Fulham win at Wembley to return to Premier League

Fulham 1 Aston Villa 0

Tom Cairney’s goal won the play-off final for Fulham at Wembley and took them back to the Premier League.

The Whites, who played the final 20 minutes with 10 men after Dennis Odoi was sent off, dominated a one-sided first half.

The all-important goal came on 24 minutes, when Cairney latched onto a sublime, defence-splitting pass from Ryan Sessegnon and slotted past keeper Sam Johnstone.

Aston Villa were much improved in the second half and Jack Grealish missed their best chance of an equaliser by heading over when found unmarked by Albert Adomah’s left-wing cross.

[/media-credit] Cairney was brilliantly set up by Sessegnon

Fulham keeper Marcus Bettinelli then saved with his legs to deny Grealish after the midfielder had superbly evaded four Fulham challenges.

Already under pressure, Fulham were forced to work even harder after Odoi’s challenge on Grealish earned the defender a second booking.

They stood firm to clinch a return to the top flight after a four-year absence – but not before a heart-stopping moment when ex-Villa’s Brentford striker Scott Hogan headed wide in injury time.

Fulham: Bettinelli, Fredericks (Christie 83), Odoi, Ream, Targett, McDonald, Cairney, Johansen (Norwood 73), Kamara (Kalas 77), Sessegnon, Mitrovic.
Subs not used: Button, Fonte, Ayite, Piazon.