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League Two Playoff Final tie confirmed as two clubs book place at Wembley

This year’s League Two Playoff Final tie has been confirmed as two clubs book their place at Wembley following tonight’s semi-finals.

It was last Thursday that the English Football League returned for the first time since March, when Colchester United hosted Exeter City and Cheltenham Town visited Northampton in the first legs of their play-off semi-final ties.

However it was playoffs with an obvious difference, with supporters unable to fill the stands to cheer their team on to glory.

The coronavirus pandemic also meant players could travel to matches on the day, some already in their kits, teams can make five substitutions for the first time in an EFL game, and there are a multitude of way to control hygiene and sanitisation as well as toned down celebrations and elbow bumps instead of handshakes.

It was the first time Colchester played their playoff match for more than 22 years, and they gave themselves an advantage over Exeter thanks to Cohen Bramall’s 81st minute free-kick.

It was still all to play for in the second leg, and this time, the Grecians, who have already lost two playoff finals in the past three seasons, were the more fired up side.

On the 10th minute, Exeter’s Aaron Martin hit home to level the aggregate scoreline after Colchester failed to clear a free-kick before saving and blocking the hosts’ efforts.

They doubled their lead in the 58th minute, almost straight after Ryan Bowman sent a header against the post, Jayden Richardson hits a shot that squirms under the grasp of Dean Gerkin and into the back of the net.

13 minutes of normal time remaining and Colchester got one back which against levelled the score to 2-2, Cohen Bramall’s cross was unconvincingly palmed clear by Exeter’s Jonny Maxted into the path of sub Courtney Senior, whose first-time low strike from close range goes in.

Extra time it was, and it saw Exeter go back in front on aggregate when Ryan Bowman found the bottom corner.

The result booked them their third League Two playoffs final in the past four seasons and on each occasion they’ve scored three goals in the semi-final second leg. Is it finally their year?

They had to wait to find out who they were to take on at Wembley next Monday.

That would be either Northampton or Cheltenham, though it was the latter team that took the advantage into their second leg tie, after winning the first by two goals to nil at Sixfields.

It was a comfortable performance from the Robins which saw them take control of their first leg following Charlie Raglan’s header and a late strike from Conor Thomas.

The Cobblers knew it would take a strong and much improved performance to keep themselves in with the chance of reaching the final and returning to the League One.

And they did just that as Northampton got themselves one back on aggregate after just 9 minutes when Nicky Adams, who won promotion from this division with Bury last season, put in a pinpoint cross towards Vadaine Oliver who headed into the net with ease.

Keith Curle’s men continued to have the better of the second leg tie and then managed to wipe out Cheltenham’s two-goal lead on the 57th minute.

Adams sent in a corner, which met the head of Charlie Goode, who headed the ball towards goal, only it to deflect of a Cheltenham head who tried to clear it, but instead nodded it right at 20 year old Callum Morton, which hits him in the head and goes in to his surprise.

A corner is swung in and Goode heads it back towards goal. A Cheltenham head then tries to clear it, but nods it right at Morton, and it hits him in the head and goes in!

20 minutes later, the youngster got on the scoresheet yet again, completing Northampton’s comeback from 2-0 down to 3-2 up on aggregate.

After some strong pressing towards the edge of the Cheltenham area, a miss-communication with the host side’s defence saw un-marked Morton fly in to tuck the loose ball into the net.

Fans reacted now that they know the League Two Playoff Final tie is officially confirmed as two clubs book their place at Wembley…

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