League Two - Play-offs - 2nd Leg
Notts County1Coventry4

Notts County 1-4 Coventry City (2-5 agg)

Marc McNulty
Marc McNulty's goal was his 28th of the season in all competitions for Coventry

Coventry City won an absorbing League Two play-off semi-final second leg at Notts County to book a meeting with Exeter at Wembley on Monday, 28 May.

After a drawn first leg, Max Biamou's stunning bicycle kick put Coventry ahead before Marc McNulty rounded off a fine move to increase City's lead.

Notts' Jorge Grant tucked in to cut the deficit, before Jonathan Forte's goal was wrongly ruled out for offside.

But Biamou's low finish made it 3-1 and Tom Bayliss' deflected shot sealed it.

Victory saw the Sky Blues move one step closer to their first promotion since 1966-67, when they went up to the old First Division, but it came after the hosts were on the wrong end of two very controversial decisions in the second leg.

Offside decisions go against County?

Kevin Nolan's side, who already felt aggrieved at the award of a late Coventry penalty in the first leg, should have levelled at 2-2 in the second half.

Forte thought he had equalised for the Magpies when he headed in amid a spirited fightback, but his effort was ruled out for offside despite replays showing he had been onside.

Moments later, Biamou appeared to be in an offside position in the build-up to his second goal of the night, adding to Notts' growing frustration.

Those two incidents came after Coventry keeper Lee Burge had produced a terrific save to deny Jon Stead from close range on 64 minutes.

The hosts had been starkly second best for the opening 40 minutes, as Coventry carved out numerous early chances, but McNulty fired over before seeing a well-struck low shot saved by Adam Collin.

Mark Robins' Coventry, who finished sixth - two points behind Notts - secured a second trip to Wembley inside 14 months, while Notts' wait for a first appearance at the rebuilt Wembley goes on.

Nolan's side will face a fourth consecutive year of League Two football, as Coventry bid for an immediate return to the third tier, from which they were relegated in 2017.

The Sky Blues were the only side in this season's English Football League play-offs to progress to a final having played their second leg away from home.

Notts County manager Kevin Nolan told BBC Radio Nottingham:

"I'm gutted. I feel aggrieved. There's been three massive decisions made by the referees over the last two games.

"They cost us last Saturday and they've cost us again tonight. They've dropped two clangers.

"Lady luck was not on our side. Coventry came here and played well but we had momentum when that goal was disallowed. And he was a yard onside.

"If we'd got it back to 2-2 on the night, it would have been a different story."

Sky Blues manager Mark Robins told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire:

"I'm being asked about controversy but I think that's a bit unfair. It's something that's rankling with them but I reckon our performance deserved it.

"Before this, every single team who have played at home second has got through, so I'm absolutely delighted. I really feel like we were well worth it over the two legs

"Notts County are a tough side. Kevin Nolan has really done an amazing job here. But we were brilliant. My front two ran themselves silly and the goals we scored were outstanding.

"We're now just one step away from getting back to the position we lost last year and we'll be going all out to get back at the first attempt."

Line-ups

Notts County

  • 1Collin
  • 2TootleBooked at 16mins
  • 5Duffy
  • 16BrisleyBooked at 45mins
  • 23Jones
  • 7AlessandraBooked at 31minsSubstituted forAmeobiat 78'minutes
  • 4Hewitt
  • 18NobleSubstituted forO'Connorat 45'minutes
  • 10Grant
  • 14Forte
  • 30Stead

Substitutes

  • 6Virtue-Thick
  • 8O'Connor
  • 9Ameobi
  • 17Smith
  • 24Milsom
  • 25Hall
  • 34Fitzsimons

Coventry

  • 1Burge
  • 2Grimmer
  • 4Willis
  • 15Hyam
  • 3Stokes
  • 30Bayliss
  • 6Kelly
  • 8DoyleBooked at 24mins
  • 26Shipley
  • 10McNultyBooked at 45minsSubstituted forPonticelliat 90'minutes
  • 9BiamouSubstituted forClarke-Harrisat 74'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5McDonald
  • 13O'Brien
  • 17Maguire-Drew
  • 18Clarke-Harris
  • 27Barrett
  • 32Reid
  • 38Ponticelli
Referee:
Darren Drysdale
Attendance:
17,615

Match Stats

Home TeamNotts CountyAway TeamCoventry
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home10
Away15
Shots on Target
Home4
Away7
Corners
Home4
Away5
Fouls
Home12
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Notts County 1, Coventry City 4.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Notts County 1, Coventry City 4.

Jonson Clarke-Harris (Coventry City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Daniel Jones (Notts County).

Foul by Jordan Ponticelli (Coventry City).

Jorge Grant (Notts County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Jordan Ponticelli (Coventry City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Attempt missed. Jordan Shipley (Coventry City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jack Grimmer.

Corner, Coventry City. Conceded by Adam Collin.

Attempt saved. Jack Grimmer (Coventry City) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jordan Ponticelli.

Substitution

Substitution, Coventry City. Jordan Ponticelli replaces Marc McNulty.

Attempt saved. Jordan Shipley (Coventry City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Tom Bayliss.

Attempt missed. Shola Ameobi (Notts County) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Michael O'Connor.

Goal!

Goal! Notts County 1, Coventry City 4. Tom Bayliss (Coventry City) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Dominic Hyam.

Corner, Notts County. Conceded by Lee Burge.

Offside, Coventry City. Jonson Clarke-Harris tries a through ball, but Marc McNulty is caught offside.

Marc McNulty (Coventry City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Daniel Jones (Notts County).

Corner, Coventry City. Conceded by Matt Tootle.

Attempt saved. Jonathan Forte (Notts County) header from very close range is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jorge Grant with a cross.

Corner, Notts County. Conceded by Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Substitution

Substitution, Notts County. Shola Ameobi replaces Lewis Alessandra.

Corner, Coventry City. Conceded by Lewis Alessandra.

Substitution

Substitution, Coventry City. Jonson Clarke-Harris replaces Maxime Biamou.

Goal!

Goal! Notts County 1, Coventry City 3. Maxime Biamou (Coventry City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marc McNulty.

Offside, Notts County. Richard Duffy tries a through ball, but Shaun Brisley is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Richard Duffy (Notts County) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Daniel Jones with a cross following a set piece situation.

Foul by Chris Stokes (Coventry City).

Lewis Alessandra (Notts County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Corner, Notts County. Conceded by Dominic Hyam.

Offside, Notts County. Jon Stead tries a through ball, but Jonathan Forte is caught offside.

Corner, Notts County. Conceded by Lee Burge.

Attempt saved. Jon Stead (Notts County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Shaun Brisley with a headed pass.

Foul by Jordan Shipley (Coventry City).

Michael O'Connor (Notts County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Michael Doyle (Coventry City) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Maxime Biamou (Coventry City) because of an injury.

Delay in match Richard Duffy (Notts County) because of an injury.

Maxime Biamou (Coventry City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

goal

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