Archive for the ‘Play-Offs’ Category

Play-off Final Cup

We already know Newport County will be the newcomers to the Football League from the  Blue Square Premier Conference after beating Wrexham 2-0 in the Play-Off Final.

Newport’s hard earned season payed off and it will be interesting to see how they will do for such a small club in the Football League.  My Prediction for the winners of the Blue Square Premier Play-Off’s was clearly wrong as I had gone for Kiddermimster Harriers because of their great run of form in the league and they narrowly missed out on automatic promotion by two points to Mansfield Town.  They just seemed ‘unstoppable’.

The League Two Play-Off Final is on the 18th May at Wembley between Bradford City and Northampton Town.  Bradford yet again have another Wembley appearance after defeat to Swansea City in the League Cup Final.  Highly impressive for a League Two team knocking out Premier League opposition on their long hard fought journey to reach the final.

Northampton will be looking to take advantage as it has been a long season and a bit of a disappointment missing out on automatic promotion.  I must say that I’m going to go for a Bradford win as they’ve tasted Wembley already this season and they know what kind of atmosphere to expect so the experience may play an advantage.

The League One Final is going to be a hard one to call between Brentford and Yeovil Town.  I have already played for Brentford and have experienced a Play-Off final with them where they suffered defeat back in the 2002 season.  I understand the pressure.

Brentford came close to promotion on the last day of this season versus Doncaster Rovers.  With myself being at the match, I must say it was the most dramatic finish to a game I have ever seen.  Brentford Winger Marcello Trotter crashed his penalty against the crossbar, only for James Coppinger of Doncaster Rovers to get slipped through on goal from the rebound to go straight down the other end and score.  This was the last kick of the game which finished 0-1 to Doncaster who sealed automatic promotion and the league one title.

Both managers will want this as Brentford have had a 10 year wait for another great opportunity for promotion, while ex Bristol City manager Gary Johnson, now at Yeovil, would want to relieve the heartache he suffered at the loss to Hull City in the Championship play-off final back in 2008.  Having played under Johnson when I was under his management at Bristol City, this will be a game that he will not want to lose because of his love, pride, and hunger for the game.

I predict a penalty shoot out even though Yeovil Town have done the double over Brentford this season.  I expect that both teams will be too frightened to lose.  Anything can happen in a penalty shoot out so who knows.

Moving onto the Championship Play-Off Final, Crystal Palace and Watford would be after the 120 million pounds worth battle for the Premiership place.

Wilfred Zaha of Crystal Palcae on loan from Manchester Utd, showed his class as he stunned Brighton and Hove Albion with a headed goal and a thunderbolt strike to seal victory 0-2.  Zaha is the player Watford would have to watch out for and he seemed to be on song in front of goal at the most crucial times in the match.

Watford manager Gianfranco Zola is certainly up for this game as he ran half the length of Vicaridge Road to celebrate with his players as Troy Deeney finished off the game in the dying minutes, firing home to win the second leg 3-1 and the tie 3-2 on aggregate against Leicester City.

With both managers being as passionate as they are, I’m still going to go for a Crystal palace victory.  Just simply because Ian Holloway has done it before at Blackpool and looks like he has Wembley success written all over with a striker in form ‘Wilfred Zaha’.

Lets hope all the league Play-Off finals are exciting as ever and I wish success for all the teams that are promoted into their new division.

Speak Soon

Mark McCammon