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Nottingham Forest are back to the Premier League, how it happened

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Nottingham Forest back in the PL
| PHOTO: Getty Images |
  • Nottingham Forest are back to the English Premier League securing the last available slot for next season’s Premier League campaign
  • Forest defeated Huddersfield Town in the Championship play-off final 1-0 to secure their slot in English’s top-flight next season
  • It was a thrilling final that lacked goals but an own goal proved to be the difference at Wembley

Nottingham Forest are back to the Premier League after a 23-year wait thanks to a victory over Huddersfield in the Championship play-off final.

Levi Colwill’s own goal was the difference as Nottingham Forest secured promotion to the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town in the Championship play-off final.

Steve Cooper’s side was in the ascendancy in the first half and their reward at Wembley Stadium arrived when Colwill turned into his own net after 43 minutes.

Huddersfield 0-1 Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest players celebrate after Huddersfield defender Levi Colwill scored an own goal in the Championship play-off final. The own goal proved decisive as it was the only goal of the match to earn Nottingham a place in next season’s Premier League campaign. | PHOTO: Getty Images |

Huddersfield was left aggrieved in the second half after referee Jonathan Moss did not award Harry Toffolo a penalty for a challenge by Jack Colback, and Lewis O’Brien had a strong case for a spot-kick too.

But Forest held firm to secure their return to the Premier League for the first time since the 1998-99 season. Forest made a promising start as Ryan Yates flicked a header narrowly wide from a James Garner free-kick.

Yates skewed another presentable chance over but the pressure from Cooper’s side seemed to have subsided until just before the interval when Colwill inadvertently diverted into his own goal following Garner’s teasing cross.

Yates tamely fired into the hands of Huddersfield’s Lee Nicholls after the break, while an unmarked Jonathan Hogg wastefully headed over from Sorba Thomas’ corner at the other end.

Huddersfield grew into the game past the hour mark and Toffolo thought he had won a penalty but was instead booked for diving after going down under the challenge of Colback.

O’Brien had what looked to be a similarly strong appeal turned down following clumsy play from Max Lowe, leaving Huddersfield furious in defeat as Forest – who had to take off goalkeeper Brice Samba due to injury – gained promotion.

Forest, playing in their first English Football League play-off final, was the dominant force for large parts against Carlos Corberan’s side and earned a deserved victory.

Championship play-off final: Huddersfield 0-1  Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest players celebrate after winning the Championship play-off final 1-0 against Huddersfield town to secure a slot in next season’s Premier League. | PHOTO: Getty Images |

Twice European Cup winners in the days of Brian Clough, Forest will feel they have rightfully returned to the English top-flight, while Cooper has finally won promotion through the Championship play-offs at the third time of asking.

Cooper inherited a Forest side that was languishing in the relegation zone in the early stages of the season after Chris Hughton’s dismissal in mid-September.

He has transformed Forest’s fortunes, triumphing in 27 of his 45 games in charge at a win percentage of 60 – the highest of any Forest manager to take charge of at least 15 games since the club joined the Football League in 1892-93.

Chelsea loanee Colwill was unfortunate as he poked past his own goalkeeper Lee Nicholls in the first half.

That made Colwill the first player to score an own goal in a Championship play-off final since Joe Allen in 2011, and Huddersfield could not recover from then on.

Forest can prepare for life in the big time, with the Premier League fixtures confirmed next month and the new season starting in early August. Huddersfield will go again in the Championship next term.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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