Football tips: 3 best bets for Exeter City v Northampton Town in the League 2 playoff final

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NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: Nicky Law of Exeter City moves forward with the ball during the Sky Bet League Two match between Northampton Town and Exeter City at PTS Academy Stadium on February 22, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)


When the League 2 season came to a halt back in March, Exeter City couldn’t have hoped for it to come at a better time having failed to win any of their last five games. That meant at the time of lockdown, they trailed Northampton Town by seven points in the league standings, the side they face in Monday night’s Wembley showdown. In February, the sides met when Northampton came out on top courtesy of a 2-0 scoreline although Exeter can find themselves unlucky not to have got something that day.

In fact, in the last five head-to-heads, just the one goal has separated the sides and two of those games have also finished in draws. If history can be believed, the one thing we can expect is goals as, not since April 2016 have we seen a scoreless draw. In the last four clashes of these two sides, there have been two goals or more but they key statistic here, and one which could split the sides, is that Northampton have scored at least two goals the last four times they’ve faced Exeter City, both home and away.

Their 3-0 triumph away to Cheltenham last Monday night, which booked them a place in this Play-Off final, showed that Keith Curle’s men have found their shooting boots once again and they have now found the net in six of their last seven games. So, we can expect Northampton goals here and expecting them to score over 1.5 goals in the 90 minutes looks a very solid option. Backing over 2.5 goals in the match isn’t a bad alternative either given that it would have been a winner in three of the last four meetings and in four of Northampton’s last five games.

Having won the February meeting between the sides, Northampton will fancy their chances here of lifting some silverware and in fact, they’ve only lost one of the last nine meetings between the sides, the closely matched clash at St James Park in December when Exeter won 3-2. It’s very worrying for the Grecians though that their form isn’t as it should be heading into this must-win encounter.

Yes, they beat Colchester seven days ago to book their Wembley spot but they needed extra-time to seal the deal and prior to that, they hadn’t won any of their previous six games. It’s most definitely not ideal for Matt Taylor’s men that their form has waned somewhat and also that they haven’t been scoring as many goals as they would have liked. So, on all recent form, and the head-to-head record, Northampton are a confident choice to win this match over the 90 minutes.

If Northampton are going to win this argument, then it’s crucial that Callum Morton and Vadaine Oliver step up to the plate. Both were on the scoresheet in last Monday’s 3-0 win over Cheltenham, with Morton bagging a brace. That was the West Brom loanee’s third brace of the season but it might be best to side with his striking partner for a first goalscorer punt. Vadaine Oliver may have only scored eight goals this season but in the last three games when he’s found the target, he’s been responsible for the opening goals in each of those games.

That was the case last Monday and it was also the case when Northampton beat Exeter 2-0 in February. He’s worth taking a chance on.


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