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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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29 May 2023 Venue Wembley Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Reports

Wednesday triumph at Wembley!

29 May 2023

A dramatic Josh Windass header in the final minute of extra time sealed Wednesday’s return to the Championship on a dramatic afternoon at Wembley.

Windass followed in the footsteps of his father Dean in deciding a play-off final as the Owls soared back to the second tier in incredible style.

Opponents Barnsley were reduced to 10 men when Adam Phillips saw red early in the second half and Will Vaulks thought he had won the tie only to see a superb strike ruled out by an offside flag.

But Wednesday persevered and were rewarded right at the last to seal promotion.

All the action was after a relatively incident-free opening period. Barry Bannan and Dominic Iorfa had half-chances, the latter of which was saved at point blank range by Harry Isted.

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Barnsley were limited to pot shots from range and the occasional set piece as both sides essentially cancelled each other out before the break.

But the cagey nature of the first half gave way to an explosive start to the second.

Barnsley came out of the traps apace but were promptly halted in their tracks when Phillips was dismissed four minutes in.

The midfielder launched into a tackle with Lee Gregory that was deemed dangerous and the referee reached to his pocket.

The Reds were undaunted and pushed forward, almost taking the lead from their next attack.

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Nicky Cadden’s hit from the edge of the area was going wide but Liam Kitching directed a clever header that smashed against the crossbar.

Cameron Dawson kept out Cadden at his near post moments later before Bannan curled wide as Wednesday countered.

Then the Owls went closer still – Marvin Johnson delivered a teasing low delivery that Jordan Williams deflected goalwards but Isted was alive to the situation and sprung across his line to palm clear.

It was Dawson’s turn to excel in the closing stages with a stunning stop to deny James Norwood, whose angled drive had real venom.

That was the final action of the regular 90 and to extra time the final went.

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Wednesday sought to make the numerical advantage count, forcing Barnsley deep into their own half.

Michael Ihiekwe’s header was hoofed off the line by Mads Andersen and Bannan brushed the top of the net with a half volley from distance.

Isted denied Michael Smith at close quarters with a flying save, then Bannan from right on the edge of the box.

Suddenly from nowhere Barnsley broke and spurned a golden opportunity to break the deadlock.

A swift four-man move saw the ball land at the feet of Luca Connell in oceans of space in the box but the Irishman sliced wide.

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Wembley heard a raucous Wednesday roar in the second half of extra time when Vaulks rippled the back of the net with a rasping shot that gave Isted no chance – but a raised flag cut short the wild celebrations.

Lee Gregory was thwarted by a last-ditch Andersen tackle as the Owls pressed forward in the dying embers and the contest seemed destined for penalties.

But then came the ultimate drama. Gregory cut back high for Windass, who stooped to aim a firm header past Isted and send 44,000 Owls into delirium.

There was barely time for the restart, Barnsley did the honours without further time for a move forward, before the curtain came down on an match and season to remember.

Wednesday: Dawson, Paterson (Vaulks 78), Iorfa, Ihiekwe, James (Hunt 113), Palmer, Johnson, Bannan (Dele-Bashiru 125), Windass, Gregory, Smith

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