Swansea City will be advancing to Wembley Stadium for a chance to get into the Premier League in the 2011 nPower Championship Playoff Final, but they certainly didn't get there without some degree of luck. After somehow holding Nottingham Forest to a 0-0 draw at the City Ground after going down to ten men in the opening minute, Swansea have defeated Forest 3-1 in controversial and dramatic fashion to knock them out of the playoffs in the semifinals for the second year running.
Though the ending was controversial, Swansea certainly deserved to go ahead in the first place. The opening 25-30 minutes of the game were fairly even, with Swansea perhaps creating the better chances, and Lewis Britton of Swansea was the man who opened the scoring. Cutting in from the right side of the pitch on his left foot, Britton curled a great shot to the far post that Lee Camp had little chance to save.
The Swans would double their lead just four minutes after Britton's goal through Stephen Dobbie, who scored his 10th goal of the season. Forest defended poorly on the goal, allowing Dobbie to cut through them easily before placing a well taken low shot past Camp.
Forest looked like they were dead in the water for a good portion of the match after that, but everything changed when Robert Earnshaw came off the bench in the 78th minute. Just two minutes after entering the game, Earnshaw struck a great shot into the back of the net, assisted by Radoslaw Majewski, to bring Forest back within one goal. From that point to the end of the game, it was all Forest.
On multiple occasions in stoppage time, Forest appeared that they were about to find the equalizer. Sadly, it never came. First, Robert Earnshaw struck the post - one of three shots that hit woodwork for Forest - and then things got controversial. In the second minute of stoppage time, Earnshaw attempted to hit a ball across the box, but Ashley Williams blocked it with his hand. Referee Andre Marriner didn't see it, and for the second time in as many games, Williams got away with an intentional handball in the box.
In a desperation move, on the ensuing corner, Forest goalkeeper Lee Camp came forward. That move would backfire considerably, after the corner kick was cleared out to Swansea substitute Darren Pratley, assisted by an absolute whiff by Lewis McGugan. Pratley surged forward with the ball with Camp out of his goal and hit a stunning shot from at least 60 yards, hitting the back of the unprotected net to put Swansea up 3-1 and into the final at Wembley Stadium.