EFL Reporter @simgholam
Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn score either side of half-time as Aston Villa win Sky Bet Championship final play-off
Last Updated: 05/27/19 10:00 pm
Aston Villa are back in the Premier League after beating Derby 2-1 in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final at Wembley.
A year after losing in last season's final play-off, Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn – who capitalized on a blunder from Derby goalkeeper Kelle Roos – scored either side of the break to steer Villa into the top flight after three years away.
Dean Smith made just one change to his Aston Villa side as Albert Adomah came in to replace Andre Green outwide.
Frank Lampard, meanwhile, made two enforced changes for Derby. Scott Malone was suspended so Ashley Cole came in to left-back, and Duane Holmes' injury meant Tom Huddlestone started in midfield.
For Derby, who made things nervy for Villa with a late Martyn Waghorn goal, it was another heartbreaking trip to the play-offs. Their wait for top-flight football now stretches to 11 years, and they will play in the championship again next season.
Dean Smith, meanwhile, who started the season in Brentford, could celebrate the glory of his club to where many feel they belong.
The breakthrough came shortly before half-time. Elmohamady brilliant cross on 44 minutes was turned into by El Ghazi in the six-yard box, even though it appeared to be more than his shoulder than his head.
Aston Villa: Steer (8), Taylor (7), Tuanzebe (7), Elmohamady (8), Mings (8), McGinn (8), Grealish (6), Hourihane (6), Adomah (6), El Ghazi (7) , Abraham (6)
Subs: Green (n / a), Hause (n / a)
Derby: Roos (3), Bogle (7), Keogh (7), Tomori (7), Cole (6), Johnson (6), Huddlestone (4), Mount (7), Wilson (6), Lawrence (5), Bennett (5)
Subs: Marriot (7), Waghorn (6), Jozefoon (n / a)
Man of the match: John McGinn
El Ghazi then played a key role in Villa's second after 59 minutes, and it was a moment Derby goalkeeper Roos will be keen to forget. El Ghazi's shot was deflected high into the air, and Roos rushed to claim it, but could only spill onto the head of McGinn, who gratefully – even if he wasn't completely aware of it – nodded into an empty net.
Derby boss Frank Lampard quickly responded by throwing on strikers Jack Marriott and Waghorn and Derby did improve. Twice they had decent opportunities shortly after the 70-minute mark, but Jayden Bogle could only find the side from a narrow angle before Mason was fired wide from the edge of the box.
Marriott, who surprisingly didn't start after his heroics against Leeds in the semi-finals, then nearly triggered a comeback as his smart touch and shot by his substitute Waghorn and into the bottom corner.
Pushed and pushed for equalizer, but Villa saw the game through to send the fans to Claret and Blue wild.
Man of the match – John McGinn
Or 'Super John McGinn', to give him his full name. The midfielder has been to revelation for Aston Villa this season, buzzing around the park with purpose and intensity throughout, causing a constant nuisance for Derby. His goal, however much he actually knew about it, proved crucial in the end.
Dean Smith: "They're a terrific bunch of lads. From the day they were working with them. They are different ideas, they are sponges, they work hard and those last 15 minutes."
"We were playing Stoke away, John McGinn was suspended and Jack Grealish was out. Too many hands went up and I gave them roasting. From that moment they were brilliant. But I wouldn't just put it down to that "We've got Jack back since then, Axel Tuanzebe came back. We had some great players who missed big chunks of the season."
"I had said 'you're crackers'. But we made history by winning ten games on the spin."
Frank Lampard: "Once we started to get the ball and play the way we wanted to play. We were pushing. Huge disappointment, but at the same time, overriding feeling is pride for the lads in there."
"They're gutted because they wanted it so much, but you should. But when they get their share of them through their youth and the players in the last year of their contracts you've got a real mixture.
"I am interested in the speculation. I am going to talk about it. Morris the owner in the next few days and we will see how it goes. I've got a two year contract and I love working at this place. The fans giving the players an ovation … so we'll see. "
Aston Villa will play in the Premier League next season while Derby will remain in the Sky Bet Championship for the 2019/20 season, which gets underway over the weekend of 2-4 August.