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Colwill own goal sends the Reds back to Prem for the first time since 1999 in a £200m playoff

BLOWN by a tide of emotion and fueled by unstoppable momentum, Nottingham Forest are back in the Premier League after a 23-year absence.

One of the greatest clubs in English football has been away from the top flight for the past century – but under the enlightened stewardship of Steve Cooper, Forest have risen from the end of the league to the promised land in eight months.

A Levi Colwill own goal in the first half decided the game

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A Levi Colwill own goal in the first half decided the gamePhoto credit: Getty
Nottingham Forest is back in the Premier League for the first time in 23 years

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Nottingham Forest is back in the Premier League for the first time in 23 yearsPhoto credit: Getty

A first-half own goal from Huddersfield defender Levi Colwill was enough to decide football’s richest game – and the Terriers were furious at being denied a penalty in the second half.

But the Tricky Trees will be back next season – at the Etihad, the Emirates and White Hart Lane, taunting the big and powerful with cries of ‘European champions, you’ll never sing that!’

Cooper, the Welshman who led England U17s to the World Cup five years ago, has changed the fortunes of the City Ground since replacing Chris Hughton in September.

FA Cup victories against Arsenal and Leicester, and a near quarter-final defeat by Liverpool, suggested something special was stirring on the banks of the Trento.

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And a stunning late upswing in league form that almost automatically saw Forest promoted ended with Cooper’s men clinching play-off glory at Wembley.

Forest celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the first of their two European Cup victories tomorrow and know they are back where they belong after a generation in English football’s second and third divisions.

Huddersfield, who finished third under Carlos Corberan, has had a stellar season but failed to repeat their 2017 play-off win.

For Forest supporters, this was their first Wembley appearance in 30 years and it felt like they were making up for lost time.

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They were loud enough on the subway. At Wembley, the noise from the red end was cacophonous.

While Cooper’s side utilized most of the early race, as Huddersfield defended with form and conviction, it was a cautious, nervous affair.

You could almost see the thought bubbles above everyone’s head – ‘one slip and there’s £180m in the pan’.

Ryan Yates headed wide from a free kick and then fired from the edge of the box.

Djed Spence was lively down the right flank but without an end product.

Sorba Thomas was Huddersfield’s offensive exit but apart from a cross shot that was blocked out by Brice Samba the Terriers produced nothing in the first half.

When the goal came three minutes before half-time, it was correspondingly dingy.

James Garner attempted a shot from distance, Jack Colback ducked out of the way and Colwill, a youth loanee from Chelsea, deflected him off his knee under pressure from Yates.

Colwill deflected into his own net for the only goal of the game

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Colwill deflected into his own net for the only goal of the gameCredit: PA

With containment no longer an option, Huddersfield was much more urgent and focused after the break.

Jonathan Hogg headed wide of the near post from a corner and Thomas kept threatening to ignite something.

And with 17 minutes left, Carlos Corberan’s men thought they had a penalty when Colback stuck a leg out and Harry cut Toffolo.

But referee Jon Moss, after his swan song, made the bold decision to book Toffolo for diving.

The terrier male was certainly looking for it, but there was contact.

In any case, VAR Paul Tierney supported his colleague and Forest got away with one.

Forst then had to dig in long and hard.

They lost keeper Samba to injury in the final minutes but his replacement Ethan Horvath avoided late scares.

They were loud enough on the subway.

At Wembley, the noise from the red end was cacophonous.

While Cooper’s side utilized most of the early race, as Huddersfield defended with form and conviction, it was a cautious, nervous affair.

You could almost see the thought bubbles above everyone’s head – ‘one slip and there’s £180m in the pan’.

Ryan Yates headed wide from a free kick and then fired from the edge of the box.

Djed Spence was lively down the right flank but without an end product.

Sorba Thomas was Huddersfield’s offensive exit but apart from a cross shot that was blocked out by Brice Samba the Terriers produced nothing in the first half.

When the goal came three minutes before half-time, it was correspondingly dingy.

James Garner attempted a shot from distance, Jack Colback ducked out of the way and Colwill, a youth loanee from Chelsea, deflected him off his knee under pressure from Yates.

With containment no longer an option, Huddersfield was much more urgent and focused after the break.

Jonathan Hogg headed wide of the near post from a corner and Thomas kept threatening to ignite something.

And with 17 minutes left, Carlos Corberan’s men thought they had a penalty when Colback stuck a leg out and Harry cut Toffolo.

But referee Jon Moss, after his swan song, made the bold decision to book Toffolo for diving.

The terrier male was certainly looking for it, but there was contact.

In any case, VAR Paul Tierney supported his colleague and Forest got away with one.

Forst then had to dig in long and hard.

They lost keeper Samba to injury in the final minutes but his replacement Ethan Horvath avoided late scares.

Semi-final shootout hero Brice Samba was substituted late in the game through injury

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Semi-final shootout hero Brice Samba was substituted late in the game through injuryCredit: PA

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5447644/nottingham-forest-promoted-premier-league-huddersfield-play-off-final/ Colwill own goal sends the Reds back to Prem for the first time since 1999 in a £200m playoff

Aila Slisco

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