Veteran Kevin Phillips scored the only goal as Crystal Palace deservedly defeated Watford in a tense Championship play-off final at Wembley.

The 39-year-old, a loser in three previous play-off finals, struck from the penalty spot at the end of the first half of extra time as the Eagles ended an eight-year absence from the Premier League.

It was a superb penalty kick into the top corner and came after a clumsy foul by Marco Cassetti on Wilfried Zaha, who has been at Palace since the age of nine and was playing his final game before his summer move to Manchester United.

Flying Eagles

Victory sees Crystal Palace join Ian Holloway's old side Blackpool as the most successful team in play-off history, with four promotions each.

Watford almost equalised at the very end but Joel Ward headed off the line from Fernando Forestieri as the Eagles held on to win a match that had been described as being worth £120m to the victors.

Palace were almost relegated to the third tier of English football at the end of the 2009-10 season and have been in administration since their last period in the Premier League, but they can now look forward to an exciting and financially beneficial chapter in their history.

In defeating an below-par Watford, Palace become the first club to win promotion to the top flight at the old Wembley, the Millennium Stadium and now the new Wembley.

And they are now the first club to have won promotion to the Premier League five times, although they will be hoping this particular stay is longer than their previous four visits, which all lasted just one season.

Holloway praises 'outstanding' Palace

Perhaps the sheer size of the prize at stake was partly responsible for what was in many ways a disappointing game between the two teams who scored the most goals in this season's Championship.

Zaha had some good touches in the opening 30 minutes and Watford, with seven loan players in their starting XI, eventually began to show the sort of precise, attacking football that had taken them to within a whisker of automatic promotion, but neither goalkeeper had to make a save in the first half.

If anything, the final was worse in the opening stages of the second half before Palace, who had won only one of their final 10 games of the regular season, finally started to create some decent chances.

Aaron Wilbraham, with one goal to his name all season in a Capital One Cup defeat against Preston back in August, had three excellent chances to show that he could handle the big occasion in the absence of injured 30-goal forward Glenn Murray.

He was played clean through with his first opening just before the hour mark but was forced to check inside before his shot was smothered by Manuel Almunia.

After the increasingly ragged Hornets failed to clear an innocuous header back into their box, Wilbraham had a shooting chance just four yards from goal but was again denied by Almunia, who also saved with his legs from Wilbraham shortly before the end of normal time.

Crystal Palace were better - Zola

Stuart O'Keefe - a first-half replacement for the injured Kagisho Dikgacoi - Owen Garvan and skipper Mile Jedinak also forced saves from Almunia.

Watford were extremely poor in the second half but Troy Deeney, who netted the dramatic winner in the semi-final victory over Leicester, seemed certain to score at the start of extra time only for Julian Speroni to make a brave and timely scooped clearance.

But it was the Eagles who eventually found the net, former Watford man Phillips picking out the top corner from the spot in the 105th minute after Cassetti had needlessly brought down Zaha.

Almen Abdi - perhaps typifying his team's afternoon - shot disappointingly wide from a decent position and Ward headed off the line as Palace boss Ian Holloway, who took over in November, saw his team hold on to finish the season with promotion.

Lineup, Bookings (7) & Substitutions (6)

Crystal Palace

  • 01 Speroni
  • 02 Ward Booked
  • 21 Moxey Booked
  • 27 Delaney
  • 33 Gabbidon
  • 08 Dikgacoi (O'Keefe - 17' Booked )
  • 10 Garvan (Moritz - 84' )
  • 15 Jedinak Booked
  • 20 Williams (K Phillips - 65' )
  • 16 Zaha
  • 18 Wilbraham

Substitutes

  • 34 Price
  • 28 Ramage
  • 03 Richards
  • 07 Bolasie
  • 22 O'Keefe
  • 30 Moritz
  • 09 K Phillips

Watford

  • 01 Almunia
  • 12 Doyley
  • 18 Pudil
  • 27 Cassetti Booked
  • 39 Chalobah (Battocchio - 74' )
  • 40 Ekstrand Booked
  • 08 Hogg
  • 21 Anya (Forestieri - 86' )
  • 22 Abdi Booked
  • 09 Deeney
  • 20 Vydra (Geijo - 46' )

Substitutes

  • 30 Bond
  • 06 Hall
  • 17 Briggs
  • 07 Yeates
  • 38 Battocchio
  • 36 Geijo
  • 41 Forestieri
Ref: Atkinson
Att: 82,025

Match Stats

Shots

12 15

On target

10 9

Corners

6 8

Fouls

12 13

Live Text Commentary

120:00 +2:30

The match has finished after extra time.

120:00 +0:39

Troy Deeney takes a shot. Daniel Gabbidon gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Almen Abdi, clearance by Daniel Gabbidon. Corner taken right-footed by Fernando Forestieri from the right by-line, Dean Moxey makes a clearance.

119:28

Shot by Fernando Forestieri from 12 yards. Joel Ward manages to make a clearance.

117:34

The ball is crossed by Cristian Battocchio, Joel Ekstrand takes a shot. Blocked by Joel Ward. Effort on goal by Almen Abdi from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.

116:41

Marco Cassetti delivers the ball, clearance made by Daniel Gabbidon.

112:26

Andre Moritz concedes a free kick for a foul on Troy Deeney. Almen Abdi has an effort direct from the free kick, comfortable save by Julian Speroni.

109:18

The ball is crossed by Jonathan Hogg, Damien Delaney gets a block in. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Fernando Forestieri, Alexandre Geijo gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Julian Speroni. Julian Speroni takes the direct free kick.

109:05

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Marco Cassetti by Kevin Phillips. Marco Cassetti takes the direct free kick.

108:31

Joel Ward sends in a cross.

105:01

The referee starts the second half of extra time.

105:00 +1:50

Mile Jedinak gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Almen Abdi. Fernando Forestieri takes the free kick.

105:00 +0:41

Assist on the goal came from Wilfried Zaha.

105:00 +0:41 Goal scored

Goal! - Kevin Phillips - C Palace 1 - 0 Watford Placed penalty scored by Kevin Phillips. Crystal Palace 1-0 Watford.

104:48 Booking

Booking The referee cautions Marco Cassetti for unsporting behaviour.

104:42

Penalty awarded for a foul by Marco Cassetti on Wilfried Zaha.

103:43

Damien Delaney has shot on goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

102:50

Free kick crossed left-footed by Andre Moritz from left wing, clearance made by Almen Abdi.

102:50 Booking

Booking Booking for Dean Moxey.

102:30

Marco Cassetti concedes a free kick for a foul on Wilfried Zaha.

97:10

Marco Cassetti produces a cross, Daniel Gabbidon manages to make a clearance. Almen Abdi takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Dean Moxey makes a clearance. Shot by Cristian Battocchio from 30 yards. Comfortable save by Julian Speroni.

96:16

The ball is swung over by Joel Ward, blocked by Daniel Pudil. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Andre Moritz from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Jonathan Hogg.

95:51

The ball is delivered by Joel Ward, clearance by Lloyd Doyley.

94:27

Shot by Fernando Forestieri from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.

92:36

Almen Abdi crosses the ball, fantastic save by Julian Speroni.

90:00 +3:30

The whistle goes for the end of normal time.

90:00 +1:37

Wilfried Zaha takes a shot. Blocked by Lloyd Doyley. Andre Moritz takes the outswinging corner, Mile Jedinak takes a shot. Save by Manuel Almunia.

89:26

Shot from just outside the penalty box by Troy Deeney misses to the left of the target.

88:47

Cristian Battocchio sends in a cross, Shot on goal by Troy Deeney from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.

86:01

Joel Ekstrand fouled by Aaron Wilbraham, the ref awards a free kick. Manuel Almunia takes the direct free kick.

84:45

Julian Speroni takes the free kick.

84:45 Substitution

Substitution Ikechi Anya leaves the field to be replaced by Fernando Forestieri.

84:45

The assistant referee signals for offside against Alexandre Geijo.

83:52

Kevin Phillips challenges Cristian Battocchio unfairly and gives away a free kick. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.

83:19

Corner taken by Andre Moritz from the right by-line to the near post, Troy Deeney manages to make a clearance.

83:19 Substitution

Substitution (Crystal Palace) makes a substitution, with Andre Moritz coming on for Owen Garvan.

82:48

Aaron Wilbraham takes a shot. Manuel Almunia makes a brilliant save.

80:52

Free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.

80:52 Booking

Booking Joel Ward is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.

80:35

Owen Garvan takes a shot. Save made by Manuel Almunia. Joel Ward concedes a free kick for a foul on Daniel Pudil.

78:04

Corner taken left-footed by Owen Garvan, Troy Deeney makes a clearance.

77:54

The ball is swung over by Joel Ward, Joel Ekstrand manages to make a clearance.

73:04

Damien Delaney restarts play with the free kick.

73:04 Substitution

Substitution Cristian Battocchio is brought on as a substitute for Nathaniel Chalobah.

73:04

Alexandre Geijo concedes a free kick for a foul on Mile Jedinak.

72:53

Centre by Owen Garvan, clearance by Joel Ekstrand.

72:38

Wilfried Zaha sends in a cross, Lloyd Doyley makes a clearance.

71:21

Owen Garvan has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.

68:54

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Lloyd Doyley by Stuart O'Keefe. Free kick crossed right-footed by Almen Abdi, clearance by Damien Delaney.

68:38

A cross is delivered by Jonathan Hogg, Damien Delaney makes a clearance.

64:32

Corner taken by Owen Garvan played to the near post, Troy Deeney manages to make a clearance. Aaron Wilbraham takes a shot. Save by Manuel Almunia. Inswinging corner taken by Owen Garvan from the right by-line, Lloyd Doyley makes a clearance.

64:32 Substitution

Substitution Kevin Phillips joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jonathan Williams.

64:32

Stuart O'Keefe has a drilled shot. Save made by Manuel Almunia.

62:45

The ball is swung over by Ikechi Anya, save by Julian Speroni.

60:58

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stuart O'Keefe by Jonathan Hogg. Free kick crossed by Owen Garvan.

60:06

The ball is crossed by Dean Moxey, clearance by Marco Cassetti.

59:30

Owen Garvan delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from own half, Troy Deeney makes a clearance.

59:30 Booking

Booking Stuart O'Keefe goes into the referee's book.

58:31 Booking

Booking Almen Abdi receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.

58:02

Aaron Wilbraham takes a shot. Joel Ekstrand gets a block in. Almen Abdi challenges Stuart O'Keefe unfairly and gives away a free kick.

57:02

Lloyd Doyley takes a shot.

56:24

Alexandre Geijo takes a weak shot. Save made by Julian Speroni.

55:15

Free kick awarded for a foul by Marco Cassetti on Wilfried Zaha. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Joel Ward from right wing, save made by Manuel Almunia.

52:26

Marco Cassetti gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Wilfried Zaha. Centre by Owen Garvan, Aaron Wilbraham takes a shot. Blocked by Joel Ekstrand.

48:59

Almen Abdi has an effort at goal. Blocked by Damien Delaney.

48:47

The ball is delivered by Owen Garvan, Daniel Pudil manages to make a clearance.

47:46

Nathaniel Chalobah takes a shot from a long way out which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Matej Vydra goes off and Alexandre Geijo comes on.

45:00 +3:10 Half time

Half Time The match has reached half-time.

45:00 +2:21

Foul by Aaron Wilbraham on Marco Cassetti, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.

42:33

Almen Abdi takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, Dean Moxey makes a clearance. Shot from just outside the box by Ikechi Anya goes over the bar.

37:07

The ball is sent over by Nathaniel Chalobah.

36:50

A cross is delivered by Daniel Pudil, Daniel Gabbidon makes a clearance.

34:48

The ball is swung over by Troy Deeney.

32:18

Matej Vydra takes a shot. Damien Delaney gets a block in. Corner taken right-footed by Almen Abdi, clearance by Mile Jedinak. The ball is swung over by Ikechi Anya, Dean Moxey makes a clearance.

28:33

Matej Vydra delivers the ball, clearance made by Owen Garvan. Almen Abdi takes the inswinging corner, save made by Julian Speroni.

27:54

Direct free kick taken by Almen Abdi.

27:54 Booking

Booking Mile Jedinak goes into the book.

27:48

Almen Abdi fouled by Mile Jedinak, the ref awards a free kick.

26:59

Unfair challenge on Aaron Wilbraham by Nathaniel Chalobah results in a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Owen Garvan. The assistant referee flags for offside against Aaron Wilbraham. Manuel Almunia restarts play with the free kick.

25:47

Free kick awarded for a foul by Marco Cassetti on Aaron Wilbraham. Owen Garvan takes the free kick.

24:43

The official flags Wilfried Zaha offside. Manuel Almunia restarts play with the free kick.

24:28

A cross is delivered by Stuart O'Keefe, clearance by Lloyd Doyley.

23:06

The ball is sent over by Wilfried Zaha, Marco Cassetti gets a block in. Joel Ward gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Daniel Pudil. Free kick taken by Daniel Pudil.

21:24

A cross is delivered by Stuart O'Keefe, clearance by Marco Cassetti.

20:57

Aaron Wilbraham produces a cross, blocked by Joel Ekstrand.

19:39

Owen Garvan takes a shot. Lloyd Doyley gets a block in.

18:48

Mile Jedinak gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Troy Deeney. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Almen Abdi, clearance made by Damien Delaney.

18:05

Joel Ward sends in a cross, Daniel Pudil gets a block in.

16:58 Substitution

Substitution (Crystal Palace) makes a substitution, with Stuart O'Keefe coming on for Kagisho Dikgacoi.

13:54

The ball is swung over by Joel Ward, blocked by Daniel Pudil.

12:33

Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Almen Abdi, Daniel Gabbidon manages to make a clearance.

9:56

Direct free kick taken by Owen Garvan.

9:56 Booking

Booking Booking for Joel Ekstrand for unsporting behaviour.

9:53

Joel Ekstrand gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Aaron Wilbraham.

8:57

Daniel Pudil concedes a free kick for a foul on Wilfried Zaha. Owen Garvan delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, save by Manuel Almunia.

8:07

Aaron Wilbraham takes a shot. Blocked by Marco Cassetti.

7:27

Unfair challenge on Jonathan Williams by Jonathan Hogg results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Damien Delaney.

4:38

Matej Vydra is penalised for a handball. Damien Delaney takes the free kick.

3:40

Daniel Gabbidon challenges Troy Deeney unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Nathaniel Chalobah.

0:00

The match has kicked off.

Live data and text provided by our data suppliers