Fulham are back in the Premier League after just one season away
Fulham return to the Premier League after just one season away
Fulham secured promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt in an underwhelming play-off final until extra-time, when unlikely hero Joe Bryan scored two excellent goals.
The left-back broke the deadlock in the first period of extra-time from a free kick that everyone expected him to float into a crowd of bodies. But after spotting Brentford goalkeeper David Raya in No man's land, the left-back sent a powerful curling shot straight in via the near post. Raya's theatrical attempt to stop it only provoked laughter.
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Until that point, it was a game of promising counter-attacks turned into cautious spells of possession, with neither team wanting to take a risk. That is normally the case in play-off finals, given what is at stake.
Bryan then made it two, this time after sprinting upfield late in extra time, with Brentford dead on their feet. After a deft one-two, he slotted the ball past Raya to all but confirm Fulham's return to the Premier League.
Brentford showed life at the end with a late goal from Dalsgaard but it wasn't enough. Falling at the final hurdle, knowing they blew the chance to go up automatically twice in the regular season, will surely sting badly for the Bees.