Joe Bryan scored twice in extra-time as Fulham overcame Brentford 2-1 at Wembley to earn promotion back into the Premier League.
The Cottagers started the brighter as Josh Onomah forced David Raya into a pair of smart saves before Brentford grew into the contest before the break without troubling Marek Rodak.
Chances came few and far between in the second period as Scott Parker’s masterplan continued to stifle Thomas Frank’s side, though overall it was a contest bereft of any significant quality.
However, a majestic Bryan brace in extra-time eventually fired an impressive Fulham back into the top flight at the first time of asking.
Thus, let’s get into some player ratings.
David Raya (GK) – 5/10 – Superb for the most part but ultimately, it was a pair of Raya errors which led to the only goal of the game.
Henrik Dalsgaard (RB) – 7/10 – Typically steady and reliable. Scored a late headed consolation.
Pontus Jansson (CB) – 6/10 – There wasn’t anything wrong with the Brentford skipper’s display, but it’s yet more play-off heartbreak for the Swede.
Ethan Pinnock (CB) – 7/10 – A star performer since the restart, Pinnock continued his fine form to round off the campaign with a stout showing at Wembley. He couldn’t have done much more against a Fulham side that constantly probed.
Rico Henry (LB) – 6/10 – Provided Thomas Frank with a reliable outlet down the left which facilitated the movement of Benrahma inside. Wasn’t mightily effective going forward despite his advanced positioning but was nonetheless a threat and defended soundly throughout.
Mathias Jensen (CM) – 4/10 – Often dragged out of position by Fulham’s superb double pivot which left more space for playmaker Onomah to wreak havoc between the lines. Earned a yellow card for his troubles late on as well.
Christian Norgaard (CM) – 7/10 – The shining light in a poor Brentford midfield. Astute positionally and efficient in possession, this was a fine showing from the ever-impressive holding midfielder.
Joshua Dasilva (CM) – 5/10 – Started slowly but grew into proceedings as the game wore on as he was able to receive possession in more advanced areas. Quiet overall, though.
Bryan Mbeumo (RW) – 5/10 – A bitterly disappointing showing from the talented Frenchman. Offered very little when the Bees were able to progress into the final third and was hauled off just after the hour mark.
Ollie Watkins (ST) – 6/10 – Looked isolated for much of the 120 minutes and struggled one-on-one against the imperious Michael Hector. Also failed to combine on occasions and struggled to take advantage of a few opportunities in transition. Certainly grew into the contest as the game wore on but it wasn’t enough.
Said Benrahma (LW) – 6/10 – Caused problems in the first period with his movements into the half-space but rarely found himself with the ball his feet. Showed glimpses of quality after the break but a quiet showing overall.
Emiliano – 5/10
Sergi Canos – 6/10
Halil Dervisoglu – 6/10
Tariqe Fosu – 6/10
Marek Rodak (GK) – 7/10 – Rarely tested but did well to deny Watkins from the edge of the area with a strong palm over the bar. Assured with everything that was asked of him.
Denis Odoi (RB) – 6/10 – The more conservative of the Fulham full-backs due to the threat of Benrahma but stuck to his defensive task diligently and offered the occasional foray into the final third when necessary.
Michael Hector (CB) – 8/10 – Continues to have a profound effect on this Fulham defence. Certainly got the better of Watkins throughout via some physical, no-nonsense centre-back play and stout one-v-one defending. Also denied the Bees hitman brilliantly in the opening stages of extra-time.
Tim Ream (CB) – 6/10 – Impressive defensively as he read the game superbly but was mightily frustrating in possession. Often failed to find the mark over longer distances.
Joe Bryan (LB) – 9/10 – It wasn’t quite the dynamic display we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from Bryan this season, but he simply stole the show in extra time; showing tremendous innovation to bag the game’s opener before securing Fulham’s promotion with a superbly taken second in the dying embers.
Harrison Reed (CM) – 8/10 – Part of a mightily impressive Fulham double pivot. Reed offered bite out of possession and showed off immense technique with the ball at his feet, serving as the metronome in Parker’s side. Constantly demanded the ball and constantly retained possession.
Tom Cairney (CM) – 8/10 – Similar to Reed in that he served as a metronomic figure by persistently offering angles and opening up passing lanes through the first phase. Circulated possession efficiently as well and showed off capacity to play vertically. Fulham’s pivot were able to manoeuvre past Brentford’s aggressive midfield man-marking with ease.
Neeskens Kebano (RM) – 7/10 – The Cottagers’ semi-final hero was bright and certainly offered some attacking thrust. He caused Henry issues one-on-one but often failed to find the mark with his delivery. Substituted with ten minutes remaining.
Josh Onomah (AM) – 8/10 – Buoyed by his semi-final magic, Onomah enjoyed a fine evening at Wembley. He flourished in the number ten role, taking up smart positions in between the lines and constantly posing dilemmas to the Brentford defence with determined surges with the ball. A superb showing.
Bobby Reid (LM) – 5/10 – Rarely involved and spurned the most promising opening of the second period by placing his effort wide from inside the box. Replaced by Aleksandar Mitrovic in the dying embers of normal time.
Aboubakar Kamara (ST) – 7/10 – Had the tough task of filling the void left by Golden Boot victor Mitrovic but performed his function in Parker’s impressive tactical set-up admirably. Provided plenty of energy and was key in the Cottagers’ press which disrupted the Bees’ build-up regularly – especially early on.
Anthony Knockaert – 7/10
Aleksandar Mitrovic – 6/10
Ivan Cavaleiro – 5/10
Cyrus Christie – 6/10
Maxime Le Merchand – 6/10