jack Griealish could have opened the scoring after just five minutes.
However, having creating space for himself on the edge of the penalty area, the skipper could only watch his effort fly over the bar.
It was a similar story for Tammy Abraham as his attempted curler from the left hand side of the box unfortunately beat both keeper Kelle Roos and the Derby goal.
The Rams mustered a couple of half chances in response, but Mason Mount’s long-range drive was merely catching practice for Jed Steer, while Richard Keogh’s header from a corner drifted over.
With the half on the brink of ending goalless, Ahmed El Mohamady found himself in space on the right hand side and fired a dangerous cross into the penalty area.
Making a late run at the far post, Anwar El Ghazi stooped to beat defender Jaydon Bogle to the ball and his diving header gave Dean Smith’s side the lead.
Frank Lampard’s side then found themselves with a mountain to climb just before the hour mark as Villa doubled their lead after the break.
Roos failed to judge the flight of El Ghazi’s deflected shot, allowing Villa’s player of the season John McGinn an easy header from 6 yards out.
Derby refused to give in and substitute Jack Marriott pulled a goal back on 80 minutes with a cool finish from close range.
Howvever, despite seven minutes of stoppage time following injury and lengthy treatment to Tyrone Mings, Villa were able to withstand late pressure from the East Midlanders and will play Premier League football for the first time since relegation in 2016.