Dobbie fires Swansea a step closer to elite

Swansea City 3 Nottingham Forest 1

Swansea City manager Brendan Rodgers hailed his side after they booked their place in the Championship play-off final with a second leg win over Nottingham Forest – and set up a potential all-Wales clash against arch-rivals Cardiff City.

After a goalless draw at the City Ground, first-half strikes from Leon Britton and Stephen Dobbie fired the home side two goals clear. Wales striker Robert Earnshaw halved the deficit with ten minutes remaining but Darren Pratley scored from the halfway line with the final kick of the match as Swansea held firm for their first appearance at Wembley in 14 years.

Rodgers beamed: "I'm so proud and it's a wonderful night for the club, players and supporters. The night belongs to them. It was a heroic performance. We were brilliant in the first half and defended well in the second.

"There were a few hairy moments towards the end. I was stood behind Darren and it was a difficult skill to score from so far out. Then all my emotions came out and I knew we were through."

But this much-deserved victory, in front of a record 19,816 crowd at the Liberty Stadium, has raised the hopes in these parts of an enthralling final contest involving one country – Wales – should Cardiff defeat Reading 40 miles down the M4 motorway tonight, and guarantee the Welsh nation a first Premier League place. Rodgers added: "This season has always been about us and we have been brilliant. Wembley will be like a home game for us because of the size of the pitch. But I'm not bothered about who we play. Reading gave me my chance in English football but to play Cardiff would be unbelievable."

It was a rollercoaster of a contest which started when David McGoldrick crashed Dorus de Vries's crossbar with a thundering left-footed effort inside five minutes. Swansea responded as Fabio Borini thumped Lee Camp's woodwork via a wicked Wes Morgan deflection to end a pulsating first 20 minutes.

Then came the opener for the hosts, which was worth the 28-minute wait. Dobbie combined with Scott Sinclair for a short corner routine before the ball arrived at Leon Britton. The diminutive midfielder twisted and then turned away from the challenge of Tudgay before letting fly with a giant swing of his left foot from 25 yards.

Worse was to follow for Forest five minutes later. Dobbie, who ended Forest's play-off hopes at the same stage with Blackpool last season, fended off Guy Moussi and nutmegged Morgan before firing left-footed past Camp from the edge of the penalty box to spark wild celebrations in west Wales.

Swansea could have made it three at the stroke of half-time when Sinclair sent Borini clear but the Italian Under-21 striker saw his drilled effort beaten away by Camp.

Forest, to their credit, refused to give up and Tudgay wasted a glorious chance to give the East Midlands outfit a lifeline, but he thumped the ball high over de Vries' bar from 12 yards. Earnshaw pounced three minutes after appearing off the bench before Pratley sparked a pitch invasion. Swansea now stand one game away from returning to the top-flight after a 28-year wait.

Forest manager Billy Davies has dismissed the notion that he may be forced to leave the two-time European champions following another season of failure. Davies said: "I am not disappointed or down. We have had back-to-back play-off efforts and I can ask no more. When I arrived here I had a three-and-a-half year deal so I'm planning on going nowhere. I'm looking forward to next season."

All eyes are now on Dave Jones and Cardiff, as they seek to set up an epic finale on 30 May.

Swansea (4-3-3): De Vries; Rangel, Monk, Williams, Tate; Allen (Moore, 84), Britton, Dobbie (Pratley, 59); Dyer, Borini, Sinclair (Serran, 88). Substitutes not used Beattie, Orlandi, Gower, Ma-kalambay (gk).

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Camp; Moloney, Morgan, Chambers, Gunter; McGugan, Moussi, McGoldrick (Earnshaw, 78), Cohen; Tudgay (Boyd, 68), Tyson (Majewski, 62). Substitutes not used Anderson, McKenna, Lynch, Smith (gk).

Referee A Marriner (West Midlands).

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments