Left-back Joe Bryan was the unlikely Fulham hero in the English Championship play-off final as his extra-time brace earned a 2-1 victory over Brentford at Wembley and an instant Premier League return.
In a tense and subdued west London derby, Scott Parker’s side created the better chances, but had a terrible misjudgement by Bees goalkeeper David Raya to thank for the opener in the 105th minute.
Bryan’s set-piece from 35 yards beat Raya at his near post and, while there were further goals in the second period of extra-time, it was this error by Brentford’s Spanish keeper which proved crucial.
The Craven Cottage club will earn around £135m ($A246m) for bouncing back from relegation last season and this result also gives rookie boss Parker a first success of his fledgling managerial career.
After his opener, Bryan grabbed a second in the 117th minute to confirm the result and, even though Henrik Dalsgaard pulled one back for Brentford, they will start life in their new ground still in the Championship.
Fulham goal hero Bryan played down his starring role in the triumph.
“I’m not the hero, every single one of them, fans and people around us who has been with us all season is,” he told Sky Sports.
“We’ve been written off five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 times, I think I read somewhere we were supposed to be scared of them.
“We took it to them, we scored twice, they made it hard for us but they’re a good team and they’ve been playing really well.
“I can’t believe we made it straight back up.”
Fulham skipper Tom Cairney also insisted Parker’s side always sat in the promotion race under the radar.
“I can’t put it into words. It feels special. We got written off a bit this year, no one talked about us, they talked about Brentford and Leeds.”