Championship
MiddlesbroughMiddlesbrough0NorwichNorwich City2

Middlesbrough 0-2 Norwich City

By Phil ShepkaBBC Sport at Wembley
Norwich City lift trophy
Norwich City captain Russell Martin lifts the Championship play-off final trophy

Norwich City secured an instant return to the Premier League with victory over Middlesbrough in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

In a match worth a potential £120m to the victors, Cameron Jerome took advantage of a Daniel Ayala error to put the Canaries ahead.

It was 2-0 after 15 minutes when Nathan Redmond arrowed a shot into the corner.

Jelle Vossen came closest for Boro when he struck the bar, but their six-year absence from the top flight continues.

Victory for the Canaries in front of more than 85,000 fans is the culmination of a remarkable run of results under manager Alex Neil.

The 33-year-old was unheralded in England, but presided over Hamilton's promotion to the Scottish Premiership last season. That was enough for him to be given the chance to replace Neil Adams at Carrow Road in January, with the club seventh in the table and three points off the play-offs.

Neil oversaw victory in his maiden game in charge against eventual league champions Bournemouth, the first of 17 wins in 25 games during his tenure, and will now become the youngest manager in England's top flight, beating Swansea's 36-year-old boss Garry Monk.

Wembley pain for Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough have failed to win on each of their five visits to Wembley

For his opposite number Aitor Karanka and Boro, though, it ends a season that had promised so much, built on the meanest defence in the league, conceding 37 goals in 46 games.

Karanka, the former assistant manager to Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, has also seen a great deal of improvement during his 18 months in charge after taking over from Tony Mowbray in November 2013 with the side 16th in the table.

But, in a game referred to as the 'richest in football', his side fell short thanks to three first-half minutes when Norwich scored twice.

Given the weight of pressure, it was an understandably nervy opening but the game sprang into life when both sides hit the crossbar within 30 seconds of each other.

First, Norwich midfielder Bradley Johnson powered a left-foot volley against the bar, only for Boro to go straight down the other end and rattle the woodwork themselves with Vossen's delightful long-range effort.

Nathan Redmond and Cameron Jerome
Ex-Birmingham City duo Nathan Redmond and Cameron Jerome put Norwich 2-0 up inside 15 minutes

Boro had arrived at Wembley late after being stuck in traffic, and their lack of preparation time may well have had a hand in gifting Norwich the opening goal.

Ex-Canaries defender Ayala dithered on the ball down their right, allowing Norwich top scorer Jerome to nick it off him, run into the area and calmly slot past Dimi Konstantopoulos at his near post for his 21st of the season.

And only three minutes later, Norwich, unbeaten on the road under Neil, were 2-0 up against a side who had kept 22 clean sheets this campaign.

Steven Whittaker played a great ball into the channel for Redmond and the England Under-21 winger struck home a low effort past a despairing Konstantopoulos to send one end of Wembley into an unexpectedly early ecstasy.

Boro struggled to get any sort of foothold in the game, so at half-time Karanka brought off right-back Dean Whitehead for forward Emilio Nsue.

Norwich had kept Championship player of the year Patrick Bamford quiet for the first hour, but his turn and shot was the first real test for keeper John Ruddy.

Boro's main threat came from Albert Adomah down the right, but Norwich's central defensive partnership of Sebastien Bassong and captain Russell Martin dealt with every ball into the middle.

It was in fact Norwich who went closest to getting a third when Redmond fired just wide from a free-kick on the edge of the box.

Bamford then had the chance to pull the ball back to Kike but Scotland international Martin cleared his centre, and Norwich held on to return to the top flight.

Cameron Jerome scores for Norwich
Jerome stroked Norwich ahead in the 12th minute after robbing Daniel Ayala
Nathan Redmond doubled the Canaries' lead with a low right-foot drive
Nathan Redmond doubled the Canaries' lead with a low right-foot drive
Nathan Redmond celebrates
Redmond's strike was only his sixth of the season but third in his last four games
Cameron Jerome, Nathan Redmond and Martin Olsson
Norwich are back in the Premier League after only one season away

Line-ups

Middlesbrough

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 13Konstantopoulos
  • 18WhiteheadSubstituted forNsueat 45'minutes
  • 4Ayala
  • 6Gibson
  • 3Friend
  • 8Clayton
  • 7Leadbitter
  • 27Adomah
  • 21VossenBooked at 56minsSubstituted forKikeat 68'minutes
  • 10Tomlin
  • 23Bamford

Substitutes

  • 9Kike
  • 12Ripley
  • 20Reach
  • 24Nsue
  • 29Amorebieta
  • 34Forshaw
  • 39Woodgate

Norwich

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Ruddy
  • 2Whittaker
  • 5Martin
  • 30Bassong
  • 23Olsson
  • 22RedmondSubstituted forO'Neilat 87'minutes
  • 8HowsonBooked at 62mins
  • 27Tettey
  • 4Johnson
  • 14HoolahanSubstituted forDorransat 75'minutes
  • 10JeromeSubstituted forGrabbanat 74'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Grabban
  • 11Hooper
  • 17Bennett
  • 24Bennett
  • 26Rudd
  • 28O'Neil
  • 41Dorrans
Referee:
Mike Dean
Attendance:
85,656

Match Stats

Home TeamMiddlesbroughAway TeamNorwich
Possession
Home57%
Away43%
Shots
Home8
Away7
Shots on Target
Home1
Away4
Corners
Home6
Away2
Fouls
Home8
Away5

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Middlesbrough 0, Norwich City 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 0, Norwich City 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Gary O'Neil (Norwich City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  4. Post update

    Offside, Middlesbrough. Kike tries a through ball, but Patrick Bamford is caught offside.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Gary O'Neil replaces Nathan Redmond.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough).

  7. Post update

    Sebastien Bassong (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter with a cross.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Sebastien Bassong.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Nathan Redmond (Norwich City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner from a direct free kick.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough).

  12. Post update

    Graham Dorrans (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Graham Dorrans replaces Wes Hoolahan.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Norwich City. Lewis Grabban replaces Cameron Jerome.

  15. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Kike (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Emilio Nsue Lopez.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Russell Martin (Norwich City) header from very close range is too high. Assisted by Nathan Redmond with a cross following a corner.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Middlesbrough. Kike replaces Jelle Vossen.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Ben Gibson.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Jelle Vossen (Middlesbrough).

  20. Post update

    Martin Olsson (Norwich City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bournemouth462612898455390
2Watford462781191504189
3Norwich4625111088484086
4Middlesbrough4625101168373185
5Brentford462391478591978
6Ipswich4622121272541878
7Wolves4622121270561478
8Derby4621141185562977
9Blackburn461716136659767
10Birmingham461615155464-1063
11Cardiff461614165761-462
12Charlton461418145460-660
13Sheff Wed461418144349-660
14Nottm Forest461514177169259
15Leeds461511205061-1156
16Huddersfield461316175875-1755
17Fulham461410226283-2152
18Bolton461312215467-1351
19Reading461311224869-2150
20Brighton461017194454-1047
21Rotherham461116194667-2146
22Millwall46914234276-3441
23Wigan46912253964-2539
24Blackpool46414283691-5526
View full Championship table

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