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Championship playoff final tie confirmed as second club advances through

The Championship playoff final is now confirmed as a second club advances through to the exciting Wembley occasion later this month.

Monday the 16th of May was the 23rd anniversary of Nottingham Forest’s last game in the top-flight and in the last two decades, they spent three years in the third tier between 2005 and 2008 before going on to spend the remaining years in the Championship as well as went through countless amounts of managers.

However, fast forward to 2022 and there is a sense of change, optimism and that’s largely thanks to boss Steve Cooper who has overseen a complete transformation at the City Ground since he took over in September.

From the 2nd to the 9th game of their Championship season, they sat in the relegation zone.

Last Saturday, they won 2-1 in the first leg playoff semi final at Sheffield United meaning all they had to do was avoid defeat on Tuesday night to see them reach a playoff final for the first time in their history.

Paul Heckingbottom’s Blades knew they had to do everything they could to make sure that doesn’t happen, so in this article, this is how tonight’s game played out…

The Blades started the game quick and pressing high as they looked to make the game as uncomfortable as possible for the home side.

Jack Robinson hurled a long throw into the box that Forest scrapped clear.

Another Robinson throw caused an issue and Egan won the first contact this time. He headed the ball wide from 12 yards.

The Blades should have been in front 13 minutes in. Gibbs-White produced the quality on the left and found Ndiaye in the centre of goal with only Samba to beat. The goalkeeper was out quickly to make a sensational block.

Then on the 20th minute, Brennan Johnson bagged his 19th of the season to put Nottingham Forest in pole position to reach Wembley.

Sam Surridge ran down the left for the Reds, kept his composure before sending a square ball for onrushing Johnson to put the ball into the back of the net from inside the area.

Sky Sports’ EFL Editor Simeon Gholam at the City Ground: “And there’s the difference a clinical forward makes. Sheffield United have a glorious opportunity down one end a few minutes ago they couldn’t take, then the boy Johnson finds the finish at the other when the chance comes his way.

“Another pivotal moment in this tie. Forest have just taken a big step towards the final.”

Forest tried to get a second minutes later. Surridge key yet again. He linked with Spence and got the ball back in the box with a third man run. His low effort blocked away by Egan.

Forest midfielder James Garner sent an effort wide from 20 yards before Iliman Ndiaye picked up a loose ball after Forest fluff a clearance. The Frenchman curled a shot at goal but it was too close to Brice Samba.

There was a huge flashpoint on the touchline in the 37th minute, Spence and Heckingbottom got heated if you like rather than had a full on altercation before both sets of players waded in.

Replays show Heckingbottom thrust the ball into the midriff of Spence, clearly trying to encourage him to hurry up. The Blades boss was booked.

It was game on almost immediately from the second half kicking off.

Berge kept an attack alive down the right and dug out a fine cross. The finish matched the quality of the cross as the on-loan Wolves man produced a tidy finish into the corner.

The Blades needed just one goal away from levelling the tie.

Sky Sports’ EFL Editor Simeon Gholam at the City Ground: “That is huge. Sheffield United have raced out of the blocks in this second half, and got a goal that has completely, completely changed the complexion of this tie.

“This will not be a procession to Wembley for Nottingham Forest. What drama.”

One too many fouls from Robinson on Johnson, this time his first challenge on him is a tad reckless and he’s handed a yellow.

In the 66th minute, Zinckernagel made a surging run down the right and won his team a corner.

A penalty appeal wasn’t given after Worrall won the header and it dropped down off Basham’s hand. Michael Oliver said no chance.

Nottingham Forest showed signs of shaking, and that they did when they conceded another in the 75th minute.

Baldock ran down the right, twisted and turned past Colback before sending the ball in and Fleck punted it in. He was the only Blades man in the box, getting his second goal of the season and make the aggregate score level.

Sky Sports’ Don Goodman: “Forest’s lead was fragile, and the way this game was going, this outcome could always have occurred. Forest haven’t threatened the Sheffield United goal and now they are going to have to dig very, very deep.”

Forest looked even more vulnerable with Norwood putting the ball in, going to the back post which Ndiaye got on the end of then fluffed his effort at goal, going wide.

Then there was nearly one of the most extraordinary own goals you would have ever seen. McKenna played a blind pass back to his goalkeeper and got far too much pace on the ball. It beat the goalkeeper and rolled out for a corner kick. Only a few yards away from the bottom corner that one. An absolutely nail-biting finale to this second half.

The 85th minute and Davis got away down the left and drilled a low ball that Lolley hit first-time but Robinson hacked it away for a corner. Cook rose highest from 10 yards but headed over the bar.

By this point, Nottingham Forest had one shot on target all game with Brennan Johnson making it count but they were going to need more if they wanted to get through to the final.

Keinan Davis saw a shot blocked from 20 yards out and then James Garner head over from a Djed Spence cross with Forest pressing more before it going more end to end with the clock running down.

Garner got free on the edge of looked to curl one into the corner. Robinson made another block to send it out for a corner… which was cleared and the whistle blew. Extra time awaited.

93rd minute (ET): Norwood spots the run of Ndiaye in behind McKenna and the striker got there on the angle. He tested Samba at his near post but the goalkeeper was equal to the strike.

96th minute (ET): Johnson finally saw some ball and delivered one for Davis to attack. He got there ahead of Egan but his finish lacked the pace to really test Foderingham.

107: Forest broke and the Blades defence came apart at the seam. Johnson sent a low ball into the box but Lolley slipped as he drew his foot back from 10 yards. Easy for Foderingham in the end. Johnson got an acrobatic volley on Djed Spence’s cross but straight at Foderingham again.

114: The Blades putting in a fight to get something from this. Berge drove into space and let loose with a 25-yard drive. It deflected wide.

115: Samba denied Gibbs-White from six yards out. A huge save with it turning more end to end again with minutes remaining.

118: Berge sent a 50-yard crossfield ball to Hourihane on the left. His effort a perfect low cross that Gibbs-White attacked but he couldn’t quite make contact.

121: PENALTY APPEAL… NOT GIVEN!! A flick on dropped to Robinson who head one past Samba who flew off his line. There didn’t look to be contact, Robinson adjudged to be looking for it. Michael Oliver had a good look but waved it away.

The two couldn’t be separated and the whistle blew with penalties making the atmosphere even more tense.


Nottingham Forest 0-0 Sheffield United
SAVED!! Norwood is denied by a brilliant Samba save!!

Nottingham Forest 1-0 Sheffield United
SCORED! No mistake from Johnson. Advantage Forest!

Nottingham Forest 1-0 Sheffield United
SAVED AGAIN! Hourihane denied by Samba, who doesn’t dive but deflects it onto the bar. Incredible.

Nottingham Forest 2-0 Sheffield United
SCORED! Cafu has been on the pitch a matter of second but just smashes the ball to find a way past Foderingham.

Nottingham Forest 2-1 Sheffield United
SCORED!! Berge gets one on the board for the Blades. But they are staring down the barrel.

Nottingham Forest 3-1 Sheffield United
SCORED! Cool as you like from Steve Cook as he strides forward and sends the goalkeeper the wrong way. Pressure on Sheffield United, who have to score.

Nottingham Forest 3-2 Sheffield United
SCORED!! Ndiaye keeps United alive.

Nottingham Forest 3-2 Sheffield United
MISSED! Up steps Lolley, but he slices it over the bar. Remarkable. Sheffield United reprieved at the last.

Nottingham Forest 3-2 Sheffield United

Huddersfield sealed their place in the Championship playoff final with a nervy 1-0 win over Luton on Monday night. See more on that HERE.

With the scores level at 1-1 from the first leg at Kenilworth Road it was the visitors who had much the better of the play and chances in West Yorkshire but they were unable to make the crucial breakthrough.

The game was seemingly destined for extra-time Jordan Rhodes popped up with an 83rd minute winner to send the Terriers to Wembley.

They will now look to secure a second promotion to the Premier League, having previously gone up through the play-offs in 2017.

Twitter users reacted with this year’s Championship playoff final tie confirmed as a second club advances through…

@antoneee_x: Brice Samba is so good he helped me save money on my car insurance

@philq001: As a Villa fan, delighted Forest have, deservedly, got to the Play Off Final and sincerely hope you make it past Huddersfield to return to the Premier League. Proper club, Proper fans.

@TheCashCFC: Even a neutral I absolutely loved that scenes at the end. One step closer and a long time coming. You’ve been patient enough. All the best for the final.

@NickCorste: The fairytale soon becomes a reality. We’re all rooting for you!

@jonotyler80: For years you’ve broke my heart but God I love this club. #NFFC

@JayJPavfc: Forest should be in the Prem, been out of the top for far too long, a return is long overdue. P.S. Thanks for Matty Cash AKA The Polish Cafu.

@Mastiha7: Congratulations on the win. Stressful game tonight but the result is what matters. One more step!

@MMillennial87: This club seems determined to give me a heart attack 😭

@laurencedavies: Yes we are!! 🙏. We’ll done to Cooper, all the players, coaching team, ground workers and all that work at the greatest team in the world! YOU DONE IT!! ❤️🤍

@midhurst_pete: Well played Sheff. Commiserations there. You made us looked really poor there for 90 of the 120 minutes. We were probably the better team over the two legs, but you were bloody close. You should be bloody proud of where you finished from where you were when Hecks took over

@dj_zotov: Well played to you guys. You made it an epic night on the banks of the Trent. Penalties always a tough way to lose but just remember it was our keeper that stepped up to win it rather your players losing it. #NFFC #SUFC

@MattUTB: We weren’t ready either way tbh. One more season of developing and I think we will be solid

@dave_ltm: Well played! Best team on the night but this is the playoffs and the drama of the Championship! I can now go back to liking Benny Osborn and the only decent Lester again now!

@KieranD83672193: Fair play blades, much the better side tonight, still hate you and am buzzing that we’ve got revenge for ‘03 though👍 Hope to see you in the prem in 18ish months

@lewis__perkins: No first team strikers available, Wrote off in the 1st leg. Thank-you Hecky and all the players, Tremendous effort!

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