As quick-thinking Fulham caught out David Raya to book their place in the Premier League – Brentford boss Thomas Frank said he would ‘never blame’ the former Rovers ‘keeper.

Joe Bryan’s 45-yard free kick caught everyone by surprise, going for goal rather than the cross in to the box that Raya anticipated, before being caught out at his near post. 

It was a moment of magic in a game long devoid of quality, as the side’s needed extra time to be separated, with a second Bryan strike late on sealing the game, with the Bees pulling back a consolation in injury time through Pontus Jansson.

Both Bryan and Fulham boss Scott Parker revealed it was a planned tactic which led to the first goal, but after a season in which he kept 16 clean sheets to win the Championship’s golden glove, Brentford boss Frank backed the Spaniard.

“I will never blame David for anything, he's been a fantastic keeper for us throughout the season,' said Frank, despite his goalkeeper's error,” he said.

“A bit of brilliance from Bryan, and that was the difference between two good teams.”

Brentford could have sealed automatic promotion on the final day, but back-to-back defeats in the regular season, and two in three matches in the play-offs, mean it will be Championship football again for Frank’s men.

“It's tough to take, we've had a top season in many ways,” he added.

“We managed to score the most goals and concede the second least. But in football it's fine margins.'

“We played some of the most attractive football in this division.

“We need to remember what an achievement from Brentford. We all would've loved that fairytale, but the fact is we competed with much bigger clubs on a smaller budget.”

Fulham booked a return to the Premier League at the first attempt, with matchwinner Bryan paying credit to manager Parker for his role in the opening goal.

“Scott Parker said whip it in the near post as the keeper comes ridiculously far off his line,” he said.

And Parker added: “The opening goal was planned, we looked at Raya's positioning from free-kicks.

"He's very aggressive in his starting position.

“I called Joe over before the free-kick to try to make out we were doing some tactical switch.

“But I told him he needs to keep an eye on his positioning, and to commit to the shot.

“And he did that, and it worked.”