Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 31st 2017 Contents sports A39
Wednesday, May 31, 2017 guardian.co.tt
promotion to EPL
Huddersfield are back in the top
flight after 45 years, clinching Pre-
mier League football and a £170mil-
lion windfall by beating Reading on
penalties in the Championship play-
Few backed these sides to be chal-
lenging for promotion at the start of
the campaign, with David Wagner's men
considered to be in for a relegation fight as
the Royals started anew under Jaap Stam.
Both teams have had memorable cam-
paigns but Reading's has ended in heart-
ache, whereas Huddersfield can look for-
ward to life in the Premier League after
securing a 4-3 penalty shootout triumph
after 120 goalless minutes at Wembley.
The Terriers faced an uphill battle after
fans' favourite Michael Hefele missed his
spot-kick, only for Liam Moore to blaze
over and Danny Ward - the shootout hero
in the semi-final at Sheffield Wednesday
- to save Jordan Obita's penalty.
Christopher Schindler stepped up to
send Huddersfield into the top flight for
the first time since 1972, leading to wild
celebrations on the field and in the stands.
It could have been so much easier had
Hefele and Izzy Brown not wasted early
opportunities as a breathless start made
way for a forgettable final.
However, Huddersfield will not care
a jot after winning the shootout and
writing an exciting new chapter in their
A remarkable din welcomed the teams
at Wembley, where pyrotechnics and fan
mosaics made way for a minute's silence
in tribute to those impacted by Monday's
Manchester terror attack.
The roar returned for kick-off and
Huddersfield came close to ratcheting
it up several notches during a start as
bright as their fluorescent shirts.
Hefele lost his man in the box but could
only direct Aaron Mooy's free-kick wide,
with Brown going closer still in the tenth
Elias Kachunga ended fine play down
the right with a low shot that the on-loan
Chelsea attacking midfielder met at the
far post, only to inexplicably turn wide.
Lewis Grabban immediately respond-
ed with a superb curling effort from 25
yards, but the entertaining start was not
the precursor to an action-packed match.
Play was tense and stretched as Read-
ing settled, with chances at a premium in
a first half in which neither side mustered
so much as a shot on target.
John Swift and Joey van den Berg failed
with wayward attempts as Huddersfield's
final ball let them down, although the
teams returned from the break with re-
Huddersfield's Chris Lowe got away
the afternoon's first shot on target 45
seconds into the second half, before goal-
keeper Ward kept out Swift's threatening
drive at the other end.
Again, though, the intensity quickly
dropped off as both sides remained com-
pact defensively and lacked attacking
After a particularly tense period in
which Huddersfield fans' favourite Hefele
had a penalty appeal ignored, Mooy's fine
play brought a rare chance that substitute
Collin Quaner could only bundle wide.
Hefele threw himself in front of a Chris
Gunter cross as Reading attacked towards
the end of regulation time, only for a low-
key end to the match to slow further as
Town captain Tommy Smith left the field
on a stretcher.
Gunter headed over and Swift dragged
wide while Nahki Wells tried a long-range
attempt as seven minutes of stoppage
time came and went, meaning extra
Still defences sat deep and soaked up
pressure, with Wagner turning to Kasey
Palmer after 113 days sidelined by a ham-
Reading substitute Garath McCleary
missed from 30 yards, but came closer
from the edge of the box with a low shot
just wide as the first period of extra time
came to an end.
Quaner's drive was deflected behind
for a corner when play resumed and calls
for Jonathan Hogg to receive a second
booking were overlooked as tension grew.
Wells came close after a fine Hudders-
field break in the 116th minute and a Lowe
free-kick just evaded team-mates as the
match went to penalties.
Yann Kermorgant and Danny Williams
scored to sandwich Lowe's successful
spot-kick before Hefele was denied by
Ali Al-Habsi, who took a step forward
during the stuttering run-up.
Liam Kelly and Wells scored before
Moore blazed his penalty over and after
star turn Mooy made it 3-3, the Hudders-
field faithful were soon cheering again as
Obita was denied by Ward.
Schindler stepped up and slotted home
the decisive penalty, securing promotion
and his place in Huddersfield folklore.
As for Reading, it was a record-equal-
ling fourth play-off final defeat.
Huddersfield had finished fifth in the Championship
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