EFL Championship Playoffs Schedule Results: Huddersfield Town and Nottingham Forest meet in the final

The richest prize in sport is temptingly within reach as two teams remain in the EFL Championship. Either Huddersfield or Nottingham Forest can join Fulham and Bournemouth in next season’s Premier League; The fight for the playoffs is now in full swing. First place in the final was booked with Nottingham Forest, who joined Huddersfield at Wembley on 29 May after a dramatic 3–2 penalty win over the Blades.

Here is the schedule and the latest updates:

Schedule semifinals

(All times US/Eastern)

Friday May 13th
Town of Luton 1, Town of Huddersfield 1

Saturday May 14th
Sheffield United 1, Nottingham Forest 2

Monday May 16th
City of Huddersfield 1, City of Luton 0

Tuesday May 17th
Nottingham Forest 1, Sheffield United 2 (3-2 on penalties)

final

Sunday May 29th
Nottingham Forest vs Huddersfield, TBD on ESPN+

Outstanding samba seals forest finals

Forest booked their place against Huddersfield with a penalty win over the Blades, with Brice Samba the hero despite throwing away a two-goal lead. The visitors started stronger from both, with the keeper springing into action early on to fend off Iliman Ndiaye in the opening battle when the hosts were caught by a motivated away side.

It seemed over after 19 minutes, however, when Johnson put Forest ahead with his 19th goal of the season after being served up by Sam Surridge. The pressure appeared to be coming on manager Paul Heckingbottom on the Blades bench as he interestedly returned the ball to Djed Spence, leading to a scuffle of sorts.

Then the crucial moment came two minutes into the second half. Ndiaye got in behind the Forest rearguard, Sander Berge crossed him and Morgan Gibbs-White was there to turn the ball home. However, the turnaround was complete with 15 minutes to go when Ndiaye was involved again to release George Baldock, with John Fleck equalizing his ball to make it 2-1 from the first leg to confirm extra time.

Wes Foderingham was used twice in overtime to keep the Blades at bay while Samba was alert again to keep Ndiaye out before Joe Lolley’s shot went just wide. Penalties were needed to separate the two teams and Forest kept their nerve that night as Oliver Norwood, Conor Hourihane and Gibbs-White were the fall guys for the Blades against an imposing Samba, but Lolley also failed to convert. Samba stopped three penalties alone to put his team on the brink of a Premier League return. Nottingham have not played in the top flight since 2003/04.

Home advantage brings the terriers further

First place in the final was secured when Jordan Rhodes broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute with a 1-0 win (2-1 on aggregate) over Luton Town. Sorba Thomas provided the assist after it was put into play after 61 minutes. There will be a bit of concern for the final as Danny Ward had to be withdrawn before half-time, but there is plenty of time (almost two weeks until the final) for the terrier’s top scorer to recover.

Things were evened out after the first leg when Sonny Bradley canceled out Daniel Sinani’s early strike before half-time in a tense affair in Bedfordshire. Luton was pursuing a place in the top flight that would have limited eight-year promotion from non-League to Premier League, it was to be expected that Luton would show nerves early. But they were able to fight on both legs with Huddersfield until they ran out of breath late in the second leg.

The Terriers thought they were already in the lead when Tom Lees found the net but his chance was ruled out for a foul. The dominance in the standard game was a sign for the future. Ward was replaced by Jordan Rhodes, who knows a thing or two about scoring in big moments. With Sorba Thomas coming into play, the Terriers were able to create more chances, leading to their eventual winner and a place at Wembley. Tuesday will decide whether Nottingham will join Forest or whether Sheffield United can return from home.

Luton may have dropped out of the playoffs, but hopefully their impressive run will be something they can build on next season. Compared to the high rollers of the championship, spending a meager $1.8 million on their roster deserves a slap on the back from the recruiting team. If Luton can keep improving, they could be right back in the playoffs next season with an improved squad.

For Huddersfield, they hope Ward is fit for the final. If he’s not, Rhodes will be up for the job, and so will her defense. Lee Nicholls made six saves in the second leg and given the strength of the attacks he could face will be back at Wembley.

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