Phillips sends Eagles soaring to Premier League

Crystal Palace have won promotion to the Premier League after an 1-0 extra time victory over Watford at Wembley this afternoon.

A solitary goal was the decider on the day, scored by substitute Kevin Phillips from the penalty spot at the end of the first half in extra time.

In a very tight affair during the first half, neither side could create any clear cut chances to take advantage on the day, and the main talking points were the loss of Matej Vydra and Kagisho Dikgacoi to injury.

The second half was all about Manuel Almunia in the Hornets goal, who kept his side in it on a number of occasions, denying Aaron Wilbraham twice when it looked inevitable that the Eagles would take the lead.

Watford rarely threatened in the game, and were struggling to deal with the impressive Wilfried Zaha on the Palace right hand side, who was looking to sign off his career with the Eagles with promotion, before moving to David Moyes new side Manchester United.

The game finished all square and moved into extra time, where it looked like the missed chances would come back to haunt Ian Holloway’s side, especially when Troy Deeney so nearly scored, only to be denied by the outstretched hand of Julian Speroni.

With seconds to go in the first half of extra time, Man of the match Wilfried Zaha took a touch ahead of former Roma defender Marco Cassetti, who caught the winger late, to earn his side a penalty.

The Eagles fans were on their feet, and veteran striker Kevin Phillips did what he does best and arrowed the ball in to the top left corner to send his side 1-0 up and the crowd into raptures.

Watford pressed hard for a winner late on, and were denied with a minute to go of normal time when Fernando Forestieri cut inside cleverly in the box, before unleashing a shot with the outside of the boot into the far top corner, only to be denied by Palace full back Joel Ward on the line.

After a flurry of late corners for the Hornets, the final whistle went, and sent the Palace contingent into ecstasy.

Winning promotion to the Premier League was an amazing achievement for Ian Holloway’s side, and Championship top scorer Glenn Murray looked delighted after being ruled out of the game due to a knee ligament injury.

England’s top flight awaits the London club, and they will have to do without the talents of academy graduate Wilfried Zaha next season, who put in a superb performance in his final game for the club.

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