Phillips sets Ollie’s Eagles soaring

Crystal Palace celebrate winning the npower Football League Championship play off final after the npower Football League Championship Play Off Final
Crystal Palace celebrate winning the npower Football League Championship play off final after the npower Football League Championship Play Off Final
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Former Pool star Kevin Phillips grabbed the golden goal to fire Crystal Palace into the Barclays Premier League and end his play-off final hoodoo.

The evergreen striker, who turns 40 in the summer, kept his nerve to blast in an extra-time penalty and dash his former club Watford’s dreams of promotion.

It was a special moment for Phillips, who had lost all three of his previous play-off finals.

And it was special too for manager Ian Holloway, whose Blackpool side were beaten by West Ham in last year’s final, and who has been the fiercest critic of Watford’s controversial use of loan players.

There were few chances in the regular 90 minutes - which Palace edged in terms of posession and chances.

But the Eagles finally found their way through in the first period of extra time.

Cassetti, by now dizzy having been twisted and turned by Wilfred Zaha yet again, brought the winger down in the area.

Referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot and Phillips crashed the penalty high into the net.

The drama did not end there with Joel Ward clearing Fernando Forestieri’s shot off the line in stoppage time.

But it was Zaha, Phillips and Holloway who were celebrating moments later as the Eagles secured their return to the top flight after an eight-year absence.