Heartbreak for Jedinak as Fulham seal stunning $282m PL return
SOCCEROOS captain Mile Jedinak won't be joining Australia teammates Mat Ryan and Aaron Mooy in the Premier League next season after Aston Villa's heartbreaking 1-0 Championship play-off loss to Fulham.
Jedinak, who skippered Crystal Palace through the Wembley play-off five years ago, was pushing to return to England's top flight two years after heading north to Birmingham and was substituted late in the second half soon after picking up a yellow card.
A raucous crowd of 85,243 were on hand for the match known as the richest in world sport, with victory worth at least STG160 million ($A280 million) through television payments and other benefits.
It wasn't to be for Villa, who had an extra man for the final 20 minutes after Denis Odoi was sent off for a brutal challenge on Tom Grealish, who had come in for plenty of attention throughout the afternoon.
The Villains had their first opportunity after 14 minutes when Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli fluffed his lines and delivered a clearance straight to Ryan Snodgrass.
The Scotsman's through-ball failed to connect, however, and from then Fulham, with their white wall of fans behind them, began to dictate terms.
The Cottagers had asked questions of Villa's dogged defence during the opening stages but scored with their first genuine chance after 22 minutes.
Ryan Sessegnon found himself in space just outside the box before threading a perfect ball through to Tom Cairney who made no mistake with the finish.
Fulham had only lost one game this season having opened the scoring and despite a second-half fightback from Villa, that total remained intact. Cairney got the better of Jedinak as halftime approached, leading to the first corner of the match but Sessegnon's effort won't be making Fulham's highlight reel.
Grealish was unlucky not to level proceedings early in the second half when he got his head to an absolute bullet from German winger Albert Adomah, which left manager Steve Bruce in disbelief on the sidelines.
Another chance drifted wide seconds later as the already-raucous Villa end found their voice anew. Grealish then scythed his way through the Fulham defence but was unable to register any power behind his shot.
The England under-21 was again in the thick of things soon after when a sliding challenge on Cairney earned him a yellow card and saw tempers threaten to boil over.
Johansen then had the chance to double the Londoners' advantage against the run of play but sent his shot deep into the Fulham fans.
Grealish was again at the centre of controversy when he had a late penalty shot waved away as Fulham ensured their first visit to Wembley since 1975 would end happily.