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Windass sends Hull into Premier League dreamland

SoccerNews in English Premier League 24 May 2008


Hull will play in the Premier League for the first time in their 104-year history after a stunning goal from Dean Windass clinched a 1-0 win over Bristol City in Saturday's Championship play-off final.

Just seven years after financial problems left them on the brink of extinction, Phil Brown's side can look forward to welcoming Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and company to the KC Stadium.

It was fitting that Windass's sublime first-half volley at Wembley should give Hull their place amongst English football's elite.

Nobody epitomises the working-class city better than the journeyman striker who returned to his hometown club last year after spells at Aberdeen, Oxford, Bradford and Middlesbrough.

Windass, 39, cost Brown just 150,000 pounds but that looks a bargain as his 15th goal of the season earned the club an estimated 60 million pounds (75 million euros) windfall.

After decades spent marooned in the game's backwaters, this was a chance for two unfashionable clubs to sample the rarefied atmosphere normally reserved for more illustrious names.

The vibrant, raucous scene at a packed out Wembley was the perfect backdrop to an enthralling clash and it was Bristol who imposed themselves first.

They had a golden chance to take the lead when Dele Adebola showed his power to reach Marvin Elliott's flick ahead of Andy Dawson, only for the giant striker to shoot tamely at Boaz Myhill.

Gary Johnson's side threatened again through Australia midfielder Nicky Carle. Adebola was the provider this time with a neat flick and Carle cleverly made space for a scuffed shot that didn't match the quality of the build-up.

When Hull created their first opening it came in a more rudimentary fashion as Michael Turner headed just wide from a corner.

That was the signal for Brown's team to raise their tempo. Richard Garcia went close when he met Sam Ricketts' cross with a diving header that narrowly cleared the crossbar.

Hull's success has owed much to the prolific form of on-loan Manchester United striker Fraizer Campbell and he played a key role as his side took the lead in the 38th minute.

His mazy run caused panic in the Bristol defence and three players were attracted across to try to snuff out the danger.

It was a rush of blood which left Windass unmarked on the edge of the penalty area. Campbell's composed chip picked out his team-mate and Windass did the rest with a stunning volley that flashed past Adriano Basso.

City's prospects of ending their 28-year exile from top-flight hardly improved when right-back Bradley Orr was stretchered off wearing an oxygen mask after suffering a fractured cheekbone in an accidental collision.

They emerged with renewed focus after half-time and were denied a penalty by referee Alan Wiley when Michael McIndoe's free-kick struck Wayne Brown high on his arm.

Lee Trundle should have done better than glance his header wide from a good position moments later but the momentum was back with Bristol.

Brown responded by taking off Windass and Nicky Barmby as his veteran playmakers began to show their age.

Windass departed to a standing ovation with his place in Hull's history books was almost secure.

City's effort was unstinting until the end, but a lack of cutting edge let them down. Never more so than when Trundle couldn't keep his shot away from Myhill.

Trundle had one final chance when he took aim from close range but Turner's heroic block-tackle kept him out and moments later the whistle sounded.

Hull's unwanted tag as the largest English city never to have hosted top-flight football can be discarded at last.


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