Exeter City and Cheltenham Town eager to seize League Two play-off opportunity

Exeter City and Cheltenham managers are vying to join already promoted Swindon and Plymouth Argyle in League One next season. Credit: PA

Exeter City and Cheltenham Town relaunch their promotion charges this evening, 18 June, after the pandemic brought the EFL season to a premature end and catapulted both clubs into the League Two play-offs.

The Grecians and the Robins begin the two-legged semi finals away against Colchester United and Northampton Town respectively and will conclude matters on home turf on Monday, 22 June.

The semi final winners will then contest the League Two play-off final at Wembley Stadium on 29 June.

League Two play-off schedule:

  • Colchester United v Exeter City (17:15 BST) 18 June

  • Northampton Town v Cheltenham Town (19:45 BST) 18 June

  • Exeter City v Colchester United (17:15 BST) 22 June

  • Cheltenham Town v Northampton Town (20:00 BST) 22 June

This season will forever be remembered for the disruption wrought by coronavirus but it has already ended sweetly for Swindon Town and Plymouth Argyle - automatically promoted - and a further representative from the south west could follow suit.

Cheltenham and Exeter have already made preparations for the conclusive home legs by placing cardboard cutouts of supporters in the stands because they are unable to offer their support in person.


Exeter City come agonisingly close to promotion in recent years - they lost the final in both 2016-17 (1-2 vs Blackpool) and 2017-18 (1-3 vs Coventry).

The Grecians are therefore well seasoned in the art of the play-offs, and this could be third time lucky.

Manager Matt Taylor insists the team are ready to hit the ground running after 104 days since they last took the field on 7 March.

Exeter City and Cheltenham will play the decisive 2nd legs of their semi finals at home. Credit: PA

Cheltenham are attempting to return to League One for the first time since 2009.

They were clinging to League Two survival when manager Michael Duff arrived last season but were a transformed team before all play was suspended in March, winning five of their last six games.

Chetenham supporters will not be able to cheer their team from the stands and have to watch from home instead. Credit: PA

Chairman Andy Wilcox said: "I am convinced we’d have gone up automatically if we’d carried on. It was disappointing we couldn’t see the season out because we were on a fantastic run"

And the chairman has showered praise on his manager before the play-off.

"He is level headed, focused and he’ll be as prepared as he possibly can after 18 or so days of training to guide us through these play-offs", said Wilcox.

Michael Duff played for Cheltenham in the 1990s. Credit: PA

Duff is certainly no stranger to achieving promotion with the club.

He scored the winning goal against Yeovil Town in 1999 to help the club clinch promotion to the Football League for the first time.

And he sees the unique finale to this season as an opportunity.