Huddersfield 0-1 Nottingham Forest: Steve Cooper’s side seal Premier League return after 23-year absence

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 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Nottingham Forest ended their 23-year absence from the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Huddersfield in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

Levi Colwill’s own goal in the first-half put Forest in front and they held firm after the break to join Fulham and Bournemouth in securing promotion to the top-flight.

Forest were bottom of the table when Steve Cooper took charge in September but stormed up the table to book their place in the play-offs. A penalty shootout-win over Sheffield United got them to Wembley, setting the stage to get the job done in a tight encounter against Huddersfield.

After a relatively even start at Wembley, Forest had a massive chance to take the lead with just over ten minutes on the clock. A lovely free-kick was whipped into the box, Ryan Yates was completely free but he flicked his header wide of the far post.

Huddersfield sat right off and allowed Forest to have pretty much all of the ball, focusing their efforts on the occasional counter. Sorba Thomas had a couple of nice moments on the break but he found himself isolated out on the left.

The Terriers’ most dangerous moments came from corners, as Danny Ward has a shot block, before they fell behind on the verge of half-time.

James Garner, on loan from Manchester United, whipped a low ball into the box and under pressure from Yates, Colwill could only turn it into the top corner of his own net.

Huddersfield were much-improved after the break as they emerged with far more purpose. Jonathan Hogg could well have equalised for his side but made a mess of a decent headed chance from a corner as he made a near-post run.

It was a similar encounter to the first-hald but with the roles reversed, as Huddersfield enjoyed plenty of possession but struggled to break down the mass of defensive bodies in front of them.

Harry Toffolo went down in the box under a challenge from Jack Colback though he received a yellow card for diving rather than a penalty, a decision upheld after a VAR check. Replays suggested Huddersfield were unfortunate not to get the decision.

The Terriers had another penalty appeal when Lewis O’Brien thought he was fouled by Max Lowe, as the pair tangled legs in the box, but once again the officials had no interest.

A late charge from Huddersfield never really materialised, as Cooper’s side stayed solid and showed no signs of nerves in the closing minutes. For the first time since the turn of the century, top-flight football returns to the City Ground.

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