Northampton Town promoted to League One after thumping play-off final win

Northampton Town 4-0 Exeter City (Northampton Town promoted to League One)

Northampton Town produced a stunning performance to thrash Exeter City 4-0 in the League Two play-off final and seal promotion to League One at an empty Wembley stadium.

The match was played behind closed doors at the national stadium because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the Cobblers didn't let that faze them as they dominated Exeter from the first minute to the final whistle.

Keith Curle's side got off to the perfect start when midfielder Ryan Watson fired them ahead in the 11th minute, and it wasn't long before it was two as West Brom loanee Callum Morton continued his fine form in front of goal to double their lead with barely half an hour on the clock.

The game was effectively ended as a contest when former Crystal Palace left-back Dean Moxey was sent off early in the second-half for a bad challenge on Watson, and the Cobblers made their extra man advantage count - adding further goals from Sam Hoskins and Andy Williams to cap a dream evening.

Sam Hoskins celebrates scoring for Northampton Town in the League Two play-off final. Credit: PA

It means Northampton return to League One for the first time since they were relegated in 2018, and can now start planning for trips to clubs like Sunderland and Ipswich Town next season, as well as a local derby against MK Dons.

The fact the Cobblers even reached this point was something of a miracle in itself, having only just scraped into the play-offs via the PPG method before then going on to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit against Cheltenham Town in their semi-final.

As for Exeter, their Wembley curse continues, with the Grecians having now lost three of the last four League Two play-off finals.

The win also meant it was a case of third time lucky for Cobblers boss Keith Curle who had previously lost in the League Two play-offs at previous clubs Carlisle United and Mansfield Town.

Speaking to Sky Sports on the Wembley turf, Curle said he was "very proud" to be able to deliver promotion for the club's fans.

He said: "I've got to be honest, you've got to have belief and as players and staff, we're very proud to be part of the football club.

"We've got an identity and we had to make sure we didn't abandon that. I've got to mention the unity - from the day that I came in, we set about setting a plan in place and they've all bought into that. We're proud to represent the fans. I'll talk and get people believing in what we're trying to build."