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2021 EFL League One
play-off final
Wembley Stadium, illuminated.jpg
Report
Date30 May 2021 (2021-05-30)
VenueWembley Stadium, London
RefereeTony Harrington
Attendance9,751
2020

The 2021 EFL League One play-off Final was an association football match which was played on 30 May 2021 at Wembley Stadium, London, to determine the third and final team to gain promotion from EFL League One, the third tier of English football, to the EFL Championship. The top two teams of 2020–21 EFL League One, Hull City and Peterborough United, gained automatic promotion to the Championship, while the clubs placed from third to sixth place in the table will take part in 2021 English Football League play-offs. The winners of the play-off semi-finals competed for the final place for the 2021–22 season in the Championship.

Route to the final

Blackpool finished the regular 2020–21 season in third place in EFL League One, the third tier of the English football league system, two places and three points ahead of Lincoln City. Both therefore missed out on the two automatic places for promotion to the EFL Championship and instead took part in the play-offs to determine the third promoted team. Blackpool finished seven points behind Peterborough United (who were promoted in second place) and nine behind league winners Hull City.

Lincoln City's opposition for their play-off semi-final were Sunderland with the first match of the two-legged tie taking place at Sincil Bank in Lincoln on 19 May 2021. In a goalless first half, Brennan Johnson came closest to breaking the deadlock but his shot hit the Sunderland post. After the interval, the visitors hit the Lincoln goalframe twice within a minute before Tom Hopper scored from close range to give Lincoln a 1–0 lead. With 13 minutes to go, Johnson charged down a clearance from Sunderland goalkeeper Lee Burge to score Lincoln's second and they won the match 2–0. The second leg was held three days later at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland. Ross Stewart side-footed the ball into the Lincoln City net after 13 minutes from an Aiden McGeady cross before Charlie Wyke scored the 31st goal of his season 18 minutes later to make it 2–0 to Sunderland. Hopper scored with a header eleven minutes after half-time to half the deficit for Lincoln. In the 63rd minute, Josh Scowen's tackle on Conor McGrandles was deemed a foul, but the resulting penalty from Jorge Grant was saved by Burge. The game ended 2–1 to Sunderland but with an aggregate score of 3–2 to Lincoln City, they progressed to the final.

Blackpool faced Oxford United in their semi-final and the first leg was played at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford on 18 May 2021. Oliver Turton opened the scoring for the visitors midway through the first half when he scored from a mis-hit clearance by Josh Ruffels. Ellis Simms doubled Blackpool's lead in the 26th minute and scored his second with 16 minutes of the match remaining with a low strike past Jack Stevens in the Oxford goal, to give his side a 3–0 victory. The second leg took place three days later at Bloomfield Road in Blackpool. Matty Taylor gave Oxford the lead with a low shot in the seventh minute of the match but Elliot Embleton equalised four minutes later with a curling strike. Kenny Dougall made it 2–1 to Blackpool in the 13th minute, flicking the ball in from Dan Ballard's pass. Rob Atkinson scored seven minutes into the second half before Jerry Yates put Oxford ahead once again two minutes later. Olamide Shodipo scored in the 74th minute to make it 3–3, which was the final score, and Blackpool progressed to the final with a 6–3 aggregate victory.

Match

Background

Blackpool have made six previous appearances in finals from eight play-offs, winning five of them, most recently the 2017 EFL League Two play-off Final in which they defeated Exeter City 2–1 at Wembley. They have played in League One since that promotion and last played in the Championship in the 2014–15 season. Lincoln City have featured in six play-offs, including five in succession between 2003 and 2007, but only progressed to the final twice, losing on both occasions. They have played in League One since gaining promotion as champions of League Two in the 2018–19 season and have not featured in the second tier of English football since the 1960–61 season. In the matches between the sides during the regular season, Lincoln City won away at Bloomfield Road 3–2 in October 2020 while the return game at Sincil Bank the following April ended in a 2–2 draw. Yates is Blackpool's top scorer during the regular season with 21 goals, while Taylor led the scoring for Lincoln City with 19.

Details

30 May 2021
15:00 BST
Blackpool 2–1 Lincoln City Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 9,751
Referee: Tony Harrington
Dougall Goal 34'54' Report Turton Goal 1' (og)
Blackpool
Lincoln City
GK 1 Flag of Wales Chris Maxwell (C)
RB 20 Flag of England Ollie Turton
CB 26 Flag of England Daniel Ballard Booked in the 48th minute 48'
CB 3 Flag of England James Husband Booked in the 84th minute 84'
LB 29 Flag of England Luke Garbutt Booked in the 8th minute 8'
CM 39 Flag of England Kevin Stewart
CM 12 Flag of Australia Kenneth Dougall Booked in the 90+2th minute 90+2'
RW 15 Flag of England Demetri Mitchell Substituted off in the 69th minute 69'
AM 32 Flag of England Elliot Embleton Substituted off in the 79th minute 79'
LW 8 Flag of England Keshi Anderson Substituted off in the 79th minute 79'
CF 9 Flag of England Jerry Yates Substituted off in the 90th minute 90'
Substitutes:
GK 28 Flag of England Stuart Moore
DF 2 Flag of England Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel
DF 4 Flag of England Jordan Thorniley Substituted on in the 90th minute 90'
DF 21 Flag of England Marvin Ekpiteta
MF 18 Flag of England Grant Ward Substituted on in the 79th minute 79'
MF 22 Flag of England CJ Hamilton Substituted on in the 79th minute 79'
FW 14 Flag of England Gary Madine Substituted on in the 69th minute 69'
Head Coach:
Flag of England Neil Critchley
GK 1 Flag of England Alex Palmer
RB 2 Flag of Wales Regan Poole
CB 22 Flag of England Timothy Eyoma
CB 16 Flag of Wales Joe Walsh Substituted off in the 88th minute 88'
LB 7 Flag of England Tayo Edun
CM 23 Flag of Scotland Liam Bridcutt (C) Booked in the 66th minute 66'
CM 18 Flag of Scotland Conor McGrandles
CM 10 Flag of England Jorge Grant Substituted off in the 80th minute 80'
RW 20 Flag of Wales Brennan Johnson
CF 9 Flag of England Tom Hopper Substituted off in the 63rd minute 63'
LW 27 Flag of England Morgan Rogers
Substitutes:
GK 31 Flag of England Sam Long
DF 4 Flag of Netherlands Lewis Montsma Substituted on in the 88th minute 88'
DF 15 Flag of England Cohen Bramall
MF 6 Flag of England Max Sanders
MF 26 Flag of England Harry Anderson
FW 11 Flag of Republic of Ireland Anthony Scully Substituted on in the 80th minute 80'
FW 19 Flag of England Callum Morton Substituted on in the 63rd minute 63'
Manager:
Flag of England Michael Appleton
Statistics
Blackpool Lincoln City
Possession 47% 53%
Goals scored 2 1
Shots on target 7 0
Shots off target 4 7
Fouls committed 14 12
Corner kicks 3 6
Yellow cards 4 1
Red cards 0 0

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