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Huddersfield win the richest game in world football

GOLDEN MOMENT: Town players celebrate the winning penalty

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN won promotion to the Premier League after a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Wembley today (May 29). Town defender Christopher Schindler scored the vital penalty after crucial failures by Reading’s Liam Moore and Jordan Obita.

Town’s deserved win in this Championship play-off final has landed them a place among football’s elite and guarantees that they earned a cool £170 million in the process.

The Yorkshire outfit’s financial future is now secured in the short and mid term and should they survive in the English Premier League their bank manager will be one of the happiest men on earth.

Lucrative television contracts domestically and throughout the world ensures that David Wagner’s side are guaranteed at least £95 million pounds, plus £75 million pounds in so-called parachute payments.

However, their beaten opponents will feel hard done having lost out during the penalty lottery having finished some two places higher than Huddersfield in the final Championship table.

Huddersfield’s vociferous blue and white hordes were noisy throughout while those supporting the Royals appeared a little bit more subdued; it was a sign of things to come.

Pre-match the minute’s silence for those that lost their lives in last Monday’s terrorist attack in Manchester was impeccably observed, and was followed by a wall of noise from both sets of fans that surely registered on the Richter Scale.

The match started with a verve and energy that suggested lots of goals. We didn’t get one in regulation time but that did not diminish the tension.

The first genuine opening saw Town talisman Michael Hefele head wide after an early corner. Next it was the turn of Town striker Nahki Wells to cause some panic in the Reading defence. The diminutive striker ran from his own half but failed to take advantage after a powerful, with only a corner to show for his lung-busting efforts.

But the best chance of the half fell to Chelsea loanee, Isaiah Brown. Brown has had a tremendous campaign but he was unable, when just yards from the Reading goal, to take advantage of Elias Kachunga’s cross cum shot.

Lewis Grabban had Reading’s first notable effort but his right foot curler did not unduly trouble the sprawling Danny Ward in the Huddersfield goal.

Thereafter Reading engaged in a period of keep ball that had Town players and their fans mesmerised. While the passage was easy on the eye the Berkshire team did not threaten their opponent’s goal.

A Wells cross had the Royals worried but once again Wagner’s men had to console themselves with a corner kick.

The second period saw early chances exchanged. Chris Lowe saw a shot thwarted by Ali Al-Habsi while a John Swift effort was dealt with by Danny Ward. Grabban was at it again but his deft flick, after seeing off Hefele, went wide of the Town upright.

Sub Colin Quaner then bundled the ball wide after the impressive Aaron Mooy created an unexpected chance for the big front man. It looked easier to score.

Huddersfield were the better team for most of this match and anything that Reading had to offer was usually repelled by the impressive Hefele who was proving a class act with tackles and clearance et al.

In the closing minutes Town lost their influential captain Tommy Smith due to injury and he was replaced by Martin Cranie.

Reading, during the dying embers of the half, had two openings but could not capitalise, as neither Chris Gunter or Swift could finish half chances.

As the match entered into extra time, there were two very tired teams on show. With penalties approaching only Garath McLeary and Wells looked likely to break the deadlock for their respective sides. They didn’t and penalties decided this match.

Town looked in trouble after hero Hefele missed his team’s second kick. But ice cool Schindler won it after Liam Moore blazed over and Jordan Obita's effort had been saved by Danny Ward.

The Town can now look forward to visits to Stamford Bridge, Anfield and the Emirates Stadium having hit the jackpot in more ways than one.

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