Aston Villa sink Derby in 2-1 thriller to win promotion to the Premier League after three years out

Aston Villa won promotion to the Premier League Monday and secured an estimated Ksh 21.8 billion (£170 million) windfall as they held off a late Derby County fightback to win the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

Villa, who were beaten by Fulham in last season’s final, seemed to be cruising to victory when John McGinn added to Anwar El Ghazi’s first-half strike to put them 2-0 up with 30 minutes to go.

But, Rams boss Frank Lampard threw caution to the wind and his side set up a frantic finale when substitute Jack Marriott’s effort from eight yards took a deflection off Martyn Waghorn on its way in.

Despite seven minutes of injury time they could not force an equaliser and now face another season in the second tier, while Villa return to the Premier League for the first time since relegation in 2016.

Promotion at Wembley caps off a remarkable three months for Villa who had looked out of the promotion race before a club-record 10-match winning run saw them finish fifth.

“We’ve got a Villa fan making the kit, a Villa fan as manager and a Villa fan as captain.”

The words of Jack Grealish to Sky Sports seem to sum up what has made the difference at Aston Villa. It’s a togetherness, a brotherhood. People who care and want the best for the club.

Not to mention a future king in the stands.

Prince William cheers on Aston Villa during their match with Derby. PHOTO/COURTESY

One of the biggest clubs in the country, once a European Cup winner on a famous night in Rotterdam, now back in the elite.

Derby County did the EFL proud too, showing passion, heart and a never-say-die attitude. They just could not find a way through that collective Villa despite a late rally.

Aston Villa players and coach celebrating after being promoted to the premier League after beating derby 2-1. PHOTO/COURTESY

For Villa though, this is only the start of it, the Premier League will be a tough test for the players, but Monday night was about celebration.

“We’ll get steaming,” joked John McGinn. They deserve it.

Derby County had a chance to bag promotion to the Premier League this season, but it fell short at the final hurdle.

Derby Manager Frank Lampard and a player after losing 2-1 to Aston Villa. PHOTO/COURTESY

Their manager Frank Lampard came in last summer and brought a freshness to the Rams, adding quality like Jack Marriott – who made an impression off the bench – and Chelsea loanees Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount.

Harry Wilson, also a loanee, was another key part of an exciting young side. But next season could be an interesting test. Can Lampard pick this team up? Can they recruit those young stars again? Will Lampard even be at Pride Park next season?

It will be a big summer for the Rams. It was almost the perfect first campaign.

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