Crystal Palace promoted to Premier League after Kevin Phillips penalty sinks Watford at Wembley
PUBLISHED: 09:50 28 May 2013 | UPDATED: 09:50 28 May 2013
Crystal Palace secured their return to the Premier League yesterday with a 1-0 win over Watford in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.
Veteran striker Kevin Phillips scored the only goal of the game in the 105th minute after both sides failed to find the back of the net in 90 minutes.
The win ends The Eagles’ eight year absence from the top flight, and marks Wilfried Zaha’s last game for the club after he was bought my Manchester United in January.
It was his hard work late on that earned Palace a penalty when Watford defender Marco Cassetti brought him down inside the box, with Phillips confidently putting the ball past Manuel Almunia.
Ian Holloway’s side are now the first side to have won promotion to the Premier League five times, including play-off finals at the old Wembley, the Millenium Stadium and new Wembley.
After a quiet first half for both sides, the game ignited in the second 45 minutes and Almunia was forced to make five crucial saves as Palace applied the pressure.
Substitute Stuart O’Keefe and Owen Garvan both had good chances late on that the Spaniard dealt with.
Watford offered little threat up front, and it wasn’t until the dying moments that defender Joel Ward headed clear an effort from Fernando Forestieri to secure the win.
Victory is said to be worth £120million to the club, who will now look to bolster their squad in preperation for a season battling against some of Europe’s elite sides.