Blackpool 2-1 Exeter City: League Two play-off final – as it happened

28 May 2017 16:08
The tireless Brad Potts and the classy Mark Cullen each made one and scored one to earn promotion for Blackpool in an excellent final 5.06pm BST The Blackpool captain Tom Aldred, who went off injured, is being interviewed on Sky“I’ve been through every emotion possible. I knew early in the match that I wasn’t gonna be able to finish it. This man here [Neil Danns] took the armband off and done fockin brilliant, sorry about my language.” 5.03pm BST Congratulations to Blackpool and their enormously impressive manager Gary Bowyer. They have overcome Luton, Exeter and their own civil war to achieve promotion. It’s sad for Exeter, an extremely likeable team who were superior in the first half. Blackpool were terrific after the break, however, and ultimately deserved to win an excellent game. Brad Potts, who abused his lungs all day with some storming old-fashioned runs from midfield, and the classy Mark Cullen made one and scored one each. It’s a qualified triumph, because of everything that is going on off the field, but the players deserve oodles of credit. They were 15th at the start of March, and now they are in League One. 5.00pm BST Blackpool are promoted to League One! 4.58pm BST 90+4 min Wheeler wins another header and loops into the area for Watkins, who can’t control a diving header from eight yards that flies over the bar. It was a bit of a chance but the pressure of two Blackpool defenders meant he had no room to get round the ball and direct it at goal. 4.57pm BST 90+3 min Flores is booked for pulling back Stacey. 4.56pm BST 90+2 min After a nervous few minutes, Blackpool look comfortable defensively. Exeter are running out of hope. 4.54pm BST 90 min Blackpool almost clinch it on the break. Vassell lashes a stinging low shot that is excellently saved by Pym, plunging to his right. 4.53pm BST 90 min There will be five added minutes. 4.53pm BST 89 min The impressive Oseyi-Samiel twists Stacey’s blood before driving a low left-footed shot that swerves well wide of the far post. 4.53pm BST 88 min This is much better from Exeter, who are moving the ball around better than at any stage in the second half. Both these teams know about the potential for late drama. 4.51pm BST 87 min Holmes mistakes himself for Rivelino, shooting wildly over the bar from 25 yards. 4.50pm BST 86 min This is a good little spell of pressure from Exeter, who win another corner. Holmes’ inswinger flashes across the box, and when it’s lobbed back in Slocombe claims confidently. 4.49pm BST 84 min “Not goalless at Hamilton any more,” says Simon McMahon. “Bollocks.” 4.48pm BST 83 min Aimson stretches to divert Watkins’ cross behind for an Exeter corner. It’s headed away superbly by Mellor, who is fouled by Moore-Taylor in the process. 4.47pm BST 82 min Guardian MBMers are a bunch of lazy sods. This is not a groundbreaking observation, I realise. We hate it when games go to extra-time, because it means we have to do more work. But I really hope this does go to extra-time, as it’s been infectiously entertaining throughout. I don’t think it will, mind you; Exeter look lost and weary. 4.45pm BST 80 min Oseyi-Samuel beats Stacey with ease only to splash hit shot high and wide from the edge of the box. He looks an extremely exciting talent. 4.43pm BST 78 min Hodges launches another big diagonal that is won in the air emphatically by Wheeler. He heads it down to Reid, who flips the ball up on the edge of the box and drags a bobbling shot just wide of the far post. 4.39pm BST 75 min Blackpool make their final change: Mark Cullen is replaced by Jordan Flores. Cullen was excellent, making one and scoring one. 4.38pm BST 74 min Exeter can’t get their passing going at all, and Blackpool look a much greater threat on the counter-attack. Potts leads one such break, running 60 yards before overhitting his pass to Vassell. He has cramp as a result. 4.37pm BST 72 min Osayi-Samuel beats Taylor for speed and strength down the left. He slips the ball back to the edge of the area for Danns, who cuts across a well-struck shot that flies a few yards over the bar. 4.35pm BST 71 min Exeter make their final change, with Lee Holmes replacing Craig Woodman. 4.33pm BST 67 min Exeter responded admirably to going behind in the first half. Now they have to do it again. They’ve been a bit sluggish since half-time, for reasons that are not remotely clear. 4.31pm BST 66 min That was another tremendous, old-fashioned charge into the box from Potts. I’m not sure whether he was going for goal or trying to find Cullen, but the carpe diem surge was just brilliant. 4.31pm BST Cullen made the first goal for Potts, and now the favour has been returned. Potts surged into the area on the right, onto Vassell’s clever header, and tried to slide the ball across goal. Pym’s right foot diverted it to Cullen, who stretched out his left foot and got just enough on the ball for it to dribble inside the far post. 4.28pm BST Blackpool are back in front! 4.28pm BST 63 min Potts crosses low from the right to Vassell, who flicks it behind his standing leg towards goal. It hits the defender Sweeney and deflects kindly into the hands of Pym. I don’t think Vassell’s original effort was on target. 4.26pm BST 62 min Another change for Blackpool, with Ian Black replacing Jack Payne. That must be the injury he suffered in the first half, because he has played superbly. Payne’s face confirms as much. 4.24pm BST 61 min Mellor’s swashbuckling run brings another corner for Blackpool, who continue to dominate the second half. Mellor gets to the corner himself but can only head it gently into the hands of Pym. 4.23pm BST 60 min “Still goalless at Hamilton, Rob,” says Simon McMahon of the Scottish play-off. “You can cut the tension in my house with a tennis ball.” 4.22pm BST 59 min Cullen is booked for something or other, a foul on Wheeler I think. 4.22pm BST 58 min Troy Brown limps off, to be replaced by Pierce Sweeney. 4.22pm BST 57 min That was Joel Grant’s last touch, with Reuben Reid replacing him. Exeter may have to make another change in a second, because Brown injured himself making that block from Osayi-Samuel. 4.20pm BST 56 min Stacey angles a long pass to Grant, who flicks it first time back infield to Watkins. He is about to surge through on goal when Robertson makes a vital sliding challenge. This is a cracking match, both in terms of standard and entertainment. 4.19pm BST 54 min Osayi-Samuel dummies to shoot on the edge of the area and instead veers to the left of the defence. It’s a brilliant piece of skill that gives him a bit of space to shoot with his left foot, and a combination of Brown and Taylor make a desperate block. 4.17pm BST 53 min Daniel wins a corner on the left for Blackpool. It’s swung deep and headed away. Exeter can’t get out though. 4.16pm BST 51 min Danns’ wicked inswinging cross from the left is bravely punched away by Pym, diving in front of Cullen at the near post. Blackpool have been much the better team since half-time. It does make you wonder why teams sit on a one-goal lead so often. 4.14pm BST 50 min Good save from Pym! Payne angled a fine long pass over the top to Vassell, who made an excellent run behind the defence. His first touch wasn’t great but his second was a rasping half-volley from a tight angle that was beaten away by Pym. 4.13pm BST 48 min Osayi-Samuel turns Stacey superbly on the left, moves to the edge of the area and curls a shot well wide of the far post. Blackpool should get the ball to him as often as possible as he looks a threat, albeit an erratic one. 4.11pm BST 48 min Blackpool have started the second half very positively, as they did the first until they made the mistake of scoring after 130 seconds. 4.09pm BST 46 min Peep peep! Blackpool begin the second half, kicking from right to left. 4.02pm BST Half-time reading Related: Jaap Stam says Reading have played the Dutch way to reach play-off final 3.54pm BST Peep peep! That was a fine half of football, with two excellent goals from Potts and Wheeler. Exeter have been the better team, extremely accomplished in possession, but Blackpool are very dangerous on the break. See you in 10 minutes for the second half. 3.53pm BST 45+6 min Harley skips jauntily onto Wheeler’s lay-off and into the box before spanking a shot high and wide of the near post. 3.52pm BST 45+5 mins Grant picks Mellor’s pocket and galumphs into the box from the left. Robertson comes across to make a vital clearance. 3.50pm BST 45+3 min Mellor cuts the ball back to Danns on the edge of the box. His shot will appear on an air traffic control map any second now. 3.47pm BST 45 min There will be six minutes of added time, a consequence of all those injuries. 3.46pm BST 43 min In a strange way, Blackpool might feel they scored too early. It allowed Exeter to dictate play and build up a rhythm that eventually manifested itself in Wheeler’s equaliser. 3.45pm BST 42 min That was such a good goal from Wheeler. He flew out of the traps to give Woodman the option to go long, then he controlled the ball deftly while running at full speed and flicked an insouciant lob over Slocombe with the outside of his right foot. 3.43pm BST It was another excellent goal. Woodman, deep in his own half, drilled yet another long ball towards Wheeler, but this time Wheeler got the wrong side of Daniel and controlled it excellently on the run. Slocombe came out and was caught in no man’s land, allowing Wheeler to lift a superb lob into the net from just inside the area. That’s Wheeler’s 21st goal of a wonderful season, some return for a wide forward. 3.42pm BST Exeter are level! 3.42pm BST 40 min Payne is back on, though his movement is laboured. 3.41pm BST 39 min Payne is limping off the pitch. I think he’ll try to come back on but it doesn’t look good. Blackpool have already lost Tom Aldred to injury. 3.41pm BST 38 min Payne is in some pai- distress after an innocuous challenge with Wheeler. It looks like he may have twisted his knee. 3.39pm BST 37 min Exeter have played 226 passes to Blackpool’s 91. Blackpool give not a solitary one about that. 3.38pm BST 36 min Taylor’s floaty cross is headed wide from 12 yards by Grant, who had no pace on the ball to work with and berated Taylor to that effect. 3.37pm BST 34 min Osayi-Samuel wins a corner via the medium of the stepover. It’s played short to the influential Potts, whose cross deflects behind for another corner. 3.35pm BST 33 min “I am weekly baffled by the number of fans of League Two clubs (including many of my chosen club, Portsmouth) who vehemently assert that the only way to play in this division is to play 4-4-2, with two wingers and at least one target man,” says Matt Loten. “The league is ‘too physical’ for small, skilful players, they argue, and the pitches too poor for possession football. I hope the excellent football played by some of this season’s promoted clubs, and on display thus far in today’s game, might win a few of the doubters over.” Yes, I completely agree. Two of the most significant changes in modern football are improvement in pitches and the clampdown on physical contract. It’s almost a different sport as a consequence, and you can play a passing game at any level. That said, I wouldn’t advocate tiki-taka on Hackney Marshes. That might not go down too well with hungover, hairy-arsed opponents. 3.32pm BST 31 min Bright Osayi-Samuel replaces Aldred, which suggests Blackpool will switch to a back four. 3.32pm BST 30 min Grant floats a deep cross towards Wheeler, who wins it in the air but can only head it onto the defender Daniel. Actually Daniel did very well because he ensured Wheeler couldn’t get a clear header at goal. 3.30pm BST 28 min Tom Aldred is down again, and this doesn’t look good for Blackpool. The physio starts manipulating his right ankle, and Aldred knows straight away that it’s over: he puts his hands over his head and clambers to his feet. The poor bloke is almost in tears as he limps towards the touchline. 3.29pm BST 27 min Payne makes a crucial interception to deny Harley a shooting chance in the area. Blackpool are struggling to get out at the moment. 3.27pm BST 25 min Aldred makes a fine tackle on Watkins to end another long passing move from Exeter. Watkins is such a powerful runner, so cutting him off source like that makes a lot of sense. 3.24pm BST 23 min Watkins has a shot blocked by Mellor. Exeter keep possession and work it back to James, who whistles a shot well wide from 25 yards. Exeter are playing some very pretty football. 3.22pm BST 20 min The pattern of the match is established: lots of neat Exeter possession followed by decisive counter-attacking from Blackpool. It is making for a lovely match. 3.21pm BST 19 min Woodman drills another diagonal to Wheeler, who again wins it emphatically in the air and heads it down to Watkins in the area. This time he eschews the shot and tries to return the ball to Wheeler, and Blackpool clear. Watkins could probably have had another shot on the turn there. 3.20pm BST 18 min Another chance for Exeter. Grant teases Mellor on the left of the box and slides the ball back to Taylor, whose first-time shot from eight yards is blocked by Aldred. 3.17pm BST 16 min There’s a break in play while Aldred receives treatment. It’s been a brilliant start to the game, everything a neutral would want in a play-off final. 3.17pm BST 15 min Potts charges into space on the left of the box before crossing dangerously to the near post. Cullen is lurking but Exeter crowd him out. Potts’s runs from midfield are causing Exeter plenty of problems. 3.16pm BST 14 min Watkins marauds into the area from the left, running right through a posse of Blackpool defenders before Daniel comes across to hoof clear. 3.14pm BST 11 min Slocombe makes a terrific save from Watkins! Exeter passed the ball for ages until the left-back Woodman injected some urgency with a long diagonal. Wheeler won it in the air and headed it down to Watkins in the area. He turned sharply to hit a fierce left-footed shot that brought an outstanding reaction save from Slocombe. 3.09pm BST 9 min “Just looking at the teams’ line-ups,” says Kevin Ryan. “Blackpool have won this already by some way. Those last four substitutes: Flores, Osayi-Samuel, Delfouneso and Gnanduillet. Magnificent! What superb names! Fashion note: The Dude here is wearing a faded blue-green tee shirt by George, sun bleached blue Weird Fish cargo shorts and busted out New Balance trainers. Paul Tisdale eat your heart out!” 3.09pm BST 8 min Daniel’s cross is put behind for a Blackpool corner. Nothing comes of it. Let’s just move on. 3.08pm BST 6 min Exeter have played some nice football since going behind. Early goals often make memorable matches. 3.06pm BST It’s a tremendous goal from Blackpool. Payne drilled a very long pass forward to Cullen, who killed it beautifully on the edge of the box and flipped it infield to Potts. He ran onto the ball and dragged a perfectly placed first-time shot into the far corner. 3.04pm BST Blackpool lead after 130 seconds of the match! 3.04pm BST 2 min A fast start from Blackpool. Vassell makes enough room on the right to clip over a superb cross that is desperately headed away at the near post. 3.02pm BST 1 min Peep peep! Exeter, in yellow, kick off from right to left. Blackpool are in tangerine. 2.58pm BST Blackpool fans at Wembley: 2010 vs 2017. This is what the toxic running of a football club does to its fanbase. 2.58pm BST There are rows and rows of empty seats in the Blackpool end, as expected, though there is still all kinds of noise as the players walk out of the tunnel. It’s nearly time for some association football action! 2.50pm BST Fashion corner Paul Tisdale is dressed in crisp grey trousers and white shirt (two buttons undone). No sign of a hat. It’s a glorious day in HA9, the sort that makes us members of the bald community extremely grateful for the existence of sunscreen. 2.47pm BST “Afternoon Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “It’s not Wembley, but Dundee United are playing Hamilton in the Scottish Premiership play off second leg this afternoon too. United are looking for a return to the top league after just one season in the Championship, and it would be a fine achievement for manager Ray McKinnon and his rebuilt team, while Hamilton will be hoping to extend their stay in the top league where they have been since 2014, having themselves achieved promotion via the play offs. The first leg at Tannadice finished 0-0, and already my nerves are shot, and it’s not even kick off time. It’s the hope etc etc ... “You’ll win 1-0 through a diving header from Simon Murray. You heard it here last. 2.32pm BST A year ago, Wimbledon beat Plymouth 2-0 to earn promotion to League One. It was quite an experience for their manager Neal Ardley - not least because he had a taxi to Heathrow waiting outside the stadium. Related: How does it feel to win the play-offs? AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley explains 2.05pm BST Blackpool (3-5-2) Slocombe; Aimson, Aldred, Robertson; Mellor, Danns, Payne, Potts, Daniel; Cullen, Vassell.Substitutes: Lyness, Nolan, Black, Flores, Osayi-Samuel, Delfouneso, Gnanduillet.Exeter (4-4-2) Pym; Stacey, Brown, Moore-Taylor, Woodman; Taylor, James, Harley; Wheeler, Watkins, Grant. Substitutes: Olejnik, Tillson, Holmes, McAlinden, Croll, Sweeney, Reid. 12.41pm BST Hello and welcome to live coverage of the League Two play-off final between Blackpool and Exeter at Wembley. Both sides are a great advert for the hopes and dramas of the play-off system. Exeter were bottom in mid-November, Blackpool were 15th at the start of March, yet both hit form sufficiently to finish in the top seven. And both reached Wembley with the kind of dramatic flourish that has become so familiar since the play-offs were introduced in 1987: they each won their semi-finals 6-5 on aggregate thanks to a 95th-minute goal.The teams have plenty in common on the field. Off it, not so much. Exeter are a happy, supporter-run club. Blackpool’s fans are desperate to see the back of the Oyston family, and many will boycott today’s game. It’s a pretty sad situation for a club that charmed the Premier League only six seasons ago, and you can read all about it here. Continue full article

Source: TheGuardian