English Premiership

Hull City clinch promotion

2013-05-04 16:35
Hull City logo (File)

London - Hull City clinched automatic promotion to the Premier League in sensational fashion after a 2-2 draw against Cardiff on a dramatic final day of the Championship season on Saturday.

Steve Bruce's side knew they would return to the English top-flight after a three-year absence if they matched or bettered third placed Watford's result.

They did just that - Watford losing 2-1 to Leeds United - to secure a lucrative promotion worth an estimated £120 million, but only after an astonishing finale containing agonising twists and turns for both clubs.

"I have been around the block and this was wonderful entertainment, but Jesus Christ, it's put us through the ringer," Bruce told Sky Sports.

"I have said for weeks there would be twists and turns, but I have never experienced anything like the last 10 or 15 minutes

"It took guts for us. Overall we deserved it. The ref made an unbelievable decision to give Cardiff a penalty but it's our day."

The Tigers looked in trouble when Cardiff sent on former Hull striker Fraizer Campbell at half-time and he took just four minutes to haunt his old club as he raced onto a through-ball and slotted home.

That could have sapped the spirits of nervy Hull, but German forward Nick Proschwitz transformed the atmosphere when he poked in the equaliser in the 58th minute.

Suddenly Hull had their tails up and they took the lead in the 63rd minute when Paul McShane bundled home from a corner.

There was more drama in the final moments however as Proschwitz squandered a chance to seal promotion when he missed a 90th minute penalty.

Then seconds later Cardiff were awarded a spot-kick of their own and Nicky Maynard drilled home to give Watford a lifeline.

Hull fans poured onto the pitch, but they and their players were forced to find televisions to watch the last minutes of the Watford match before their promotion was confirmed.

Watford boss Gianfranco Zola must have feared it wouldn't be his day when former Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia was injured in the pre-match warm up and his replacement Jonathan Bond was then stretchered off following a first half collision.

That meant a debut for Jack Bonham and the teenager was soon picking the ball out of the net as he was involved in a defensive mix-up that allowed Dominic Poleon to slot home in the 42nd minute.

Watford were back in the hunt when Almen Abdi curled in a brilliant equaliser in first half stoppage-time.

Hornets striker Troy Deeney was sent off in the 62nd minute, but Watford still had a chance of promotion thanks to Cardiff's late equaliser.

However, Watford were sunk by Ross McCormack, who ran clear in stoppage-time and lofted a chip over Bonham, whose weak attempted save pushed the ball into his own net.

At the other end of the table, Wolves were condemned to a second successive relegation as they dropped into the third tier for the first time since 1989 after a 2-0 defeat at Brighton.

Just 12 months after crashing out of the Premier League, Wolves suffered a sinking feeling again.

Kazenga LuaLua opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a powerful strike and he doubled Brighton's lead six minutes before half-time.

Peterborough will join Wolves in League One after losing 3-2 at Crystal Palace.

Darren Ferguson's visitors were leading 2-1 with less than 10 minutes left.

But Kevin Phillips equalised in the 83rd minute and Mile Jedinak bagged the 89th minute winner to condemn Peterborough to the drop and clinch a play-off spot for Palace.

Leicester snatched the sixth and final play-off spot as Anthony Knockaert's 90th minute winner secured a 3-2 victory at Nottingham Forest, who had started the day one place and two points ahead of their local rivals.

Barnsley avoided the drop after a 2-2 draw at Huddersfield, which lifted them out of the relegation zone, one point above Peterborough

Elsewhere, Sheffield Wednesday beat Middlesbrough 2-0 and Millwall survived despite a 1-0 defeat at Derby.

Charlton beat already relegated Bristol City 4-1, Burnley defeated Ipswich 2-0 and Birmingham drew 1-1 with Blackburn.

Read more on:    hull city  |  english premiership  |  soccer

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