Kevin Phillips

Phillips seals Palace promotion

by Stuart Vose

Former Sunderland man is Wembley hero.

Ex-Sunderland star Kevin Phillips was the hero as Crystal Palace secured their place in the Barclays Premier League for 2013-14 yesterday.

Phillips, 39, came off the bench against Watford at Wembley to fire the winning goal in extra time and seal promotion for Ian Holloway’s side.

The striker, who began his career at Watford, netted from the penalty spot, blasting the ball high into the net after Marco Cassetti had brought down Wilfried Zaha.

"It was magnificent to score the winning goal," Phillips told the BBC after the game.

"I have experienced three losses in this game [play-off finals], so it was great to win.”

Phillips had originally announced plans to retire at the end of the 2012-13 season, but manager Holloway has reportedly spoken of his desire to see the play-off hero stay on.

The Eagles finished fifth in the Championship to seal a play-off spot and saw off Brighton in the semi-finals thanks to two Zaha goals in the second leg.

Palace’s win at Wembley means all 20 teams for the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League season are now confirmed.

The Eagles will be joined in the top flight by Cardiff City and Hull City, both of whom won automatic promotion.