On Bank Holiday Monday, the final curtain came down on the 2017/18 League Two season. With three out of the four promotion places already decided at the beginning of May, the final team to take their place was decided at Wembley Stadium.
As play-off teams go, the two City’s of Exeter and Coventry were two contrasting teams competing to get into League One. Exeter returning to the venue of last season’s final heartache and Coventry aiming to return at the first time of asking.
Both Paul Tisdale and Mark Robins, the respective managers, have created two vibrant attacking teams although it was Exeter who came closest to automatic promotion being in and around the top three spots for a majority of the season.
Coventry on the other hand took a while to adapt to the bottom division, but once they found their feet, Robins had his charges pursuing promotion via the play-offs, eventually finishing nine points off the top three.
As it was, Coventry overran their West Country counterparts throughout the ninety minutes despite the game being scoreless at half time. A quickfire double just after half time gave Exeter no way back into the match and even without top scorer Mark McNulty on the scoresheet, the Sky Blues were far too strong roared on by 40,000 expectant fans.
Exeter will be disappointed they didn’t put up a better showing, given their performance over the league campaign. And it’s not as if they were lacking in big performers. They would have been desperate to put last year’s defeat to Blackpool behind them and go one better this year.
So, what now for both clubs over the summer months? Well, a lot has happened inside just a few days of that Wembley game. Tisdale, who had been negotiating a new deal with the Supporters Trust who run the club, decided it was time to walk away and the longest serving manager after Arsene Wenger left St James Park with a decent record under his belt.
Exeter wasted no time in appointing his replacement, former player Matt Taylor has moved up from the Under 23’s to provide some continuity, something the club was keen to promote and in doing so quickly, there is maximum amount of time to shape his squad for the new season.
Whilst it’s change in the West County, it’s a new contract for Robins in the Midlands and much deserved. After a very downward spiral in losing its Premier League place back in the early 2000’s apart from a Football League Trophy success two seasons ago, Robins has done extremely well to return the club to League One immediately and will no doubt be targeting the club being restored to the upper echelons of English football.
In this day and age, you wouldn’t expect him to match Tisdale’s run of twelve years but backed by a huge support, more success and silverware could be heading to the Ricoh Arena.
Written by Trevor Knell
Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37
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