By Simeon Gholam at Wembley
Last Updated: 29/05/17 6:51pm
Huddersfield will play in the top flight for the first time in 45 years after a penalty shootout victory over Reading in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.
Defender Chris Schindler slotted the decisive spot-kick, after misses from Liam Moore and Jordan Obita for Reading, to seal the Terriers a 4-3 win on Bank Holiday Monday, after 120 minutes of tense action had ended 0-0.
The victory caps off a remarkable season for David Wagner’s side, with some even tipping them for relegation before the campaign, let alone promotion.
For the Royals, who had been hoping to get back into the Premier League for the first time since 2013, another season in the Championship awaits after a heartbreaking defeat.
It was Huddersfield who started the brighter and they spurned two glorious opportunities to take the lead in the first 10 minutes. The first came from a corner as Michael Hefele nodded just wide from close range, the second fell to Izzy Brown, who somehow managed to turn the ball wide from just a couple of yards with the goal gaping after Elias Kachunga had squared the ball into his path.
That would prove to be the best chance of the 90 minutes, as Huddersfield’s early momentum soon dissipated, and proceedings started to become a little more scrappy, as these finals so often do.
Reading came out for the second half with a little more attacking intent than they managed in the first, and were denied an opener shortly afterwards as John Swift charged through on goal before forcing a fine save out of Danny Ward, while Lewis Grabban probably should have done better than lift the ball wide when through on goal after 57 minutes
The next big chance fell to Huddersfield. One glorious ball over the top found Aaron Mooy, who beat his man before picking out substitute Collin Quaner in the middle, but he could only bundle his effort wide of the post.
It wasn’t too much of a surprise that a game that many considered too tight to call ended up heading into extra-time and chances were at an even larger premium in the added 30 minutes.
The closest Reading came was on the stroke of half-time as Garath McCleary made space for himself to shoot on the edge of the area before firing just wide, while Huddersfield ended stronger and had a great chance to win it themselves with four minutes left on the clock, but Nahki Wells could only skew his effort past the post on the turn.
The first player to crack in the shoot-out was Hefele, as he saw his penalty saved by Ali Al-Habsi to leave Reading 2-1 up, but Moore blazed over the bar and Mooy scored for the Terriers to leave it at 3-3 going into the final round.
Obita then saw his penalty saved by Ward, allowing Schindler the opportunity to step up and send the Huddersfield fans wild.