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REPORT: Notts County 1-4 Coventry City - City secure their place in the SkyBet League Two Play-Off Final

City will face Exeter in the SkyBet League Two Play-Off Final...

18 May 2018

The Sky Blues are through to the SkyBet League Two Play-Off Final at Wembley after beating Notts County 4-1 at Meadow Lane.

Two goals incredible goals from Max Biamou along with strikes from Marc McNulty and Tom Bayliss secured a comfortable second leg victory infront of nearly five thousand Sky Blue fans. 

Mark Robins' side will now face Exeter City at Wembley Stadium on Monday 28th May.

The Sky Blues found themselves with a chance to take the lead after just 60 seconds. Marc McNulty and Biamou linked up well to send the Frenchman in over the top but he failed to make the most of a golden early chance.

Biamou made up for his miss moments later, however. Liam Kelly’s corner was nodded back into play by Jordan Willis for Biamou to spectacularly bicycle kick his effort bouncing into the far corner. Robins’ side were ahead at Meadow Lane and the Sky Blue Army were sent into party mode.

City were on top and looking dangerous. Biamou’s flick on this time found McNulty inside the area who looked to fire an effort up and over Collin from a tight angle but saw his shot whistle just over the crossbar.

By the half-hour mark, McNulty could have been on a hat-trick, while County were yet to register a single shot. McNulty’s twisting run forced Collin to make a strong save diving to his left that could have easily fallen to Biamou, but Duffy was able to get to the ball first.

County were in trouble, and their afternoon got even worse just before halftime. McNulty carried the ball forward before finding Tom Bayliss and eventually Liam Kelly out wide whose precise pull-back found McNulty again in the area to fire City two ahead.

The home side did pull one back before the break. Jorge Grant has been a star for the hosts all season and put his side firmly back into the game just as the board was raised for added time, making the most of an Ameobi flick-on to beat Burge from close range. 

The first half would serve up one final slice of drama though. McNulty and Shaun Brisley had a coming-together down in front of the City fans that saw the County man push his head towards McNulty’s forcing to referee to reach into his book and punish the two of them. 

As expected, Nolan's side came out after the interval desperate to make amends.  Grant was continuing to be a menace for Robins's defence and forced another save from Burge just before the hour mark. The Nottingham Forest loanee twisted and turned to the edge of the area before his 25-year curler dropped into the arms of City's 'keeper.

Captain Michael Doyle has only scored twice this season but came agonisingly close to making it three midway through the second half, but his close-range free-kick landed on the roof of the net.

Moments later, and the home side had three golden chances to pull level. First, former City man Jon Stead made the most of a dummy run in the area by Jonathan Forte to burst into the area but his shot was denied by a stunning reflex save from Burge to push it behind for a corner.

Next, it was Forte's turn as he watched his header loop over Burge and fall into the net, only for Graham Kane to raise his flag on the far side - before Forte, again, one-on-one with Burge, had the ball flicked off his toe by a great last-ditch challenge from Dominic Hyam.

Max Biamou has scored some wonderful goals this campaign, but no more important than City's third. The former Sutton man charged onto a long pass over the top to play a neat one-two with McNulty before beating two County defenders and rocketing the ball into the far corner from the edge of the area with his right foot. A stunner. City had withstood the County pressure and had punished their rivals.

Robins' side had the game wrapped up with five minutes to go. Bayliss was away on one of his direct runs that have become so common in City's attacks, before blasting past Collin to make it four on the night.

City were off the Wembley. PLAY UP SKY BLUES!

 

 

Attendance: 17,458 (4,600 Away).

Goals: Biamou (8’), McNulty (36’), Grant (44'), Biamou (72'), Bayliss (84').

Yellows: Tootle (16’), Doyle (23’), Alessandra (30’), Brisley (45’), McNulty (45’).

Reds:

Coventry City XI: Burge (GK); Grimmer, Willis, Hyam, Stokes; Bayliss, Kelly, Doyle ©, Shipey; McNulty (Ponticelli [87']), Biamou (Clarke-Harris [73']).

Unused subs: O’Brien (GK), McDonald, Maguire-Drew, Barrett, Reid.

Notts County XI: Collin (GK); Tootle, Hewitt, Duffy, Brisley; Alessandra (Ameobi [77']), Grant, Noble (O’Connor [45’]), Jones; Forte, Stead.

Unused subs: Fitzsimons (GK), Virtue, Smith, Milsom, Hall.


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