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Huddersfield Town 0 Reading 0 (aet, 4-3 pens): Ward the hero as Wagner's men go up

Goal.com logo Goal.com 29-05-2017

Goalkeeper Danny Ward was the hero as Huddersfield Town beat Reading 4-3 on penalties to win promotion to the Premier League for the first time.

Izzy Brown missed a glorious early chance for Huddersfield which proved to be the best of a tense and scrappy 120 minutes of action, which ended 0-0.

Huddersfield's Michael Hefele and Reading's Liam Moore then missed in the shoot-out, before the decisive moment saw Ward save from Jordan Obita, allowing Christopher Schindler to hit the winning spot-kick and spark delirious celebrations.

Promotion in David Wagner's first full season as manager means Huddersfield end a 45-year wait for top-flight football, reaching the highest level for the first time in the Premier League era.

The stakes were huge, with the value of Huddersfield's promotion estimated at £170million, a figure that rises to £290m if top-flight survival is secured next season.

Huddersfield almost struck first when Hefele headed wide from close range after Aaron Mooy's free-kick in a great early chance.

And Wagner's men soon squandered an even better opportunity, good work from Elias Kachunga down the right seeing him find Brown two yards out at the far post, only for the on-loan Chelsea attacker to somehow miss the target.

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Lewis Grabban curled wide for Reading, but the match soon became a scrappy affair as the first half ended with three yellow cards and no shots on target.

The second half got off to a better start, with Chris Lowe and John Swift forcing saves from Ali Al-Habsi and Ward respectively.

Huddersfield then had a penalty claim refused when Hefele went down under Joey van den Berg's challenge as the defender attempted to hack clear.

The first substitutions saw Obita replace Van den Berg for Reading, while Wagner replaced a frustrated Kachunga with Collin Quaner.

After a stumbling Quaner squandered a Huddersfield chance, Jaap Stam introduced Garath McCleary in a bid to find a breakthrough, while Wagner lost captain Tommy Smith to injury, meaning Martin Cranie came on.

The last chances of regulation time saw Chris Gunter head over McCleary's cross and Nakhi Wells shoot straight at Al-Habsi at the other end as the match moved into extra time.

Brown was hoping his early miss would not prove costly when he was replaced by fellow Chelsea loanee Kasey Palmer, while Reading's final change saw Liam Kelly replace Swift.

McCleary fired narrowly wide for Reading, before Huddersfield's Wells dragged an effort wide with the best chance of extra time and the match moved to penalties.

The first three spot-kicks were scored, before Al-Habsi saved a tame effort from Hefele to give Reading the advantage.

Kelly and Wells then converted confidently, before Moore blazed over the crossbar, allowing Mooy to level the shoot-out at three apiece.

Reading failed to convert a second straight penalty when Ward saved from Obita, allowing Schindler to seal glory and a remarkable triumph for a team that finished 19th in last season's Championship.

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