Millwall Manager Kenny Jackett hailed captain Paul Robinson after the long-serving central defender had hit the goal that took the Lions up to the Coca-Cola Championship with a narrow but deserved 1-0 Wembley win against Swindon Town in the League 1 Play-Off Final.
Central defender Robinson, 28, started his career as a trainee at the New Den and has played a key role in reviving the club's fortunes following their 2006 relegation. He missed much of last season through injury and was a late substitute when the Lions lost to Scunthorpe in the Play-Off Final, but he has led from the front this term.
Jackett, celebrating Millwall's first Play-Offs success in six attempts, said: "Paul's had a terrific season and he's done really well today, not just with the goal but also with a terrific performance.
"He missed the second half of last season and he was a big loss for us, not just as a player but as a personality and a leader. Home-grown players are gold dust and Paul's been loyal to Millwall - now he can lead us into the Championship."
Robinson's 39th minute close range volley brought him the 19th and most important goal of his 10-year professional career. But he insisted: "For me to score was a bonus - winning the game was the important thing and having come through the club's Academy, it means everything to me."
The player that Robinson was marking, Swindon striker Charlie Austin, has outscored the Millwall skipper's career goals total in just one season after signing from non-league Poole Town last summer.
But with the best chance of the game - ironically after a Robinson error 18 minutes from time - he failed to score what would have been his 21st goal of an otherwise tremendous first campaign as a professional.
Austin struck a 15-yard shot well wide with only goalkeeper David Forde to beat, but Robins boss Danny Wilson criticised the Wembley pitch rather than his young striker. "I'd have bet my house on Charlie scoring," said Wilson, "and he didn't miss - the pitch here is a bone of contention and the ball took a bobble.
"He's inconsolable because he thinks it's all down to him, but he's played a major part in getting us to where we've got to this season. He's done fabulously well."
Wilson was not so complimentary of his team's overall performance on a day where they were unable to find the form that had taken them all the way to the Play-Off Final. "The first 45 minutes was possibly our worst display of the season," he said.
"We were better in the second half, but credit to Millwall - I can remember vividly watching last year's Final which they lost, but they've bounced back brilliantly and that's what we have to take something from."
Jackett can also vividly remember losing 12 months ago, the second time he had suffered defeat as a Manager in a Play-Off Final. "After last year's Final," he said, there was disappointment and anger that we'd got so far and then not gone through.
"I said to the players that we had to make sure that all the hard work we'd put in wasn't thrown away and I'm pleased to say the boys have seen it through this year.
"We've had a good couple of seasons and it's great to have finished it off. Now I can't wait to lead these boys out in the Championship - they totally deserve it."
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