Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of the Championship playoff final meeting between Aston Villa
and Derby County
at Wembley Stadium.
The Villans, who lost in this showpiece fixture against Fulham 12 months ago, won both regular league meetings against today's opponents by a 7-0 aggregate scoreline.
Derby ended the season in better form, though, and they have plenty of momentum on their side after coming through an incredible semi-final against Leeds United 12 days ago.
There is £180m on the line for the winners of today's game. What will give in one of the biggest fixtures in the English footballing calendar? We are about to find out!
ASTON VILLA TEAM NEWS!
STARTING XI: Steer; Elmohamady, Tuanzebe, Mings, Taylor; Hourihane, McGinn; Adomah, Grealish, El Ghazi; Abraham
SUBS: Kalinic, Whelan, Jedinak, Lansbury, Kodjia, Hause, Green
DERBY TEAM NEWS!
STARTING XI: Roos; Bogle, Keogh, Tomori, Cole; Huddlestone, Johnson; Wilson, Mount, Lawrence; Bennett
SUBS: Carson, Waghorn, Jozefzoon, Marriott, Evans, McDonald, Knight
There is one change for Villa as Adomah replaces Green on the right flank - he is one of four starters from last year's playoff final, which ended in defeat for the Villans. As for Derby, the suspended Malone is replaced by Cole and the injured Holmes is replaced by Huddlestone in holding midfield. Grealish gets the game underway!
McGinn tries to carry the ball forward but he meets his match in Cole, who has played at this ground more than 30 times - talk about an experienced option to bring in! There is a wonderful atmosphere being generated inside Wembley, as expected.
Lawrence fouls Mings towards the left-hand side and Hourihane stands over the ball. It is too far out to go for goal so he instead plays it down the line and El Ghazi's cross is deflected behind for the first corner kick of the afternoon.
CHANCE! Grealish's corner is not dealt with by Derby. A couple of players failed to cut out the ball and it fell to Tuanzebe seven yards from goal, but the on-loan defender was the wrong man in the right place as he failed to adjust his feet. The air shot was rather poor!
CHANCE! Two chances in two minutes for Villa as a terrible clearance from Roos is collected by McGinn, who lays it straight into the path of Grealish. The midfielder is under no real pressure when he cuts inside but the shot from 20 yards swerves over the crossbar.
Derby have not really settled so far, but they win themselves a free kick and that gives them a chance to take some of the sting out of the game. Mount sends the ball into the box and Johnson heads it down, only for Tomori to be penalised for a high foot.
El Ghazi switches off and Derby are very nearly in. The ball is aimed towards Johnson but nobody is there to meet the ball when it is flicked towards the edge of the box. County have started to grow into the match over the last few minutes.
Having again been caught out in a defensive sense, El Ghazi shows what he is all about at the other end of the field as he charges into the box. Keogh had one chance to lunge in and get a foot to the ball, and he did exactly that. If the centre-back had got that wrong it would have been a penalty.
Grealish's latest corner into the box once again causes some panic in the Derby box. The ball is allowed to drop before it is eventually cleared. Set pieces appear to be the Villans' best route through on goal today.
SHOT! Another Villa corner, another nearly moment for Smith's men. Hourihane's delivery is cleared as far as McGinn, who hammers the ball wide of the target. Derby then enjoyed a spell on the ball, but Mount's pass over the top for Bennett run through for Steer.
Villa have had the game's only two shots so far, with Grealish and McGinn both off target with their efforts. Smith will be the happier of the two managers with nearly a quarter of the game played, though ultimately it is still all square.
El Ghazi lays the ball off to McGinn right on the edge of the box, and the midfielder tries to catch our Roos with an audacious chip that drifts over the crossbar. Villa are definitely looking the more likely to score the opening goal.
Lawrence decides to have a go from range but, just as he is about to pull the trigger, Hourihane dives in and puts him off. The mishit shot goes behind for a goal kick. Slightly better from the Rams, but a lot more is required from Lampard's men.
Derby are playing far too narrow at the moment, which is playing into Villa's hands. McGinn is sitting in front of the back four and is constantly there to break up play. Neither team has yet to create a clear-cut chance.
YELLOW CARD! Bogle gets past El Ghazi with a nice bit of trickery, only to be pulled back by the Villa winger. That leads to a free kick being awarded in a promising position out on the Derby right and the game's first yellow card being shown to the guilty party.
Derby fail to make the most of the set-piece opportunity, with Wilson overhitting the ball straight out of play.
Derby are definitely grabbing more of a foothold on the match, with the ball spending more time in Villa's half over the last 10 minutes, but the quality has been lacking in the final third at both ends. The two defences are coming out on top so far.
Abraham has yet to have a touch of the ball in the opposition box which is where, of course, he is at his most dangerous. Derby have stifled the Villa striker well, but the Villans have also done well to keep County's creative players quiet.
SHOT! The ball is finally played into Abraham's feet on the edge of the box and he carries it towards goal. The striker opens up his body and, with Keogh right on his case, he curls the ball over the crossbar. That is his first sight of goal and we have played 35 minutes.
El Ghazi is causing plenty of panic in the Derby box. A couple of players stick out a foot and are perhaps fortunate that the winger did not trip over. In the end Keogh manages to halt his run and Derby are able to regroup following a spell of Villa pressure.
SAVE! This is near enough Derby's best moment of the match so far as Mount is able to turn and run towards the box. With space in front of him he opts to have a shot from 25 yards, which is aimed right down Steer's throat. That is the first shot on target today.
CLOSE! This has to go down as a rare chance for Derby. From their first corner of the match, Keogh rises highest in the box and guides Mount's delivery over the crossbar from a good position. Derby are ending the first half on top.
This game is crying out for an injection of tempo. Villa are struggling to get out of second gear at the moment and this latest attack fizzles out before a chance, or indeed a shot, arrives. Half time is now just a couple of minutes away.
GOAL! ASTON VILLA 1-0 DERBY (ANWAR EL GHAZI)
VILLA MAKE THE BREAKTHROUGH!
A moment of quality - at long last! Villa take the lead at Wembley just before half time through El Ghazi's close-range header. The ball was played to Elmohamady down the right and he sent in a near-perfect cross to the edge of the six-yard box, where El Ghazi was waiting to guide it away from Roos.
HALF TIME: ASTON VILLA 1-0 DERBY
Villa take a one-goal lead into half time thanks to El Ghazi's header right at the end of the first half. Chances had been few and far between up until that point but it has been a decent watch at Wembley and we have at least 45 minutes to come.
Villa won both of the regular league fixtures between these sides this season by an aggregate 7-0 scoreline and they settled the quicker here.
A couple of Jack Grealish corners caused some panic in the Derby box, but Axel Tuanzebe could not capitalise as he miscued his shot from seven yards after failing to properly adjust his feet.
Grealish had a good opportunity two minutes later following a poor clearance from Kelle Roos
, but he sent his swerving shot over the crossbar from the edge of the box after cutting inside.
Tammy Abraham turned in the area and curled a shot over and Mason Mount had a tame attempt from 25 yards smothered by Jed Steer as the game became more open.
The breakthrough moment arrived just before half time as Ahmed Elmohamady sent a delightful cross to the edge of the six-yard box and Anwar El Ghazi
got in front of Jayden Bogle to steer his header into the far corner.
There is still a long, long way to go at Wembley, though, and Derby know all about dramatic playoff comebacks. Here is a reminder of both sides' benches...
ASTON VILLA SUBS: Kalinic, Whelan, Jedinak, Lansbury, Kodjia, Hause, Green
DERBY SUBS: Carson, Waghorn, Jozefzoon, Marriott, Evans, McDonald, Knight
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KICKOFF: Derby, trailing to an El Ghazi header 44 minutes in, get us back up and running at Wembley Stadium. Neither manager made a change at the interval so it is as you were for the start of the second half.
YELLOW CARD! Bennett brings down Abraham and is shown a yellow card. Villa are furious because El Ghazi would have been left one-on-one with a Derby defender had the referee allowed play to continue. Hourihane is then cautioned for tripping Wilson.
Huddlestone fouls Grealish and both sets of players come face to face. There has been far more of an edge to the game since the restart and things have already boiled over. Smith and Lampard will be furious if they lose a player to a red card.
YELLOW CARD! Abraham flicks the ball into the path of McGinn, who is caught by Tomori - the third player to be cautioned inside the opening seven minutes of the second half. It goes without saying really that the second period has been very stop-start.
El Ghazi is proving a real problem for Bogle to deal with. The Derby defender clips his opponent to concede yet another free kick. Neither team has been able to get any real momentum to their game since the restart, despite El Ghazi's best efforts.
Roos just about deals with Hourihane's cross into the box. Derby are doing more defending than attacking, which is not ideal for Lampard when his side trail 1-0. The County manager will surely make a change or two in the next 10 minutes.
Abraham breaks clear down the right following a good pass from McGinn. The striker is left alone with Tomori but comes out second best against his Chelsea clubmate. We have played just under an hour at Wembley and Villa, a goal to the good, are looking good value for another.
GOAL! ASTON VILLA 2-0 DERBY (JOHN MCGINN)
BREATHING SPACE FOR VILLA!
This is a disaster for Derby keeper Roos. El Ghazi, the scorer of Villa's opening goal, shoots from range and the ball deflects into the air. Roos seems certain to catch it but he fails to do so and the ball hits the head of McGinn and trickles over the line.
DERBY SUB! Lampard has to be questioned - why didn't he make his changes sooner, with his side very much second best in the opening 15 minutes of the second half. With his side now two goals behind, on comes Marriott for Huddlestone.
Lampard is clearly ready to gamble now, having taken off a holding midfielder for a striker. Derby quite simply need to score the next goal - and they need to score it soon. The Rams are really struggling to do anything when in possession.
SHOT! Villa are in complete control of this Championship playoff final. Grealish carries the ball forward and gets a shot away, but it is just off target. Derby manage to get the ball forward, though, and Bennett's cross deserved more.
Derby have started to offer a little more of an attacking threat, helped by that substitution from Lampard. The Rams know how to find the back of the net and it is not inconceivable that they will score twice in the final 20 minutes. This one is not over yet!
DERBY SUB! Bennett makes way for Waghorn in a change that Lampard was always likely to make. Derby now have a different look to them compared to 10 minutes ago and they need to start building some pressure.
CHANCE! Bogle does the hard work by beat El Ghazi to create room for himself in the box. The angle is against him yet he still opts to go for goal, shooting into the side-netting, despite having Waghorn well positioned alongside him. Talk about being selfish!
SHOT! Lampard's men are definitely looking a lot brighter following their attacking changes. Some good build-up play culminates in room opening up for Mount to shoot, but he drags the ball wide of the target. Lawrence makes way for Jozefzoon and Green is on for Adomah as both teams make changes.
CLOSE! County need to make this spell on top count. They win themselves another corner following a promising move and Marriott sends his half-volley inches wide of the target. That was a brilliant effort from the substitute on the turn - so nearly 2-1!
CHANCE! This playoff final has become incredibly stretched over the last five minutes as both teams go in search of the game's third goal. Grealish squares the ball when he should have been shooting and the opposition clear their lines. Moments later, Wilson shoots into the stands after being put off by Waghorn.
SHOT! Derby win a couple of corners in quick succession. The second of those nearly leads to a goal but the Villans somehow manage to clear their lines. The ball drops to Bogle outside the box but his shot ends wide of the target. This one does not look likely to finish 2-0.
Abraham is caught and he stays down, leading to a 30-second stoppage in play. Villa need to do whatever they can to take the sting out of the match, which has become far too open for Smith's liking. Waghorn is nearly in but Ings produces a fine challenge.
GOAL! ASTON VILLA 2-1 DERBY (JACK MARRIOTT)
LIFELINE FOR DERBY! This goal had been coming! Following a bombardment on the Villa goal, Derby have a route back into the match. Following that sliding challenge from Mings, Jozefzoon lifted the ball into the middle, Marriott controlled it and picked out the bottom corner with a brilliant finish. Game on!
Mings injured himself when tackling Waghorn in the build-up to Marriott's well-taken finish. Play has been paused for the defender to receive some treatment so there is a good 10 minutes still to go at Wembley Stadium. Do not go anywhere!
ASTON VILLA SUB! Villa have brought on Hause for the injured Mings, who almost seemed reluctant to leave the field. Derby need to find some momentum again following the stoppage in play. They have more than enough time to take this match to extra time.
Derby have not been able to get anywhere near the some level of momentum as they had in the lead up to Marriott's goal. Villa have done well to take the sting out of the match, though there could be six minutes or so added on at the end. The Villans have a free kick high up the pitch.
Seven minutes have been added on at Wembley Stadium. The ball is slipped through for Waghorn but he cannot play it across goal. Johnson is then dispossessed on the edge of the box before he can get a shot away. It is incredibly tense here!
YELLOW CARD! Bogle fouls El Ghazi and a frustrated Wilson is shown a yellow card for his complaints. Derby come forward again through Marriott, whose cross towards Waghorn is overhit. County have four more minutes to find a last-gasp leveller.
Taylor turns the ball behind for another Derby corner. Mount needed to get his delivery spot on but Abraham had a simple defensive header inside the six-yard box. The ball comes back into the box but Steer grabs hold of it with both hands.
Derby are done with the intricate football - it is time to launch the ball into the box. Villa are standing their ground and are now within seconds of a Premier League return.
FULL TIME: ASTON VILLA 2-1 DERBY COUNTY
ASTON VILLA ARE PROMOTED TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE!
Aston Villa are heading back to the Premier League after three years away!
Twelve months on from losing to Fulham here, the Villans held off a late Derby County onslaught to get over the line.
Anwar El Ghazi opened the scoring with a diving header just before half time and John McGinn added a second with an hour played. Despite Jack Marriott pulling one back from the bench, Villa held on for a famous victory.
That concludes Sports Mole
's live text coverage of events from Wembley Stadium.
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