SAINTS secured promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking with a 1-0 win over Leeds United at Wembley Stadium.

Adam Armstrong netted the only goal of this season's Championship play-off final to make it three games in succession he had hit the Whites. 

Substitute Dan James thumped one off the crossbar in the closing minutes but Leeds would go no closer than that.

Saints manager Russell Martin sprinted onto the pitch to celebrate another win over his former Norwich City boss, Daniel Farke.

Saints sold 36,900 tickets to their first Wembley final since 2017, with a sea of red and white on the west side of the stadium.

There was limited experience of such an occasion in both squads - Kyle Walker-Peters and Ross Stewart were the only two to have scored here previously.

Managers Russell Martin and Daniel Farke both named unchanged starting XIs from their 3-1 and 4-0 semi-final wins respectively. 

Scotland international Che Adams was fit to make the bench for Saints after missing both legs following an injury at Elland Road.

The atmosphere promised an occasion befitting of the most valuable game in English football with both ends packed to the rafters.

It was the white side most confident in the early exchanges, as Leeds had the better and saw 17 year old Archie Gray fire just wide of Alex McCarthy's post.

Saints then began to assert themselves on the tie, with an Armstrong square cut out at the last before Joe Aribo won a dangerous free-kick.

Will Smallbone tested Ilan Meslier from the left of the goal with it but the Frenchman dived well and pushed the gold trim ball to safety. 

However, he could do nothing to prevent Armstrong's 24th goal of the season on the 24th minute after he was slipped through narrowly onside by Smallbone.

Flynn Downes had fed the academy graduate with just one touch, giving Armstrong the impetus to take advantage of a poorly organised Leeds line.

Saints were forced into an early change with just 10 minutes left of the first half as David Brooks sustained a shoulder injury and was replaced by Sam Edozie. 

Meslier made another good save, low to his right, as Armstrong hunted for the second in five added minutes of the first half. 

Taylor Harwood-Bellis was at the centre of all early exchanges after the break, making a huge tackle to stop Joe Rodon, who had skilled two of his teammates into the box.

The Man City youngster was then booked for a foul on Georginio Rutter right on the edge of the Saints area but it was fortunately only a free-kick. 

Substitute Edozie had a chance to give his side breathing space but he curled wide and over the far post when he was set on goal on his right foot.

The replacement winger for Leeds, James, thought he had equalised in the 85th minute when he struck a looping shot off a one-two - but the ball crashed off the crossbar to safety.

There was another scare for Saints as they entered nine minutes of added time with Kyle Walker-Peters receiving lengthy treatment on the pitch. 

McCarthy then produced a top diving save to his left to deny James, striking again with vigour from the edge of the area.

Leeds United: Meslier; Gray, Ampadu, Rodon, Firpo (Joseph, 83); Gruev, Kamara (Roberts, 73), Rutter; Gnonto (James, 65), Summerville (Anthony, 73), Piroe.

Unused subs: Darlow, Cooper, Shackleton, Byram, Gelhardt.

Booked: Summerville.

Saints: McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Harwood-Bellis, Bednarek, Stephens; Downes, Smallbone, Aribo; Brooks (Edozie, 34 (Manning, 83), Fraser (Adams, 70), Armstrong.

Unused subs: Lumley, Bree, Charles, Rothwell, Kamaldeen, Stewart.

Booked: Bednarek, Harwood-Bellis, Adams, Downes.

Referee: John Brooks.

VAR: Jarred Gillet.

Attendance: 85,862.