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Championship

  • 27 May 2013
  • • 15:00
  • • Wembley Stadium, London
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 82025
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Live Commentary

  • We'll wrap it up there. Thanks very much for reading this afternoon and all season - that pretty much brings the curtain down on 2012-13. An interesting summer awaits!
  • Jedinak never stopped in midfield, and Speroni was excellent when he needed to be in goal. Watford, you have to say, just never really got going.
  • You'd have to say they deserve it - after a poor first half, Ian Holloway's team had a series of chances after the break, falling most notably to Wilbraham, but couldn't convert. Zaha was a thorn in Watford's side all afternoon and won the penalty which Phillips converted to decide this game.
  • Palace clear two corners and that's it! The Eagles are promoted to the Premier League!
  • 120' + 2'
    FULL-TIME: Crystal Palace 1-0 Watford
  • 120' + 1'
    Almunia launches a huge kick forward and Deeney's flicked header deflects off Gabbidon and just wide. Corner!
  • 120' + 1'
    There will be one added minute.
  • 120'
    Ward clears off the line! Watford have everyone forward and Geijo dinks a clever pass between two defenders to Forestieri, who cuts inside one, shoots with the outside of his boot across goal and sees the right-back head the ball away from the top corner.
  • 118'
    There's a big chance for Watford! Battocchio crosses from the right and the ball falls to Ekstrand, but his shot is blocked by Ward - Ekstrand thinks with a hand - and Abdi fires the next effort well over the bar.
  • 117'
    Watford just can't get anything going. Almunia is repeatedly launching long balls forward to no effect.
  • 115'
    Palace are holding out without much trouble at the moment. Wilbraham kills off some valuable time by holding the ball in the corner to Almunia's left.
  • 113'
    Moritz fouls Deeney 30 yards from goal, and Abdi stands over the free kick in a central position. He strikes it cleanly, but not with another power to beat Speroni, who makes a comfortable catch.
  • 112'
    Zola's team are throwing everything at Palace, but in all honesty that is not a great deal - they're a pretty small team up front, and Delaney and Gabbidon are outmuscling them with few problems.
  • 110'
    Watford earn a corner on the right and Doyley heads down Abdi's delivery, but Speroni is off his line like a rocket to pounce on the loose ball. He's been very good when called upon.
  • 108'
    Zaha went down on the right flank after that pass - he's back up now, but Wilbraham has since gone down hurt after tussling with Ekstrand on the ground. They both look OK to continue, and Palace have no substitutes left to replace them with.
  • 107'
    Zaha plays a phenomenal long pass into the path of Phillips, who is in between the Watford centre-backs, but the striker is forced back by his first touch on his chest. He tries to find Wilbraham to his left, but the attempted through ball is cut out.
  • 106'
    We're off again. 15 minutes for Palace to hold on to this one-goal lead.
  • 105' + 2'
    HALF-TIME IN EXTRA TIME: Crystal Palace 1-0 Watford
  • 105' + 1'
    Yellow Card Marco Cassetti
  • 105' + 1'
    Penalty Goal Kevin Phillips
    GOAL! Phillips converts from the penalty spot to give Palace the lead! Zaha runs once more at Cassetti on the Watford right and is, yet again, fouled by the full-back - this time in the box. Phillips steps up and makes no mistake from 12 yards, firing an unstoppable penalty into the top corner.
  • 105'
    PENALTY TO CRYSTAL PALACE!
  • 105'
    Geijo tries another run inside from the left, but Jedinak is there again. Moxey, meanwhile, has been booked retrospectively for a challenge on Forestieri after the referee played the advantage.
  • 104'
    Yellow Card Dean Moxey
  • 103'
    Moritz curls a dangerous low cross into the Watford box, but Doyley clears. Zaha is still seeing plenty of the ball but is fouled again by Cassetti, who is very lucky not to have been booked by now.
  • 101'
    We've played a good part of the first half of extra time now and it's been pretty tepid so far. O'Keefe hurt himself in an aerial challenge with Forestieri, but is back up now.
  • 98'
    Cassetti swings in a cross from deep which Gabbidon can only head behind for a corner. Abdi's delivery is cleared, though, and Battocchio's long-range effort is caught by Speroni.
  • 95'
    Forestieri chests down a throw-in and cleverly knocks the ball past Moxey but hits the side netting with his shot from a difficult angle.
  • 93'
    What a save by Speroni! Abdi's clipped cross from the right beats two Palace defenders and Deeney seems to have the goal at his mercy but as he tries to round the goalkeeper, Speroni sticks out a hand to brilliantly punch the ball away.
  • 91'
    And in no time at all, we're off again for the added two frames.
  • 90' + 4'
    No goals after 90 minutes, but that second half was a big improvement on the first. With no substitutes remaining, this game should continue to be stretched for the extra 30 minutes.
  • 90' + 4'
    FULL-TIME: Crystal Palace 0-0 Watford
  • 90' + 3'
    Jedinak connects with the resulting corner, but Almunia dives rather theatrically across goal to catch his header.
  • 90' + 2'
    That's a real chance for Zaha! Cassetti is tackled by O'Keefe in the centre of the pitch and the midfielder smartly delays his pass before releasing the winger. Zaha gets the ball stuck under his feet, though, and Doyley is across to block by the time he gets his shot away.
  • 90'
    Three minutes of added time will be played.
  • 89'
    Watford spurn a chance at the death! Geijo cuts in from the left and slides a pass across to Battocchio, but instead of shooting first time the midfielder lets the ball run wide and tries to cross. He finds Deeney, but the No.9 can't keep his scissor kick down.
  • 87'
    It's Cassetti, in fact, who goes to right-back, with Forestieri joining Deeney and Geijo in attack.
  • 86'
    Substitution Ikechi Fernando Forestieri
  • 86'
    Zola makes his last sub as Fernando Forestieri replaces Anya. That probably signals a change of formation, with Doyley going to right-back. Andre Moritz, meanwhile, has replaced Garvan in midfield for Palace.
  • 85'
    Watford are confused here, as Geijo, through on goal, is flagged offside despite the fact that it was Jedinak's poor header backwards that set the striker free. Speroni saved anyway.
  • 84'
    Substitution Owen Garvan André Moritz
  • 83'
    Almunia denies Wilbraham again! Zaha cuts in from the right and passes into the feet of Wilbraham, who had peeled off his marker again just inside the box, but his low effort on the slide is blocked by the Spanish goalkeeper.
  • 81'
    Yellow Card Joel Ward
  • 81'
    Garvan pokes a neat pass through to Wilbraham but the striker is beaten off the mark by Doyley, who muscles in front of him to clear. Garvan then has a chance of his own in the box from a throw-in, but volleys straight at Almunia. As Pudil counters down the left, Ward slides in late and earns a booking.
  • 78'
    Zaha looks to be tiring and running out of ideas somewhat, but his physical strength is still getting him places. He lays the ball off for Ward to cross, but Ekstrand makes a good clearance.
  • 76'
    Geijo and then Zaha take runs at the opposition defences but both times they are stopped after taking too long to make a decision. Watford are really struggling to get through the middle of the pitch.
  • 74'
    Substitution Nathaniel Chalobah Cristian Battocchio
  • 74'
    Chalobah comes off to be replaced by another Udinese loanee in Cristian Battocchio. That may be Chalobah's last appearance for Watford on loan from Chelsea.
  • 72'
    Watford are still trying to go through the middle - but Jedinak is still there to stop them. Palace counter again, as Garvan spreads the ball wide to Zaha, who crosses to Phillips at the back post. The striker nods it down for Garvan, but his volley is weak and wide of Almunia's left post.
  • 70'
    O'Keefe is lucky here - already on a yellow card, the midfielder catches Doyley late, after the ball has been played, but Martin Atkinson awards only a free kick.
  • 69'
    In that melee, Phillips replaced Williams as part of the Palace front three. Deeney went down hurt momentarily, but appears to be OK.
  • 67'
    Another chance for Palace! This time Almunia is at fault as he comes for a corner and completely misses the ball, but Gabbidon can't control at the back post with the goal at his mercy. Watford are falling apart.
  • 66'
    Substitution Jonathan Williams Kevin Phillips
  • 66'
    Almunia saves the day again! Delaney heads down a corner and two yellow shirts completely miss the ball in front of goal - that leaves Wilbraham with only the goalkeeper to beat, but he can't lift it over Almunia's body from close range.
  • 65'
    Big chance for O'Keefe! Jedinak picks out Zaha with a long ball behind the Watford defence, and eventually the winger works it to O'Keefe, who steps past his man to go through on goal - but the midfielder's shot is superbly saved by Almunia.
  • 64'
    Kevin Phillips will be introduced shortly for Palace. O'Keefe breaks into space through the middle and tries to slide a through ball into Zaha, but it's cut out.
  • 61'
    That stop in play has taken the sting out of the game a little, but O'Keefe continues to feature at the centre of the physical play and is fouled again. Garvan tries another free kick and after Cassetti slips, Delaney heads it right across goal but no one is there to get a touch.
  • 60'
    Yellow Card Almen Abdi
  • 60'
    Yellow Card Stuart O'Keefe
  • 59'
    Now we have a game on our hands. Palace break after dispossessing Pudil in the box - he went down but it looked a fair challenge - and Wilbraham is set through on goal. The striker does not possess pace in abundance, however, and has to cut back before seeing his shot blocked. In the aftermath, O'Keefe is fouled by Abdi and then kicks the ball at him in retaliation - they're both booked.
  • 58'
    Anya breaks down the right and passes inside to Doyley, who has advanced into space from centre-back. The defender hears the calls of the Watford fans to shoot and does so, but his dragged effort from distance makes clear why he has scored only two goals in over 400 appearances.
  • 57'
    Cassetti has fouled Zaha a couple of times now, and will be heading into the book if he continues to do so. Palace aren't making much of the dead balls, though, and Almunia claims this one. At the other end, Geijo runs at goal but shoots weakly at Speroni from 20 yards.
  • 54'
    This game is opening up a little now. Wilbraham has a chance to turn and shoot from close range after a free kick into the box but sees his shot blocked, before both teams try counterattacks that come to nothing. There's more space to be exploited, at least.
  • 52'
    A brilliant bit of footwork earns Zaha some space on the right, but his cross is dreadfully overhit. Anya tries to counter down the opposite flank, but his cross is cleared. Jedinak is still struggling.
  • 50'
    Encouraging from Watford. Deeney spots the run of Hogg behind the Palace defence and the midfielder nods his high ball back into the path of Abdi, but his shot from 18 yards is well blocked, once again, by Delaney.
  • 48'
    Palace might have another injury to deal with here, as Jedinak is not moving comfortably after appearing to twist an ankle. Chalobah lines up a long-range shot, but it bounces wide.
  • 46'
    Substitution Matěj Vydra Alex Geijo
  • 46'
    We're back underway at Wembley and Alex Geijo has replaced Vydra, who did appear to suffer an injury.
  • Praise must go, I suppose, to the more defensive players on the pitch. Jedinak has put in a captain's display in midfield for Palace so far, and Delaney has made some timely blocks at centre-back. Watford stalwart Doyley has been very reliable, too.
  • We have had a grand total of zero shots on target so far. The first 45 minutes have been punctuated by the occasional moment of excitement provided by Zaha, and Anya and Pudil have tried to push on for Watford, but there's been a real lack of quality on display on both sides and a lot of congestion in midfield.
  • Martin Atkinson is content to draw a halt to proceedings after the three minutes indicated, and I don't blame him. This has been a bit of an anti-climax so far given the attacking promise both teams showed during the regular season.
  • 45' + 3'
    HALF-TIME: Crystal Palace 0-0 Watford
  • 45' + 2'
    We may play more than three minutes after another round of balloon popping.
  • 45'
    Three minutes will be added on to make up for Dikgacoi's injury earlier in the half. There may be another injury victim to come, as Vydra is hobbling around uncomfortably at the moment.
  • 44'
    Moxey concedes a corner under pressure on the Watford right but Abdi's delivery is cleared. Anya pounces on the loose ball, but fires well over the bar from distance. Only a minute or two to go here and we've not had a shot on target yet.
  • 42'
    Anya speeds down the right and slips a pass forward to Hogg, but his cross is cleared by a toe before it reaches Abdi.
  • 40'
    Zaha has come over to the left to try to combine with Williams, but Doyley stops the Manchester United loanee's exchange with O'Keefe around the edge of the box before it develops into anything threatening.
  • 37'
    This is Watford's best spell of the game, and after Pudil's cross from the left is cleared, Chalobah tries to swing one in from the right that drops right across goal untouched. Zola's team are beginning to turn things around now.
  • 35'
    Jedinak gives the ball away in midfield and Chalobah picks out Deeney to the right of goal, but again the Palace defence get back in good numbers. Vydra tries to find Hogg, who had burst forward from midfield, but his pass is astray.
  • 33'
    Chance for Vydra! This is much better from Watford, as Abdi and Deeney squeeze the ball through the middle for the Czech to latch on to. He gets a first-time shot away from 20 yards but Delaney is again alert to the danger and slides in to block.
  • 30'
    Ikechi Anya, who is astonishingly quick, knocks the ball past Dean Moxey on the Watford right but Damien Delaney comes across to slide in. From the throw-in, the Hornets construct a nice move that ends in Hogg flicking a pass to Deeney to the left of goal, but his first-time volleyed pass evades everyone.
  • 29'
    Jedinak is the first Palace player to go into Martin Atkinson's book for a bodycheck on Abdi as the Swiss midfielder looked to run beyond his opponent. He'll have to be careful in his very combative style now.
  • 28'
    Yellow Card Mile Jedinak
  • 27'
    Nathaniel Chalobah tries to chip a pass in between Joel Ward and Daniel Gabbidon for Troy Deeney, but it's overhit and Ward sees it out of play. Watford are having to try longer passes, and it doesn't suit them.
  • 25'
    You'd have to say that, so far, Palace's best players have simply made far more of an impact than Watford's. Jedinak has been rock solid at the base of midfield and distributed the ball well, and Zaha is causing plenty of problems out wide. Williams, too, is starting to see more of the ball.
  • 22'
    Palace are having all sorts of joy down the right flank and Jedinak picks out Wilbraham's run with a fine pass. The striker's low cross is poor, however, and easily blocked.
  • 20'
    Zaha counterattacks from that set-piece and picks out Owen Garvan on the edge of the box, but Doyley makes a superb block to prevent his shot reaching goal. Zaha has been by far the biggest threat on the pitch so far.
  • 20'
    Dikgacoi has apparently suffered a calf injury. Watford, meanwhile, have a free kick just inside the Palace half but Abdi's delivery is headed clear.
  • 18'
    Stuart O'Keefe replaces the South African, who has hobbled down the tunnel, in central midfield.
  • 17'
    Substitution Kagisho Dikgacoi Stuart O'Keefe
  • 17'
    In fact, Dikgacoi is back on his feet but walking off looking devastated - it looks as if his game is over. Best guess would be a lower-body muscle injury.
  • 16'
    We have a stoppage as Dikgacoi goes down near the centre circle with an injury. It looks as if he'll be OK to continue after some treatment.
  • 14'
    Doyley ventures forward and slips a pass into Almen Abdi to the right of goal, but he's prevented from squaring to his left by Jedinak's strong sliding tackle. The subsequent corner is cleared.
  • 12'
    Zaha continues to look a big threat for Palace but his use of the ball has let him down so far. He shakes off both Cassetti and Pudil on the right flank and tries to pass inside, but doesn't get good contact on the ball and Watford intercept.
  • 10'
    Yellow Card L. Ekstrand
  • 10'
    Joel Ekstrand picks up an early yellow card for a late sliding tackle on Wilbraham. It was a pretty poor challenge, and probably deserved a booking which Ekstrand will now have to play with for 80 minutes.
  • 9'
    This is better from Palace. Jonathan Williams picks out Wilbraham just outside the box, but his attempted volley is blocked by Marco Cassetti. Wilfried Zaha picks up the loose ball and twists and turns away from two Watford defenders on the right, but then runs out of play.
  • 7'
    Watford continue to knock the ball from side-to-side in defence, but Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi have set the tone defensively for Palace in midfield and the Hornets are struggling to get their central midfielders on the ball.
  • 4'
    Watford have enjoyed most of the possession so far, after a quick delay for a minute or so of balloon popping. Julian Speroni was understandably keen to clear his penalty area.
  • 2'
    First glimpse of goal for Watford, as Pudil links up with his compatriot Vydra through the centre of the pitch, but the Palace defence is able to marshall the latter's return pass away to the flank.
  • 1'
    Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra kick us off at Wembley!
  • You'll never guess which man is in London to take in this game? Only one Jose Mourinho - I wonder what he's doing in this part of the country.
  • This match, as you will likely have heard by now, is worth at least £120 million to the winners. The promoted side will earn an extra £60m in television money alone in the top flight next season.
  • After the pre-match 'presentations' - I'm never quite sure what purpose they serve - Natalie Coyle sings the national anthem, the players shake hands and we're ready to go.
  • And here come the players out of the Wembley tunnel, led by captains Mile Jedinak and Manuel Almunia.
  • Watford, then, are looking to return to the top flight for the first time since their one-year spell in 2006-07, when they finished bottom of the Premier League. Palace have not played above the Championship since 2004-05, when they finished in 18th place.
  • Gianfranco Zola has been speaking to Sky Sports on returning to Wembley as a manager: "It's an adventure for me in a different position and I'd love to start well. The team has never disappointed me, so I'm confident we'll be alright."
  • Palace are missing 30-goal scorer Glenn Murray, who suffered a serious knee injury in the first leg of their semi-final against Brighton, so Aaron Wilbraham starts up front. Watford bring Jonathan Hogg and Daniel Pudil back into their XI, with Matthew Briggs and Cristian Battocchio dropping to the bench.
  • Watford: Almunia; Doyley, Ekstrand, Cassetti; Anya, Chalobah, Hogg, Abdi, Pudil; Deeney, Vydra. Subs: Bond, Hall, Briggs, Yeates, Battocchio, Geijo, Forestieri.
  • Crystal Palace: Speroni; Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey; Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Garvan; Zaha, Wilbraham, Williams. Subs: Price, Richards, Ramage, Bolasie, Phillips, O'Keefe, Moritz.
  • Good afternoon, and welcome to Goal's live play-by-play commentary of today's Championship play-off final between Crystal Palace and Watford at a Wembley Stadium bathed in sunshine. Let's start with the teams...