Stand-in striker Aaron Wilbraham paid tribute to injured team-mate Glenn Murray after Crystal Palace's Wembley triumph.
Substitute Kevin Phillips scored the extra-time penalty that fired Palace to the Premier League at Watford's expense but Wilbraham toiled tirelessly up front - only denied a breakthrough of his own by Manuel Almunia's heroics in goal.
Wilbraham had been limited to just a handful of league starts for Palace as Murray pillaged 31 goals this season but the understudy was thrust into action when the Championship's top scorer suffered knee ligament damage in the semi-final first leg against Brighton.
"I've had to sit patiently for most of the season but what a season Glenn's had - he's got us here and he's definitely going to party tonight with us on his crutches," Wilbraham told Sky Sports.
"It's a daunting task coming in for Glenn because he's scored so many goals but I feel since the play-offs started I've done a great job for the team and we've stuck together really well.
"When I missed a couple of chances, I started thinking the worst but you've got to keep going. I was trying to hold the ball up for the team; for most of the time I was up there on my own.
"The togetherness we showed on the pitch today, and since the play-offs started, has been unbelievable. The gaffer's tactics have been unbelievable. We're all buzzing. We deserve it. It's a great feeling."
Murray had watched from the stands as Phillips settled football's richest game with a 115th-minute spot-kick after Marco Cassetti felled Wilfried Zaha, but shared his team-mates' delight at the final whistle.
"It's absolutely amazing," Murray said. "It's what you play all those years for as a child, trying to become a professional and then these are the rewards.
"It was frustrating (watching from the sidelines) but the boys got us where we needed to be and I thought we were the best team.
"I'm so proud to be among the group. We've come from the bottom, lost our manager and still got here today.
"Doing my rehab programme and looking at a Premier League fixture list rather than a Championship one will spur me on so much. It's a great day for the club."
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