Hud­der­s­field a step closer to Premier League

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON: Hud­der­s­field goal­keeper Danny Ward sent his side into the Cham­pi­onship play­off fi­nal with two cru­cial saves in a dra­matic penalty shootout vic­tory over Sh­effield Wed­nes­day.

David Wag­ner’s team fell be­hind to Steven Fletcher’s goal early in the sec­ond half at Hills­bor­ough, but they hit back to grab a de­served equaliser through Tom Lees’ own goal.

With nei­ther side able to win it in ex­tra time, it took penal­ties to set­tle a tense semi-fi­nal sec­ond leg and Ward was the Hud­der­s­field hero as his saves from Sam Hutchin­son and Fer­nando Forestieri clinched a 4-3 tri­umph.

Chas­ing a re­turn to the topflight af­ter a 45-year ab­sence, Hud­der­s­field will face Read­ing at Wem­b­ley on May 29 with a lu­cra­tive place in the Premier League up for grabs.

“It’s an amaz­ing feel­ing. This team are a spe­cial bunch, and it stems back to the back­room staff. It’s a spe­cial club,” Hud­der­s­field cap­tain Tommy Smith said.

“It’s been an un­be­liev­able sea­son and this is an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing. Why can’t we go on and win at Wem­b­ley?”

Wed­nes­day could have few com­plaints af­ter be­ing out­played for long pe­ri­ods, but their sec­ond suc­ces­sive sea­son of play­off heartache af­ter last year’s fi­nal loss to Hull might trig­ger the dis­missal of al­ready un­der-fire boss Car­los Car­val­hal. AFP

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