Wells on way to Wembley
Nahki Wells is one game away from becoming a Premier League footballer after Huddersfield Town defeated Sheffield Wednesday on penalties to reach the Sky Bet Championship play-off final.
Wells, who played a key role in Huddersfield's leveller after Steven Fletcher had given Wednesday the lead, kept his cool to score his side's third penalty in their 4-3 shoot-out win at Hillsborough.
The 26-year-old Bermudian is now set to make his third appearance at Wembley. He played twice at the iconic stadium in 2013 for Bradford City, in a 5-0 defeat to Swansea City in the League Cup final before scoring in a 3-0 victory over Northampton Town in a League Two play-off decider.
Huddersfield, who were held to a goalless draw at home in the first leg, will meet Reading in the final on May 29.
Goalkeeper Danny Ward on loan from Liverpool, saved penalties from Sam Hutchinson and Fernando Forestieri to give Huddersfield the shoot-out win after the match had finished 1-1 after extra time.
It had always looked possible that the tie would go the distance after Sunday's opening leg between the two sides had ended scoreless, with Wednesday failing to manage a single shot on target. Despite losing Ross Wallace to injury early on, the home side made a bright start to the second leg and substitute Adam Reach forced a sharp save from Ward at his near post.
However, Town had the best chance in the first half but Izzy Brown's shot hit the outside of the post after Wells had found the Chelsea loanee with a low cross.
Wednesday opened the scoring in the 51st minute when Bannan, who was given a far more free role compared to the first game, sent a perfectly-measured cross to the back post where Fletcher rose above Christopher Schindler to head in.
After initially being rocked, Town responded well and got a deserved equaliser when Collin Quaner got on the end of a neat ball from Brown and squared a low ball across the face of goal, which Lees — under pressure from Wells, who celebrated as though he had scored — inadvertently diverted in to level the tie with 15 minutes to go.
Both teams had chances to win it in extra time but Ward saved well from Jordan Rhodes and Wells fired into the side netting after a mis-hit-shot broke to him.
Town eventually prevailed when Ward dived to his right to keep Forestieri's effort out and set up an appearance against Reading in the final at Wembley.
Wagner, who joked prior to the game that “everyone knows Germans are able to win penalties”, has maintained all campaign that his team were underdogs for promotion — but they are now just 90 minutes from reaching the Premier League for the first time in their history.
“Everyone knows most pundits said we would be in relegation trouble or we'd get relegated and now we're one step away from the Premier League,” he said after his side's win. “We are the small dog, the terrier, but we have belief. Now we are in the final the fairytale goes on and we want to write the last chapter at Wembley.”
This was the second successive season that Wednesday had reached the Championship play-offs.
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