Tonight in the Sky Bet League Two Playoffs Exeter City host Lincoln City at St. James’ Park.
Exeter City XI: Pym, Sweeney, Tillson, Harley, Simpson, Stockley, Moore-Taylor, Moxey, Taylor, Storey, Boateng.
Subs: Jones, Woodman, James, Archibald-Henville, McAlinden, Jay, Edwards.
Lincoln City XI: Allsop, Whitehouse, Waterfall, Rhead, Green, Wilson, Bostwick, Frecklington, Eardley, Anderson, Woodyard.
Subs: Farman, Long, Wharton, Pett, Palmer, Chapman, Williams.
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I haven’t published the usual “Form, Past Results & More” article ahead of this game, but we will look at a few of the things I usually include in it and some of our members’ views ahead of the game:
Exeter City: Last Six Games:
Accrington Stanley 1-1 Exeter City
Exeter City 2-1 Chesterfield
Exeter City 2-2 Crawley Town
Stevenage 3-1 Exeter City
Exeter City 1-0 Colchester United
Lincoln City 0-0 Exeter City
Exeter City: Top 5 Goalscorers:
1: Jayden Stockley (19)
2: Pierce Sweeney (8)
3: Jake Taylor (8)
4: Dean Moxey (3)
5: Lee Holmes (2)
Exeter City had a very eventful 2016-17. A 3-2 defeat at Carlisle on 19 November left The Grecians bottom of the Football League and staring trips to Boreham Wood and Solihull in the face. Even the most die-hard supporters of long-serving manager Paul Tisdale were doubting his future at St James Park, but a 1-0 win at fellow strugglers Leyton Orient in the next game was the start of a 12-match unbeaten run which carried them to 4th place in the table and a sustained play-off challenge. A 6-5 aggregate win over Carlisle in the play-off semi-final took them to a largely empty Wembley Stadium where they were beaten 2-1 by supporter-less Blackpool. The estimated £150,000 to £200,000 earned from the play-off campaign will not benefit the team, however, as it has been earmarked for the extensive redevelopment of the ground currently underway. Two star players have departed during the summer: highly-rated 16-year-old Ethan Ampadu has moved to Chelsea for limited compensation only, while 16-goal Ollie Watkins has been sold to Brentford for a rumoured £1.8m, payable in instalments. Exeter chairman Julian Tagg says the money will be used to underpin the budget for the next four seasons and will not result in any spending sprees. Striker Joel Grant has also departed for Plymouth, although top scorer David Wheeler remains. The decision to play every pre-season friendly against sides from two or three tiers below them looks to have backfired a touch, with two defeats from five games. Another promotion challenge looks unlikely this time around unless Tisdale can replace those key departures.
Lincoln City: Last Six Games:
Lincoln City 0-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Lincoln City 2-1 Colchester United
Coventry City 2-4 Lincoln City
Accrington Stanley 1-0 Lincoln City
Lincoln City 1-1 Yeovil Town
Lincoln City 0-0 Exeter City
Lincoln City: Top 5 Goalscorers:
1: Matt Green (13)
2: Ollie Palmer (8)
3: Matt Rhead (8)
4: Harry Anderson (6)
5: Michael Bostwick (6)
Lincoln City’s promotion to the Football League last season was as unexpected as it was breathtaking. Their run to the FA Cup quarter-final astonished and enthralled football supporters all over the world, and that is one reason why they are expected to do well this season. Wins over Oldham, Ipswich, Brighton and Burnley suggest that City will have little trouble with the likes of Crawley and Newport, and they have a far stronger squad this season. The methodical and analytical approach of Danny Cowley and his management team should deliver results regardless of which tier they are in; and whilst promotion to League One at the first attempt seems a tall order, they have plenty of momentum. Cowley has made some interesting signings during the close season, with Peterborough’s Player of the Season Michael Bostwick the headline-maker. Off the field, their policy of attracting sustainable investment has been enhanced through the advent of a couple of new directors. With a bespoke training ground scheduled to open in December and a new 15,000-seat stadium very much on the horizon, developments in infrastructure are set to keep pace with progress onfield. The people of Lincoln are certainly convinced: they have snapped up almost 6,000 season tickets over the summer, a response not seen since their Second Division days in the mid-1950s. City are almost guaranteed an average crowd of between 7,000 and 8,000, even if consolidation is the outcome next May. But the Cowleys have the opportunity they have worked for ten years to secure – to test their skills in the Football League – and they are unlikely to settle for anything less than a promotion challenge.
Last 9 Meetings:
27/10/01: Lincoln City 0-0 Exeter City (Division 3)
30/3/02: Exeter City 1-1 Lincoln City (Division 3)
19/10/02: Lincoln City 1-0 Exeter City (Division 3)
18/3/03: Exeter City 2-0 Lincoln City (Division 3)
6/12/08: Exeter City 2-1 Lincoln City (League Two)
18/4/09: Lincoln City 0-1 Exeter City (League Two)
19/8/17: Exeter City 1-0 Lincoln City (League Two)
30/3/18: Lincoln City 3-2 Exeter City (League Two)
12/5/18: Lincoln City 0-0 Exeter City (League Two Playoffs Leg 1)
Views From 100% Imps:
JT_LCFC: “Exeter are obvious favourites, and have a far bigger squad whilst ours has become stretched. I have learnt over the last two years never write off DC/NC – therefore 1.0 Lincoln.”
Rob the Imp: “It’s going to be tight again. Let’s be optimistic and say 1-0 Imps in normal time!”
PWould: “1-0 to Exeter. However it will be tight and extra time and penalties would be no surprise”
Thank you to Graham Burrell and Lincoln City for the photograph!