It had to be … Owls clinch promotion with 123rd minute winner!

After a season which was often dramatic – and sometimes traumatic – it was perhaps fitting that Wednesday should clinch our place back in the Championship with a 123rd minute winner in the League One play-off final clash with Barnsley at Wembley on Monday afternoon.

It was a campaign of breaking records, failing to make automatic promotion from a great position with 12 games left and then staging the comeback of all comebacks in play-off history to beat Peterborough in the semi final second leg on a memorable night at Hillsborough. So it was perhaps little surprise when Josh Windass dived to head home from Lee Gregory’s cross with the last move of the match, and of the League One season, to see Wednesday to a 1-0 victory and promotion.

It wasn’t a classic, particularly in the first half, but that won’t worry the 44,000 Wednesday fans in the 72,492 crowd as the late, late goal from Windass sent them into raptures.

Barry Bannan and Dominic Iorfa both went close in a first half of few clearcut chances but the second period burst into life with Barnsley’s Adam Phillips soon red carded for a challenge on Gregory.

The dismissal sparked Barnsley into action, Liam Kitching diverting a header against the crossbar before Barry Bannan curled just wide at the other end.

Keeper Harry Isted did well to keep out a deflection by his defender Jordan Williams while Cameron Dawson produced an excellent save from a fierce angled drive by James Norwood.

With the game moving into extra time, Wednesday looked the more likely to break the deadlock, Michael Ihiekwe going close with a header and Bannan sending a long-ranger inches too high.

Isted saved at close range from Michael Smith and then denied Bannan before Barnsley missed their best chance of the game on the break, Luca Connell skewing wide when unmarked at the far post.

However, Wednesday continued to create most of the openings and thought they had taken the lead in the second half of extra time, substitute Will Vaulks firing home a cracking effort from the edge of the box, only for the linesman’s flag to rule it out for an earlier offside.

Gregory’s effort was then blocked but, with penalties looming, the same player crossed from the left and there was the diving Windass to head home in style in front of the massed ranks of Wednesdayites behind that goal.

And there was just time for Barnsley to kick off again before referee Tim Robinson blew the final whistle to signal great scenes of celebration by players and supporters alike as Wednesday confirmed their return to the second tier of English football.

Dawson, Paterson (Vaulks 78), Iorfa, Ihiekwe, James (Hunt 113), Palmer, Johnson, Bannan (Dele-Bashiru 116), Windass, Gregory, Smith. Unused subs: Stockdale, Brown, Adeniran, Flint. Attendance: 72,492.







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