Hello, and welcome to Sports Mole
's live coverage of the League Two playoff final between Blackpool and Exeter City
It has been less than 24 hours since Arsenal and Chelsea took part in the FA Cup final but we are back for the second installment of the action at Wembley over the Bank Holiday. For many, the importance of this competition will not be regarded as highly as the FA Cup final but these two teams, today's contest is everything. Since the start of pre-season, they have been working towards this moment and when it soon became apparent that automatic promotion would not be possible, attention turned to trying to feature at Wembley this afternoon.
When you consider the size of these two teams Blackpool will naturally be regarded as the bigger club but after back-to-back relegations, it has taken an enormous amount of work both on and off the pitch to get them into this position. The same can be said of Exeter but originally, Blackpool and their supporters may have been content with consolidation but this is their chance to start the long road back to the big time.
From Exeter's perspective, they have spent the last four campaigns having to be satisfied with mid-table finishes but this afternoon, long-serving boss Paul Tisdale
will be desperate to take advantage of a season which initially looked like it was going to be a long one when they spent time at the bottom of the standings. The turnaround has been remarkable and while there will be a certain amount of perspective about their transformation, they will be an acknowledgement of how difficult it is to gain chances like this one and they know they have to take it with both hands.
Anyway, team news! Let's bring you both starting lineups and substitutes...
BLACKPOOL XI: Slocombe, Mellor, Aimson, Aldred, Robertson, Daniel, Payne, Danns, Potts, Cullen, Vassell
BLACKPOOL SUBSTITUTES: Lyness, Nolan, Black, Flores, Osayi-Samuel, Delfouneso, Gnanduillet
EXETER CITY XI: Pym, Woodman, James, Harley, Wheeler, Grant, Watkins, Moore-Taylor, Taylor, Stacey, Brown
EXETER CITY SUBSTITUTES: Olejnik, Tillson, Holmes, McAlinden, Croll, Sweeney, Reid
First of all, let's get onto Blackpool with manager Gary Bowyer
opting to include Kyle Vassell in attack. He had been rated as doubtful with an hamstring injury but he replaces Nathan Delfouneso
. Skipper Andy Taylor
also misses out through injury, with Colin Daniel coming into the team.
As for Exeter, Tisdale has made three changes to the team which edged out Carlisle United in the second leg of the semi-finals. In goal, Christy Pym has replaced Robert Ojejnik, while Lloyd James has come into midfield and Joel Grant will feature in attack. Jordan Tillson and Lee Holmes
have dropped down to the bench.
HEAD TO HEAD! Today's fixture represents just the 18th time in which these two teams have faced each other in a competitive match, with Blackpool winning seven times and Exeter claiming five victories. Before this season, there had been no contests since 2001, but Blackpool hold the edge from the matches which have taken place during the current campaign. On the opening day of the season, Blackpool ran out 2-0 winners at Bloomfield Road before a last-minute goal from Reuben Reid earned Exeter a 2-2 draw in February.
It has been well-documented how both teams made it through to the final, but we are going to remind you anyway. Blackpool perhaps feared the worst when they let a lead slip at Luton Town in the second leg of their semi-final tie before two late goals saw them edge out the Hatters on aggregate. The triumph was made all the more sweeter after what appeared to be a dive from Danny Hylton had given the home side the initiative.
It was also a roller-coaster ride for Exeter who had been pegged back late in the second clash with Carlisle. It appeared that extra time would be required to separate them until Jack Stacey scored a thunderbolt of a last-minute winner to put his club into the final.
We should probably take a look at the potential match-winners in both sides with Exeter's stand-out man being David Wheeler
. He has contributed 18 goals and six assists this season with four goals coming in his last seven outings.
Mark Cullen could be Blackpool's main man after producing 12 goals and four assists this season but they have a number of key men. That may involve an appearance off the bench for Delfouneso, who will hope to build on his goal from the second leg of the semi-final.
This match is too close to call but we have to go with the form book with Blackpool gaining four points from the regular season. Wheeler and Ollie Watkins
are going to be a constant threat for Exeter but we are backing the North-West club to come out on top. Blackpool to prevail by a 3-1 scoreline.
The two teams are making their way out in North London. Paul Tisdale
looks like he is dressed for a night out. We will blame the warm temperatures for his attire.
It has to be said, the lack of Blackpool supporters in attendance makes Wembley look a far poorer sight. Exeter fans are here in their numbers.
Exeter get us underway.
GOAL! Blackpool 1-0 Exeter City (Potts)
My word, what a start. Blackpool have started this game like a train and their pressure pays off with a brilliant goal. A long ball into Cullen sees the striker touch the ball into the path of Potts who finds the bottom corner with a first-time shot from 20 yards.
In all fairness to Exeter, it has been a positive response. They are yet to fashion a chance but they are keeping the Blackpool defence on edge. This is shaping up to be a cracker but if Blackpool net a second, that may change things.
SAVE! This is an outstanding save. Watkins must feel that he is about to score after a sharp turn and shot inside the penalty area but Slocombe was able to fling himself to his left, save the effort with one hand before claiming the ball at the second opportunity.
The Blackpool defence looks terrified of Watkins. They backed off him as he made his way towards goal before eventually crowding him out as he entered the penalty area. To begin with, he was being given far too much time to decide what to do with the ball.
Moments after a timely block prevents Exeter from netting what seemed to be a probable equaliser, Blackpool broke forward through Cullen and eventually earned a free kick around 30 yards from goal. Robertson found Cullen with his set piece but Pym was able to claim easily enough.
Exeter appear to have found an area of the pitch they can exploit. On more than one occasion, players are being allowed to drift inside from the left flank and Blackpool don't know how to deal with it. The Grecians are still having plenty of possession in and around the box but so far, they aren't making the most of it.
SHOT! More positive play from Exeter but James's shot from 20 yards is always going wide.
We haven't seen much of Blackpool over the past 10 minutes or so. It is as if they have settled into a routine where they are prepared to play on the counter-attack, but it is a dangerous game with Exeter having established themselves as the better team.
SUBSTITUTION! An injury to Aldred leads to a change in personnel and a change in system. On come Bright Osayi-Samuel, who has been linked with the likes of Arsenal and Everton in recent months.
Better from Blackpool, who now decide to go back onto the offensive. They miss a couple of chances to bring in the player on the overlap but it will be encouraging for their supporters, who have had to watch the ball remain down the other end of the pitch.
We have a break in play after what appears to be a knee injury to Blackpool's Payne. There wasn't much contact, if any, so this doesn't look great.
GOAL! Blackpool 1-1 Exeter City (Wheeler)
Exeter have the equaliser that they deserve. A free kick finds the run of Wheeler and after taking a touch to control, he lobs Slocombe from just inside the penalty area. It's an excellent goal.
Blackpool could probably do with half time. They also have the niggle to Payne to contend with, which I am sure will be assessed at the break.
There will be six minutes of added-on time. There have been stoppages for injuries, but I wasn't expecting that much...
Danns has struggled to get involved in this match and that probably leads to this speculative effort which goes high into the stands. Still, he's another potential match-winner for Blackpool.
HALF TIME: Blackpool 1-1 Exeter City
The half-time whistle goes at Wembley Stadium and we are on level terms after an excellent half of football. Potts's early opener gave Blackpool the advantage but Exeter deserve to be back in the game after Wheeler's superb control and finish.
Blackpool get us back underway.
SHOT! Like with the first half, Blackpool have come out all guns blazing at the beginning of the second with Osayi-Samuel curling an effort wide of the far post after a sustained period of pressure.
CHANCE! Blackpool are coming on strong here. Payne finds Vassell with a long ball and after diverting the ball into his path, his half-volley is excellently saved by Pym from around 10 yards out.
This must be frustrating for Tisdale. There's no doubt that he would have called on his players to learn from their mistakes at the start of the match but they are replicating them. It's all Blackpool now.
SUBSTITUTIONS! Tisdale decides to bring on Reuben Reid for Grant, but there will be an enforced one to follow. Brown has picked up an injury, so on comes Pierce Sweeney.
Despite those alterations, Blackpool remain in the ascendancy. Mellor makes his way forward from right-back but despite twisting and turning his way into the penalty area, Exeter managed to get the ball behind for a corner.
SUBSTITUTION! A second change for Blackpool sees Payne make way for Ian Black. The knock he picked up in the first half appears to be the reason for that.
GOAL! Blackpool 2-1 Exeter City (Cullen)
Blackpool regain the lead! It is another brilliant goal with Potts being released into the penalty area and although his shot was saved by Pym, the ball fell to Cullen who was able to convert from inside the six-yard box.
Exeter needed a catalyst to show more ambition and maybe that was it. They start to apply more pressure on the Blackpool goal before the ball eventually goes out for a goal kick. They need to strike while they remain just the one behind. It Blackpool score again, it is game over.
A final change for Exeter sees Lee Holmes
CHANCE! Osayi-Samuel shows pace and power down the left flank before teeing up Danns on the edge of the penalty area. He strikes the ball well but it is always going over the crossbar.
SUBSTITUTION! The final change of the match takes place after 75 minutes with Jordan Flores replacing Cullen. If this goes to extra time, there are going to be some tired legs.
CHANCE! This is as good as its got for Exeter in this second half. A headed pass towards Reid sets him up to get a shot on goal but his volley from just inside the area misses the far post by a matter of inches.
Exeter are matching Blackpool now but I'm not sure it is going to be enough. The Seasiders are looking threatening on the break and if they can sort out their final pass, they may be able to put this game to bed.
Holmes has made a big difference to Exeter since his introduction. You have to wonder why he was dropped to the bench in the first place. He is supply numerous balls into the penalty area but so far, Blackpool are repelling them well.
CHANCE! You can certainly see why Osayi-Samuel is attracting so much attention. On this occasion, he burst down the left before drilling just wide of the far post.
CHANCE! Blackpool feel that the game is there for the taking. Moments after that opportunity a moment ago, Vassell got one-on-one with the defender before seeing his low strike well saved by Pym.
There will be five minutes of added-on time.
CHANCE! That could be that for Exeter. Watkins gets a header on goal from around 12 yards but he sends it off target.
FULL TIME: Blackpool 2-1 Exeter City
The full-time whistle goes at Wembley Stadium and Blackpool have hung on to secure promotion back to League One. All may not be rosy off the pitch but they are improving on it. Consolidation would have been the desire at the end of the campaign, but they can now look forward to a return to the third tier. Exeter had their moments but they failed to create enough clear-cut chances.
That will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us this afternoon and we hope to see you again for tomorrow's Championship playoff final. Goodbye for now.