Fulham sealed promotion to the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa in Saturday’s Championship play-off final.
Tom Cairney’s first-half goal was enough to send Slavisa Jokanovic’s side back into the top flight, four years on from their relegation, despite Denis Odoi being sent off with 20 minutes remaining.
Just five points separated these teams in the 2017-18 table and there was little to split them during a fiercely competitive clash at Wembley, in which in-form Jack Grealish and Ryan Fredericks were both fortunate to escape red cards.
Cairney’s strike deservedly gave Fulham the lead, the midfielder combining with rising star Ryan Sessegnon before finishing with aplomb, and Aleksandar Mitrovic could have doubled the advantage with chances either side of half-time.
Villa improved after the break and were unsurprisingly dominant after Odoi’s dismissal for a second yellow card, but Steve Bruce’s side created little to worry Marcus Bettinelli in the Fulham goal despite their man advantage.
Fulham can now prepare for a return to the riches of the Premier League, along with Wolves and Cardiff City, while Villa must prepare for a third-straight season in the second tier.