Exeter City will face Northampton Town at Wembley Stadium on Monday for a place in Sky Bet League One. Ahead of the huge game, Craig Bratt takes a look at the Cobblers, who have previous Play-Off history.
Here is all you need to know about our opponents...
- Founded: 1897
- Nickname: The Cobblers
- Honours: Third Division (1962-63), Fourth Division/League Two (1986-87, 2015-16), Southern Football League (1908-09).
Northampton Town Football Club were founded on 6th March 1897, when a group of local school teachers got together with the well known local solicitor, AJ "Pat" Darnell in the Princess Royal Inn, Wellingborough Road, Northampton to form the town's first professional football club.
They joined the Football League in 1920, despite conceding a record 103 in the previous season – the first after the war – and became a public company in 1923, with 8,000 shares being sold for £1. Before the breakout of World War Two, they lost 10-0 to Bournemouth at Dean Court – their record defeat – and were also the first club to receive a transfer fee during the war when Bobby King was sold to Wolves for a four figure fee.
The club were promoted three times between 1960 and 1965, reaching the First Division for the first time only to be relegated back to Division Two a year later. 1970 saw the club face Manchester United in the FA Cup – losing 8-2 thanks in part to six goals by George Best.
The club moved to their new Sixfields ground in 1994 and three years later, under manager Ian Atkins, the club played at Wembley for the first time in over 100 years when they beat Swansea City in the Third Division play-off final, before featuring in the Division Two play-off final the following season – losing 1-0 to Grimsby. Since then, the club have fluctuated between League One and Two, winning the fourth tier in 2016 before being relegated back in 2018.
Last Time Out
Northampton were 2-0 down from the first leg of their play off against Cheltenham Town and faced a mammoth task to turn the game on its head. They stunned their Gloucestershire opponents by scoring three times without reply at the Jonny Rocks Stadium to seal a date with destiny against the Grecians.
The Cobblers have previous experience of the play-offs having taken part in them in 2004, 2005 and 2012. In 2004, Northampton were pitted against Mansfield Town, where they were beaten on penalties after the second leg following a 3-3 draw.
The following season they were beaten 1-0 in the semi finals by Southend United. Seven year later, Northampton made it to Wembley after beating Cheltenham over the two legs, facing Bradford City in the capital. They were beaten under the arch by three first half goals by their Yorkshire opponents.
Seasoned center back Curle had a 25 year playing career that him play for a number of club across the country. He is perhaps best known for his time playing for Manchester City, where he made over 174 appearances before joining Wolves, where he stayed for another 150 matches.
His transfer to Maine Road from Wimbledon made him, at one point, the most expensive defender bought by a British club. He was appointed the Cobblers’ boss in November 2018 after a four year spell at Carlisle United.
One To Watch
West Bromwich Albion’s Callum Morton hit the ground running when joining the Cobblers on loan in January, scoring three times in his first five games. He scored twice against Cheltenham to seal the surprise victory, which took his tally to four goals in four matches, despite the three month hiatus between games. The 20-year-old has been instrumental in Northampton’s surge to the final and will play a key part on Monday.
Northampton Town 2 Exeter City 0 | Saturday 22 February 2020 | Sky Bet League Two
Northampton ended a four match winning run with a two goal victory over the Grecians at the PTS Academy Stadium. Sam Hoskins and Vadaine Oliver were both on target.
Exeter City 3 Northampton Town 2 | Saturday 7 December 2019| Sky Bet League Two
A rapid second-half riposte with goals from Aaron Martin and Alex Fisher saw Exeter City come from behind to beat Northampton Town 3-2 at St James Park.
Northampton Town 2 Exeter City 1 | Saturday 9 March 2019 | Sky Bet League Two
Exeter City suffered back-to-back defeats as goals from Aaron Pierre and Andy Williams condemned them to a 2-1 defeat at Northampton Town.
Head To Head
- Northampton wins: 53
- Draws: 34
- Exeter City wins: 30