Luton Town won promotion to the Premier League for the first time with a penalty shoot-out victory over Coventry City after a 1-1 draw at Wembley.
The Hatters lost captain Tom Lockyer after the Welsh defender collapsed just 10 minutes into the match.
Lockyer, Luton’s player of the year and a goal scorer in the playoff semi-final win over Sunderland, tumbled to the ground with no other player within five yards while back-pedalling in defence.
He tried to push himself up off the ground but immediately slumped back down motionless.
The 28-year-old was given oxygen but was conscious as he was stretchered off the pitch.
Sky Sports’ David Craig gave an immediate report: “Tom Lockyer was taken from pitch by the medical staff both from Wembley and Luton Town, he was conscious when he was passed through the tunnel.
“He’s been taken to the medical room, we’re not yet aware of the nature of his distress, but his parents who are both here today have both come down from the stand and are in there with him. As soon as we have further information we’ll bring it to you.”
Luton confirmed that Lockyer was responsive and talking in the hospital midway through the second period.
It was a worrying moment for all watching and a real blow to Luton but, on the pitch, they spent much of the match defending a lead.
In the 23rd minute, a magnificent run from Elijah Adebayo had much of Wembley on its feet before Jordan Clark wrong-footed a Coventry defender and surged into the box before smashing his shot past Sky Blues keeper Ben Wilson.
Coventry were forced to come on and leave space into which Luton were countering at will.
They managed only one shot in the first half as attack after attack was dashed on the rocks of Luton’s back three.
After half-time, Luton seemed to lose their way somewhat. They continued to counter but lacked the precision that had created 10 shots in the first 45 minutes.
Then, Coventry were suddenly level. In the 66th minute, Viktor Gyokeres blazed down the left wing and pulled a smart pass back across goal for Dutch midfielder Gustavo Hamer to slide his shot into the bottom corner.
Blue smoke from Coventry flares floated across the Wembley pitch as the Singers’ fans began to sing. The match had decidedly swung in favour of the Sky Blues.
Momentum swung again when goal scorer Hamer was forced off after a nasty fall. The Dutchman tried to continue but was replaced by Kasey Palmer with 10 minutes to play.
Eight minutes of stoppage time couldn’t separate the sides and so extra time was required for the first time since Huddersfield’s 2017 win over Reading.
Substitute Joseph Taylor thought he’d won promotion for Luton with a 117th-minute winner, but the goal was ruled out for a handball in the build-up, and it went to the lottery of a shoot-out.
The first 11 penalties were all converted. Then it came to Fankaty Dabo in sudden death, needing to score his spot-kick to keep Coventry alive. He didn’t, instead blazing his attempt way over the bar and into rapturous Luton end.