MX23RW : Sunday, January 20 19:57:05
May 28, 2017 at 3pm UK at ​Wembley Stadium
Blackpool
2-1
ExeterExeter City
Potts (3'), Cullen (65')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Wheeler (40')

Result: Blackpool secure return to League One

Blackpool earn an immediate return to the third tier of English football with a 2-1 victory over Exeter City in the League Two playoff final.

Goals from Brad Potts and Mark Cullen have earned Blackpool a 2-1 victory over Exeter City to secure an immediate return to League One.

Potts's early goal gave the Seasiders the initiative in the League Two playoff final and although David Wheeler equalised for Exeter, Cullen's close-range effort midway through the second half ensured that Blackpool will only be spending a year at the fourth tier.

The triumph also caps a fine first 12 months in charge for Gary Bowyer, who can now look forward to fixtures against former side Blackburn Rovers next season.

Blackpool players celebrate promotion to League One on May 28, 2017

Blackpool required just 130 seconds to open the scoring in North London as a long pass towards Cullen resulted in the forward touching the ball into the path of Brad Potts, who produced a superb first-time finish into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

To Exeter's credit, they were able to ignore that setback and establish themselves in the game with Ollie Watkins bringing about an excellent save from Sam Slocombe after a sharp turn and shot.

The Grecians continued to have the better of the play but aside from a long-range effort from Lloyd James, they were not doing enough with the ball in and around the penalty area.

As the end of the first half drew closer, Blackpool began to improve but with five minutes remaining, Exeter were back on level terms thanks to Wheeler, who controlled a long ball before lobbing Slocombe from around 18 yards out.

Blackpool returned for the restart on the front foot with Bright Osayi-Samuel curling an effort wide of the far post and Kyle Vassell forcing a solid stop out of Christy Pym with a half-volley from 10 yards out.

They continued to make all of the running as the match progressed past the hour mark and with 25 minutes left, they went ahead through Cullen who diverted the ball into the bottom corner from close range after Potts had seen his effort saved by Pym.

Exeter had offered very little during the second half and they could have fallen further behind when Osayi-Samuel did well down the left before setting up Neil Danns, who drilled a shot over the crossbar from 20 yards.

As the game approached the final 10 minutes, Reuben Reid flashed a volley marginally wide of the far post as Exeter finally started to apply some pressure on the Blackpool goal.

However, opportunities remained few and far between and ahead of added-on time, it was Blackpool who looked most likely to net a third with Osayi-Samuel sending a shot wide of the far post and Vassell being denied by Pym from inside the penalty area.

That goal did not arrive but they successfully saw out the six minutes of added-on time to seal a memorable win in their turbulent recent history.

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A general view outside the ground before the Sky Bet League Two match between Hartlepool United and Accrington Stanley at Victoria Park on September 14, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Portsmouth28176547272057
2Luton TownLuton28168454252956
3Sunderland271411248262253
4Charlton AthleticCharlton29165847311653
5Barnsley27157547232452
6Peterborough UnitedPeterborough2813874738947
7Doncaster RoversDoncaster28137851371446
8Blackpool2710982725239
9Coventry CityCoventry29116123134-339
10Southend UnitedSouthend28122143834438
11Wycombe WanderersWycombe28108103840-238
12Fleetwood Town2899103833536
13Burton Albion28106123838036
14Accrington StanleyAccrington2798102736-935
15Walsall2898113243-1135
16Scunthorpe UnitedScunthorpe2997133754-1734
17Shrewsbury TownShrewsbury28710112935-631
18Gillingham2894153948-931
19Rochdale2987143559-2431
20Oxford UnitedOxford Utd2879123544-930
21Plymouth ArgylePlymouth2886143650-1430
22Bristol Rovers2877142530-528
23Bradford CityBradford2883173147-1627
24AFC Wimbledon2865172242-2023

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