LONDON (Reuters) - AFC Bournemouth's fairytale season received its fitting happy ending as they celebrated their ascent to the Premier League for the first time in their 116-year history by winning the Championship title on Saturday.
Watford, also already guaranteed promotion to the top flight, were dramatically deprived of taking the crown in the second tier of the English game when Sheffield Wednesday earned a 1-1 draw at the Hornets' Vicarage Road home in stoppage time.
It enabled Bournemouth, with their dominant 3-0 victory at Charlton Athletic, to leapfrog Watford and snatch the title by one point, 90 points to 89.
Watford's home fans, expecting Matej Vydra's first-half headed goal to be enough to earn them the victory that would seal the crown, were left crestfallen when Wednesday's Austrian striker Atdhe Nuhiu struck in injury time.
It meant further joy for the fans of Bournemouth, with a double from Matt Ritchie and a goal for Harry Arter enabling them to start celebrating anew following the ecstatic scenes which greeted their promotion at their Dean Court home on Monday with the trouncing of Bolton.
The title capped a momentous campaign for a club which had been close to liquidation in 2008 and a game away from going out of the Football League just six years ago but who can look forward to entertaining the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.
Under their inspirational young manager, the 37-year-old Eddie Howe, they have earned three promotions, including two in the past three seasons, and a spot in the top division for the first time in the club's history.
The battle to join Bournemouth and Watford in the Premier League will feature a fascinating battle in the playoff semi-finals between the two great East Anglian rivals, Norwich City and Ipswich Town.
Norwich finished third with their 4-2 defeat of Fulham while Ipswich, despite losing 3-2 at Blackburn Rovers, cashed in on misfiring Derby County's home 3-0 defeat by Reading to capture sixth spot. Derby, who had started the day in the final playoff position, had only needed a draw to secure their place.
The other semi-final will feature fourth-placed Middlesbrough, who drew 0-0 with Brighton and Hove Albion, and Brentford, who stormed from outside the playoff places to finish fifth with their 3-0 defeat of Wigan Athletic.
(Writing by Ian Chadband, editing by Pritha Sarkar)