Sky Bet League Two Play-Off Final: Blackpool v Exeter City
Twenty-two goals were scored across the four semi-final matches, so we’re set for a treat at Wembley. Here are some stats and facts ahead of the showdown…
Sky Bet League Two – how they fared
Exeter City were one of the stories of the EFL season when they secured their place in the play-offs, never mind at Wembley.
Paul Tisdale’s side won only five fixtures before November and sat bottom after 17 matches, but they soon found their feet. They put together a 12-match unbeaten streak which included seven straight wins and made their way to a fifth-placed finish.
Blackpool clinched the final League Two Play-Off spot by a point, thanks to victory on the final day. Their stern defence proved a catalyst for success this season, with only two teams conceding fewer goals than their 46 throughout the campaign.
Position: Seventh – 70 points
Goals: Scored 69, conceded 46
Stat: This is Blackpool’s seventh play-off final; more than any other team. No side has won more Play-Off Finals than the Tangerines (four, level with Crystal Palace).
Position: Fifth – 71 points
Goals: Scored 75, conceded 56
Stat: The side finishing fifth has won promotion just four times in the previous 30 seasons of the fourth tier play-offs. (Peterborough United in 2000, Cheltenham Town in 2006, Gillingham in 2009 and Southend United in 2015).
Wembley – how they got there
The Sky Bet League Two Play-Off semi-finals were action-packed and full of goals.
Blackpool met third-placed Luton Town, firstly at Bloomfield Road. The match ended 3-2 to the Tangerines thanks to a Mark Cullen hat-trick.
In the second leg, Gary Bowyer’s side were 3-1 down after an hour, but Armand Gnanduillet brought the tie level with 15 minutes to play, before an injury-time own goal sent the Seasiders to Wembley.
Exeter met Carlisle in their semi-final, and it was a fixture where goals were expected – the Cumbrians had won 3-2 in both regular season meetings.
The tie certainly lived up to the billing. The first leg finished 3-3 at Brunton Park, with Tisdale’s side pegged back after going 3-1 up.
Exeter looked in control after an Ollie Watkins double left them 2-0 up with 10 minutes to play in the second leg. Carlisle scored two late goals to level, but Jack Stacey fired in a 95th-minute winner to ensure his side’s place in the final.
Just the 22 semi-final goals; what will the #PlayOffFinal bring?
— Sky Bet League Two (@SkyBetLeagueTwo) May 19, 2017
Blackpool have won five of their last eight matches against Exeter, alongside a draw and two defeats, all in league competition.
The two sides met on the opening day of the season at Bloomfield Road, with the hosts coming out on top thanks to a Kyle Vassell strike and a Troy Brown own goal.
The return fixture ended in a 2-2 draw. The Grecians fought back from two goals down, with Reuben Reid rescuing a point with a 91st-minute equaliser.
Need to know
Blackpool are visiting Wembley for the ninth time in their history. Since losing on their first two trips in 1948 and 1951, they’ve only lost one of their seven games (W3 D3). However, that defeat was in their last game at Wembley; a 2-1 loss against West Ham in the 2012 Championship Play-Off Final.
Exeter are participating in their first EFL Play-Off Final, becoming the 80th different side to do so since their inception in 1987.