Chelsea here Chelsea there
news Thu 18 May 2017
Three of our players out on loan were involved in crucial play-off matches in the Championship this week, with Izzy Brown featuring for Huddersfield as they booked their place in the final after beating Sheffield Wednesday on penalties last night.
The tie was delicately poised following a goalless draw in the first leg, and there was little to choose between the sides once again at Hillsborough.
Brown started for the visitors, who were without the injured Kasey Palmer, and looked lively from the first whistle, almost catching the Wednesday defence out with an intelligent through-ball inside the opening couple of minutes.
The 20-year-old then came desperately close to breaking the deadlock after being picked out by Nahki Wells, having timed his arrival into box perfectly. Brown caught it first-time, and struck it well, but the save from Keiren Westwood, who tipped it onto the post, was equally impressive.
The game exploded into life six minutes into the second half when Wednesday took the lead through Steven Fletcher, who headed home a Barry Bannan cross.
Huddersfield kept pushing for a leveller, however, and they were rewarded 17 minutes from time when Wells latched on to an incisive pass from Brown and played the ball across goal, where Tom Lees diverted it into his own net.
Brown was eventually withdrawn seven minutes into extra-time before the game was settled by penalties, with Huddersfield winning 4-3 on spot-kicks. Former Chelsea man Sam Hutchinson, who had enjoyed a fine game for the home side, was one of two Wednesday players who missed from the spot.
It will be either Huddersfield or Reading playing Premier League football next season, after the Royals overcame Fulham in another tight encounter on Tuesday at the Madejski Stadium.
With the first leg at Craven Cottage having ended 1-1, Reading progressed to Wembley courtesy of a narrow 1-0 victory which came courtesy of a penalty scored by Yann Kermorgant.
The penalty was awarded after Chelsea loanee Tomas Kalas, so impressive at the heart of the Fulham defence all season, was adjudged to have handled inside the penalty area.
While replays showed the ball had struck the defender’s arm, there was clearly no intent and Slavisa Jokanavic’s side were understandably frustrated by the decision.
Lucas Piazon, another of our players on loan at Fulham, was introduced just before the hour as the Cotttagers pressed forward for an equaliser, and within a couple of minutes of his arrival the Brazilian saw a decent effort blocked. Piazon performed well and laid on a couple of chances for Tom Cairney but the visitors were unable to find the goal which would have forced extra-time.
Huddersfield meet Reading at Wembley on Monday 29 May.