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Levi Colwill’s own goal sent Nottingham Forest into the Premier League for the first time in 23 years in a 1-0 Championship play-off final win over Huddersfield at Wembley.

Luckless centre-back Colwill put through his own net after James Garner’s teasing cross, that Jack Colback ducked under, and Ryan Yates failed to reach.

Chelsea’s 19-year-old loanee Colwill has impressed hugely at Huddersfield and will have the chance to battle for a first-team spot at Stamford Bridge later this summer.

But the talented teenage defender ended a fine season in most miserable fashion, handing Forest a return to the big time that the City Ground men have craved for so long.

Forest were bottom of the table and winless when Steve Cooper took charge in September – now they have won football’s most lucrative match and are headed to the top tier.

Financial experts rate the Championship play-off final as worth at least £170 million to the winners, and Forest will now enjoy a major cash injection to go along with the glory of a long-awaited return to the top.

Forest players like defender Djed Spence were not even born the last time the east midlanders tasted Premier League action back in 1999.

But a season that started in turmoil when Chris Hughton was sacked after seven winless matches and just one point in September, now Forest have pulled off a remarkable turnaround.

Former Swansea boss Cooper’s transformation of this Forest squad might not have been completed in the most enticing of fashion.

But the hordes of Forest fans crammed into Wembley will not care one jot.

Carlos Corberan’s Huddersfield can count themselves hugely unlucky on an afternoon where they simply failed to fire.

But two flimsy penalty shouts aside, Corberan’s men were ultimately toppled by the better-organised side, albeit amid slender margins.

Forest always had the better of a scrappy encounter, with Yates wasting a fine chance when heading wide from Garner’s teasing free-kick.

The midfielder blazed high and handsome from 18 yards in another half chance for the City Ground men.

Just when both sides looked happy to turn around in stalemate though, Forest forced the breakthrough.

Another testing ball from the ever-influential Garner was first ducked by Colback then missed by Yates – and the two close shaves left Colwill as the fall guy.

The young Chelsea prospect was forced into connecting with the ball, and could only divert into his own net.

Forest flagged after the break, with Jonathan Hogg heading over from a corner as Huddersfield pressed hard in search of a leveller.

Harry Toffolo thought he had earned the chance for his side to hit level terms when ending in a heap in the box after stepping past Colback.

Referee Jon Moss first booked Toffolo for diving, then a VAR check ruled out any chance of a penalty.

Huddersfield were left incensed by the call, but also still trailing their east midlands foes.

Another penalty shout was even more quickly dismissed when Max Lowe tangled with Lewis O’Brien, with Huddersfield again denied a spot-kick.

Huddersfield continued to press right until the death, but Forest clung on, to spark scenes as delirious on the pitch as in the stands.

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Wayne Rooney celebrated on Saturday as his Derby County side escaped relegation from the Championship in dramatic fashion.

Rooney’s Derby went into Saturday’s decisive clash against relegation rivals Sheffield Wednesday having lost their past six matches, but a 3-3 draw was enough for his side to stay up at the expense of Darren Moore’s men.

Derby were heading for the drop to League One — the third tier of English football — when Sheffield Wednesday took a 3-2 lead at Pride Park, but Martyn Waghorn’s penalty secured a point that ensured Derby’s survival.

Rooney’s men fell behind when Sam Hutchinson bundled the ball over the line for Wednesday in time added on at the end of the first half. Derby oared back in the second, however, with goals from Waghorn and Patrick Roberts, but Wednesday equalised through Callum Paterson in the 62nd minute before Julian Borner gave them the lead in the 69th.

Waghorn drew Derby level from the penalty spot 10 minutes later, but their chances of survival still looked bleak, with Rotherham leading in Cardiff thanks to Lewis Wing’s eighth- minute strike.

Marlon Pack’s clinical finish in the 88th minute levelled that match, however, and Derby survived a frantic final seven minutes, plus six minutes of added time, to cling on for the draw and stay in the second tier.

Former Manchester United and DC United striker Rooney took over temporarily in November 2020 after the Derby sacked then manager Phillip Cocu. After an impressive start, the 35-year-old officially ended his playing career in January, and penned a two-and-a-half year contract to become Derby’s new manager.

Rooney’s time in charge has been overshadowed by one failed takeover of the club, by Dubai-based Bin Zayed International, and another, led by Spanish agent Erik Alonso, which has been the subject of the EFL’s owners and directors test since early April.

Alonso has dismissed reports that he is planning to fund his bid by borrowing against the stadium, Pride Park, but sources told newsmen that there is scepticism among Derby’s owners that Alonso can complete a deal.

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Norwich City’s Championship title celebrations were put on ice as they lost 1-0 at home to second-placed Watford on Tuesday.

Dan Gosling’s 57th-minute goal earned the visitors the points to put them on the verge of joining already-promoted Norwich back in the top flight after one season.

Norwich have 90 points to Watford’s 85 with three games left.

Lyndon Dykes scored in the 89th minute with his sixth goal in seven games to send QPR eighth.

Fourth-placed Brentford’s slim automatic promotion hopes were all but dashed as they were held to a 1-1 home draw by Cardiff City to continue their slump in form.

The Bees, who suffered a late season collapse before losing to Fulham in the playoff final last season, have 75 points with four games to play, with Bournemouth on 74 and Barnsley on 71.

At the bottom, last-but-one Sheffield Wednesday staved off relegation for another day after beating Blackburn 1-0 while Wayne Rooney’s Derby County remained in danger after a 3-0 hammering at Preston.

Derby are on the edge of the drop zone, four points clear of Rotherham United — who have three games in hand — and Wednesday, whose hopes were kept alive by Josh Windass’s deflected winner.

Wycombe Wanderers are bottom, five points behind Wednesday.

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Leeds United have defended their decision to park an open top bus outside Elland Road to celebrate their Championship title and promotion to the Premier League despite telling fans to stay away.

Club officials had asked people to stay away from the stadium but thousands of people turned up to celebrate their first season in back in the Premier League after 16 years

Chief executive Angus Kinnear had told fans that they would “celebrate in style” when they could but still fans gathered after their 4-0 win against Charlton.

However, the club later said in a statement that they believed players appearing would help disperse the crowds.

“Following consultation with the Safety Advisory Group and council, Leeds United arranged for a bus to be parked outside the East Stand reception as a contingency to assist dispersal should a crowd congregate at Elland Road, despite a month-long campaign from the club and supporter groups to encourage supporters to stay at home,” the statement said.

“The safety group believed that a brief appearance from the players with the Championship trophy would help to signal an end to proceedings, encouraging fans to head home safely.

“In challenging circumstances, fan safety has always been our priority.”

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Championship set for a tense conclusion

“The prize is not that somebody’s going to clap you or you’re going to get a standing ovation. The prize is the Premier League.”

That was West Bromwich Albion manager Slaven Bilic summing up Wednesday’s crucial final round of Championship matches.

After 45 games and almost 12 months of a season interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, almost everything in English football’s second tier is still to be decided.

Who will finish second and claim the huge financial rewards of a place in the top flight? Who will grab the final couple of play-off places? And who will drop down into League One?

Leeds have already wrapped up the title and a place in the top flight for the first time since 2004.

Beneath them, there is an almighty fight between West Brom, Brentford and Fulham for that second automatic promotion place. Last season, it was estimated that promotion could result in a £170m increase in revenue.

The Baggies have had a rollercoaster ride since league fixtures resumed on 20 June. They were six points clear of third-placed Fulham and 10 ahead of fourth-placed Brentford when the season was put on hold because of the pandemic.

It looked like they had blown their chances of going up after losing at Huddersfield Town on Friday, but Brentford’s amazing run of eight successive wins was halted at Stoke a day later to leave West Brom one point clear with a game to go, and Fulham only two points off second spot.

“The Championship is hard anyway,” said Bilic, who is hoping to take Albion back to the top flight after two seasons in the second tier.

“This season is longer than ever and we should be proud of what we have done so far. Now is the time to finish it off, we’ve got to do it