THEY call it the most lucrative match in world football, with a place in the promised land of the Premier League at stake.

For Swansea City, today’s Championship play-off final came a decade after they won promotion to the top flight under the Wembley arch.

Opponents Brentford, who had beaten the Swans on the way to losing last season’s final against Fulham, the Premier League was unchartered territory for them.

The form book and the bookmakers were on the side of the Bees, who finished 12 points ahead of Swansea in the Championship table.

When they beat Reading 4-2 in 2011, the Swans had raced into an early lead before being pegged back.

Unfortunately for them, it was Brentford who knocked the stuffing out of Steve Cooper’s men inside the opening 20 minutes.

Swans skipper Matt Grimes, a scorer in the second leg of the semi-final, was already in referee Chris Kavanagh’s notebook when the Londoners went ahead 10 minutes in.

Swansea keeper Freddie Woodman was playing at Wembley nearly a quarter of a century after his dad had helped Northampton Town beat the Welsh club in a play-off final.

Woodman Jnr’s afternoon didn’t begin well, the gloveman bringing down Bryan Mbeumo a fraction of a second after the Bees striker got his toe to the ball in the Swansea box.

Goal machine Ivan Toney two paces before calmly slotting his spot-kick into the corner of the net.

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Some 10 minutes later and the Swansea fans were silenced again.

From Andre Ayew threatening in the Brentford area, a clearance found Mbeumo in a two-on-two alongside team-mate Toney.

The ball eventually found Emiliano Marcondes from Mads Rasmussen’s pull back and he slotted past Woodman.

It could have been game over soon after but Toney’s dipping lob hit the underside of the bar and failed to cross the line.

Swansea were shell-shocked and just didn’t have an answer to what was coming at them.

Not long before the break, a weak Marc Guehi header back to Woodman was seized upon by Mbeumo only for the striker to scuff a great chance to put the match to bed.

Half-time couldn’t come sooner for the Swans.

Play-off finals do have a habit of producing remarkable comebacks, and the Welshmen would need one if they stood any chance of a Premier League return.

They nearly got off to the perfect start in the second half.

Ayew was left scratching his head at how we didn’t direct his header from no more than five yards out beyond David Raya in the Brentford goal.

Their side trailed 2-0 but the Swansea supporters remained in fine voice, singing their hearts out in a bid to inspire a fightback.

Hope of a goal back came and went when Jamal Lowe turned on a sixpence before missing target from close range.

Cooper waited until the hour mark to make changes in personnel, Liam Cullen and Yan Dhanda coming on.

Overcoming a two-goal deficit is tough enough with 11 men on the pitch, with 25 minutes to go Swansea were down to 10.

As Mathias Jensen recovers the ball, Jay Fulton appears to slip and stand on the Brentford player’s foot, remaining in contact and ending up off the ground.

It was worse than it looked, but the referee issued a straight red card, leaving any hope of a Swansea comeback in tatters.

The two ends of Wembley couldn’t have been more of a contrast, the Brentford fans, bathed in sunshine, revelling at the prospect of seeing their side in the top flight for the first time in 74 years.

At the other end, Swansea’s supporters were coming to terms with a summer of rebuilding and another season in the Championship.