Cairney the hero as Fulham strike it rich with Premier League promotion

Wembley Stadium. Image PA

Aston Villa are preparing for their biggest match of the season when they meet Fulham at Wembley Stadium on Saturday and could be without one of their key men for the tie, according to a report on the club's official website.

Despite being under pressure throughout the second half, Tom Cairney's first-half finish proved enough for their often-promising season to end in glory.

Aston Villa, meanwhile, is looking to return to the top flight after two seasons in the Championship.

Championship - Follow the Football match between Aston Villa and Fulham live with Eurosport.

In what was Fulham's first Wembley appearance in 43 years, supporters of the London club duly toasted the goal as if it was a game clincher, yet Villa have warning that they would not surrender without a fight as they battled back in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

Fulham, whose style of play under Serbian manager Slavisa Jokanovic earned plaudits this season, were the first to settle and scored from the game's first piece of quality football.

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Villa pushed hard for an equaliser in the second half and Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli prevented Jack Grealish from netting a superb solo effort.

Between them, they gladly hoovered up danger and it was only Grealish, the dancing Villa playmaker who Fulham failed to mute.

He's certainly built on his showings on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers last term, and having already been handed eight Premier League appearances by Jurgen Klopp, there's hope that he could yet become a top-flight regular. You have two minutes.

Sitting on just 20 points after 17 games of the season and languishing in the bottom half of the table, a 5-4 win against Sheffield United was the catalyst for a resurgence which saw them narrowly miss out on automatic promotion on the final day of the season. "But football won today", declared match victor Cairney. We got a lot of stick.

"I've been playing the whole season not fully fit".

As ever, the ramification from the Championship play-off final will rumble on for many years to come and for Fulham, the glory is all theirs.

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