AAP Soccer

Fulham break Brentford hearts to reach EPL

By AAP Newswire

Joe Bryan scored a superb extra-time double to send Fulham back to the Premier League on Tuesday after a 2-1 win over Brentford in the Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium.

The second-tier promotion game is the richest prize in English football and is set to be worth around STG135 million ($A246 m).

Fulham coach Scott Parker says the triumph was "emotional" after "ups and downs" following the club's relegation from the Premier League last season.

"I'm the face who fronts up but behind the scenes is a support network of people that keep you going in those times and those moments," Parker said.

"That's why I feel emotional, I feel for the people who aren't here, the people who've supported the team and me as manager, sometimes you've not always got that and I'm very proud of my team, so so proud of them."

Brentford were aiming to reach the top division for the first time in 73 years to finish their best ever season after finishing third in the regular season.

They were also preparing to move from their old home of Griffin Park to the newly built Brentford Community Stadium.

"Of course it's tough when you lose a final like this in a very tight game but I'm extremely proud of my players," said Brentford boss Thomas Frank.

"We have gone from a mid-table club to a team who, in the league table, was the third-best team.

"We are very fine margins away from the Premier League, which is an incredible achievement from us."

Fulham will join Championship winners Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League.

"I can't believe we made it straight back up," said Bryan.

"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."

It was a rare double for the defender who had previously collected two goals over his last 77 appearances.

Bryan broke the deadlock on the stroke of 104 minutes in extra-time with a 35-metre free-kick before sealing victory with his second strike three minutes from the end.

Henrik Dalsgaard scored Brentford's consolation goal in the fourth minute of injury time.

Brentford's defeat was accompanied with some unwelcome statistics as they have now lost all nine of their promotion attempts in any division, more than any other club.

The Bees also increased their record winless run at Wembley to six straight defeats.

They finished third in the table, missing out on automatic promotion by two points.