Fleetwood Town beat Burton Albion 1-0 at Wembley Stadium on Monday in the League Two play-off final to earn promotion for the first time in Club history, as shared by the BBC:
Fleetwood Town win their sixth promotion in nine years and will play in League One next season pic.twitter.com/odsku7JPyw— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 26, 2014
Antoni Sarcevic scored the only goal of the match, a sloppy affair that really caught fire in the final half hour.
Fleetwood dominated early, wit Iain Hume and David Ball getting shots off on the goal of Dena Lyness. Per OptaJoe, their dominance in the shots category wasn't all that surprising:
233 - Fleetwood Town have fired in 233 shots on target in League Two this season (incl play-offs); more than any other side. Battered.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 26, 2014
The Cod Army seemed determined to score early to avoid the Brewers finding a rhythm, but following an unsuccessful opening 20 minutes, the pace of the match completely dropped.
Arseblog's Tim Stillman was stunned at the lack of enthusiasm on the pitch, given promotion was on the line:
Peculiar lack of intensity in the Burton v Fleetwood game. Would never guess there was so much riding on it.— Tim Stillman (@LittleDutchVA) May 26, 2014
Both teams seemed happy to go into half-time tied at 0-0, but it was Albion who came out on fire in the second half, as fans saw a complete mirror image of the first 45 minutes.
The Guardian's Jacob Steinberg liked how Burton started pressing higher and higher up the pitch, as the team went looking for the decisive goal:
Burton are on top now. Pressing higher up the pitch and have turned the game into more of a battle.— Jacob Steinberg (@JacobSteinberg) May 26, 2014
Shane Cansdell-Sherriff had the best chance for the Brewers, but his header from close range just missed the target.
The match seemed destined to be on its way to extra time, but a horrible mistake from Lyness would give Fleetwood the lead with just 15 minutes left on the clock.
Sarcevic whipped in a free-kick to no-man's land, and the Brewers' stopper came off line, missed the ball completely and had to watch horrified as the cross ended up in the back of the net.
Squawka immediately made the comparison to a similar mistake made just a few days ago:
VINE: Dean Lyness doing a 'Casillas'... http://t.co/WWEeKMj2OA— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 26, 2014
Chris Maxwell seemed shaky on the other side of the pitch as well, nearly missing a routine cross before recovering just in time. Burton then started pressing even more, with just 10 minutes left to save promotion to League One.
The Cod Army tried to seek a liberating second goal, but Hume was just caught offside as he looked to make his way on goal unhindered.
Burton now dominated possession, but it didn't lead to any major opportunities within regulation, with four minutes added on. Nathan Pond blocked multiple crosses, capping off a sensational season for the defender, and when the final whistle blew, it was time for Fleetwood to celebrate.
For captain Mark Roberts, it was a moment of personal glory, as he told the BBC's Phil Cartwright how the hard times he suffered through at Northwich motivated him to achieve what his team accomplished on Monday:
It's those moments that drive you on and remind you of the reality of what could be. It's made me who I am as a player and as a person.
Those experiences, however negative they may seem at the time - you might not be getting paid, you're waiting for your wages to pay the mortgage and you're wondering where the next pay cheque is going to come from - they're also the things that drive you.
For Burton, it's the second consecutive season that ends in heartbreak, as the team made the play-offs last year as well, only to lose in the semi-finals. The future is still very bright for the Brewers, however, and they will get the chance to improve on this year's result next season.
Fleetwood Town will play League One football for the first time in club history, and the Cod Army are quickly turning into one of the ultimate Cinderella stories in British football.
Competing with the more experienced and better-funded clubs in League One will be hard for the young team, and they wouldn't be the first to be relegated just one year after winning promotion. But given their track record in recent years, they have every reason to believe they'll be able to survive in League One.