Exeter face physical test against Northampton
Exeter are set to appear in the play-off final for the third time in four years after beating Colchester. They face a Northampton side buoyant following one of football’s greatest comebacks. How will the final play out? Have a read of our preview here:
Will it be fourth time’s a charm for the Grecians?
The play-offs are often described as bittersweet, but for Exeter City, the postseason lottery has been one of pain, anguish, and regret. In the last three campaigns, they have lost in the final twice. Firstly, to Blackpool in 2017/18 and then to Coventry a year later.
They face Northampton in the 2019/20 showdown which will be played at Wembley Stadium without any fans present.
Exeter, like their opponents on Monday, had to overcome a deficit in their play-off semi-final second leg. After a drab affair in Essex on Thursday, they came flying out of the blocks and put the U’s under immediate pressure.
It didn’t take long for that pressure to tell as Aaron Martin blasted them level, which was nothing short of what their early play had deserved.
Ryan Bowman was holding the ball up in attack while nearly all the play came down the right-hand side as Pierce Sweeney and Randell Williams consistently got behind the Colchester defence, putting in a number of dangerous crosses.
Nicky Law did what he does best, drifting in between the attack and midfield, creating pockets of space for Matt Taylor’s men to exploit.
They were fortunate with their second as a bad goalkeeping error from Dean Gerken allowed Jayden Richardson’s shot to squirm through him. Their opponents forced extra-time thanks to a Courtney Senior strike before Bowman netted a superb winner after a precision through ball from Archie Collins put him clean through.
They will need to be robust and use every ounce of experience to beat a Northampton side who can dominate teams with their physicality but maybe it will be fourth time’s a charm for the Devonshire outfit.
Cobblers riding high after making history
"It is not an easy thing to do, to go away and win by at least two goals. If you believe and you have a plan and you execute that plan then you have a chance.”
Keith Curle’s men certainly didn’t disappoint the fans watching back home. They were superb and now head into Monday’s final full of belief.
They put a lot into the game at Cheltenham but did at least avoid extra-time, unlike their opponents who had to go 120 minutes to see off Colchester.
If Keith Curle can rally the troops in the same way he did for the second leg of their play-off semi-final, then they could cause Exeter a lot of problems.
Scoring three against the meanest defence in the EFL was remarkable and Vadaine Oliver battered the Cheltenham back three all night long. His strike partner Callum Morton caught the eye with two goals and a MOTM performance while captain Charlie Goode was imperious at the back.
They even got to see Alan McCormack put in one of his best performances in a Cobblers shirt, running the midfield from deep positions and playing plenty of passes into the channels for Nicky Adams and Michael Harriman to feed off.
This is certainly going to be an intriguing final and it will be hard to pick a winner so just buckle yourselves in and enjoy some proper Monday night footie.
Exeter v Northampton betting tip
It will be a pretty even game between two sides both capable of mixing it up. Looking for value is tough but we are backing the match to finish with over 1.5 goals at odds of 1.45 with 888sport in this one.