My final final blog of this season takes me to Wembley for the League Two play Off final between Blackpool & Exeter City. I never expected to get a ticket for this one & when the opportunity presented itself, you just don't turn a trip to Wembley down, well I don't anyway.
After a long uneventful trip down on the Megabus & a half hour underground trip, I arrived at the National Stadium at around 1pm for the 3pm kick off & enjoyed the pre match atmosphere. There is no doubt in my mind that Wembley is a special venue & the tingle of excitement especially in the Exeter end where I was, was palpable.
Around 16000 fans made the trip up from the south west, about four times Exeter's average home crowd, compared to Blackpool's 6000, their turnout obviously affected by the fans boycott of anything that could help their hated owners the Oyston family in any way, especially financially. This made for the strange situation where it was like an Exeter City home game.
After an impeccably observed minutes silence for victims of the Manchester atrocity the game kicked off with Blackpool strongly out of the blocks & the Seasiders were a goal up inside two minutes with a well taken Brad Potts goal following a neat Mark Cullen lay off. It's fair to say Exeter were rattled at this early stage & it took the Grecians a good 20 minutes to grab a foothold in the game. After some sustained Exeter pressure on the half hour however Exeter equalised when a long punt upfield was expertly controlled & lifted over the keeper by Grecians midfielder David Wheeler restoring parity. Exeter werein the ascendency for the remainder of the first half, pushing Blackpool back without really creating much in the way of goalscoring opportunities. It's safe to say though that Blackpool were the happier of the two teams to see the half time whistle.
Whatever Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer said to his troops at half time certainly had the desired effect as like the first half, Blackpool started strongly with both Neil Danns & Kyle Vassell coming close but they did not have to wait long to go back in front, top scorer Cullen prodding home after being set up by Potts. This time though Exeter's response was muted with only sub Rueben Reid coming pretty close while Blackpool had three or four opportunities to extend their lead &eventually ran out deserved winners.
Many congratulations to Blackpool on their promotion, it's just a shame that more of their true supporters weren't at Wembley to see it & I genuinely hope the club & the supporters of this brilliant club can find a way of coming back together soon.