Battling Burnley put the Blades to the sword

Wade Elliott fires Burnley in to the Premier League

Wade Elliott fires Burnley in to the Premier League

BURNLEY entered Premier League dreamland as a stunning Wade Elliot strike beat Sheffield United in the Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley to secure a return to the top flight after 33 years.

Elliot charged with the ball from inside his own half and curled home from 30 yards after a break down in play to give his side the lead after thirteen minutes. And the Clarets could have been home and dry as Joey Gudjohnsson, Robbie Blake and Martin Paterson went close in the second half.

Owen Coyle’s men survived late pressure from United, who had two penalty appeals turned down before Jamie Ward was sent off after a deliberate handball, but nothing could stop Burnley from taking a deserved 1-0 win.

In their sixtieth game of the season, Burnley, who have fewer resources than most in the Championship, defied the odds to overturn the in-form Blades, who made a late charge for automatic promotion before narrowly falling short.

Burnley were the livelier for much of the Wembley Final, and held off any late pressure with a heroic performance from centre-back pairing Clarke Carlisle and captain Steven Caldwell.

Coyle has only used 23 players all season, the fewest out of any Championship team, and reached the Carling Cup semi-final in a remarkable campaign for the Lancashire Club, who defeated a quarter of the Premier League elite this term.

Fulham, Chelsea and Arsenal were all defeated by the Clarets, who were within touching distance of the Carling Cup Final as they cancelled out a three goal deficit against Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor to force extra time.

Two late knockout blows from Roman Pavlychenko and Jermaine Defoe ensured they wouldn’t make another Wembley appearance.

But despite the fixture congestion Burnley finished fifth in the league and, through two spectacular efforts from Paterson and Steven Thompson, sealed a 2-0 second leg win and a 3-0 aggregate Play-Off semi-final victory over Reading.

Their exploits in the cup competitions gave the team the confidence and belief that they could do it again on the big stage, and they duly completed their biggest triumph of an eventful season this afternoon.

Even with the third lowest average attendance in the Championship minimal resources, Coyle has made astute signings and masterminded a campaign that few Burnley fans would have dreamed of.

Coyle will, of course, need to strengthen the squad and his managerial qualities will be tested to the full as the club will be favourites for a quick return to the second tier of English Football.

But Turf Moor is sure to be packed week in, week out, as the Lancashire minnows will entertain the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea as they fulfill their dreams of playing in the big time.


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