Grayson 'could not watch' penalties

Daily Echo: Simon Grayson (left) and Peter Clarke Simon Grayson (left) and Peter Clarke

Huddersfield manager Simon Grayson did not watch any of the 22 nerve-shredding penalties which eventually saw his side secure promotion back to the npower Championship.

Town missed their first three spot-kicks but still won a dramatic shoot-out 8-7 against Sheffield United after a goalless 120 minutes at Wembley.

Grayson said: "I couldn't affect anything so I just sat down on the bench next to my chairman, I didn't watch any of them. I could tell by the crowd what was happening, basically we just had a laugh and a joke about what was going to happen. It's down to the players. Sometimes it's written in the stars, you get your bit of luck and we managed to do that."

Blades goalkeeper Steve Simonsen, the last player left on the pitch to try his luck, fired over the crossbar moments after opposite number Alex Smithies had scored his side's 11th kick.

Grayson only took over in February, replacing Lee Clark just 20 days after being sacked himself by Leeds. But he will now get the chance to return to Elland Road with Huddersfield next season after securing his third promotion from League One as a manager.

"When we put together the first five penalty takers we didn't expect it to go down to the goalkeepers to take them," said Grayson. "I expected them to save a couple but not to take the decisive ones. We missed the first three, so how we recovered from that I'll never know."

Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson found it hard to console his players. United have now lost all four of the play-off finals they have contested - and still not managed to find the net in any of them.

With three games to go this season they were second but, having lost top scorer Ched Evans to a jail term for rape, they were pipped to automatic promotion by rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

This outcome was particularly cruel on Simonsen, who had kept the Blades in the final with some fine stops as Huddersfield created the best of the game's few chances and then saved two of their first three spot-kicks.

Wilson said: "I can't think of a worse way to lose. Steve had a terrific game. Who would have thought it would come down to the two keepers? He feels doubly disappointed because of his performance. These boys are devastated, all their hard work has been taken away, it's very difficult to console them."

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