Huddersfield win 'written in the stars'
Huddersfield Town 0 Sheffield United 0 - Huddersfield Town win 8-7 on penalties
Monday 28 May 2012
Huddersfield Town will today celebrate their promotion to the Championship with an open-top bus parade, which will take the squad from the Galpharm Stadium to the Town Hall for a civic reception.
"This is sure to be a fantastic and emotional occasion," said the club's chief executive, Nigel Clibbens, who implored supporters to "wear your blue and white, bring your flags, make some noise and help us celebrate promotion to the Championship".
The celebrations come following a truly remarkable penalty shoot-out in Saturday's League One play-off final. Indeed Huddersfield's manager, Simon Grayson, said he did not watch any of the 22 nerve-shredding spot-kicks which eventually saw his side secure promotion.
Town missed their first three efforts but won a hair-rasing shoot-out 8-7 against Sheffield United after a goalless 120 minutes at Wembley.
Grayson said: "I couldn't affect anything so I just sat down on the bench next to my chairman, I didn't watch any of them. I could tell by the crowd what was happening, basically we just had a laugh and a joke about what was going to happen.
"It's down to the players. Sometimes it's written in the stars: you get your bit of luck and we managed to do it."
The Sheffield United goalkeeper, Steve Simonsen, the last player left on the pitch to try his luck, fired over the crossbar moments after opposite number, Alex Smithies, had scored with his side's 11th penalty.
Grayson only took over in February, replacing Lee Clark just 20 days after being sacked himself, by Leeds. But he will now get the opportunity to return to Elland Road with Huddersfield next season, after securing his third promotion from League One as a manager.
"When we put together the first five penalty takers we didn't expect it to go down to the goalkeepers to take them," said Grayson. "I expected them to save a couple but not to take the decisive ones. We missed the first three, so how we recovered from that I'll never know."
The Sheffield United manager, Danny Wilson, found it difficult to console his players after the nerve-shredding finale ended with such disappointment. United have now lost all four of the play-off finals they have contested – and they have not managed to find the net in any of them.
With three games to go this season the Blades were second in League One but having lost their top scorer, Ched Evans, to a jail term after he was found guilty of rape, they were pipped to automatic promotion by Sheffield Wednesday.
The outcome of Saturday's match was particularly cruel for Simonsen, who had kept his team in the final with some fine stops as Huddersfield created the best of few chances. He then saved two of Huddersfield's first three spot-kicks.
Wilson said: "I can't think of a worse way to lose. Steve had a terrific game. Who would have thought it would come down to the two keepers? These boys are devastated. It's very difficult to console them."
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