The League 2 Play-Off Battle

Jacob Walstow

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The League 2 Play-Off Battle

The final day of the League 2 season was arguably the most dramatic ever seen. Bristol Rovers' 7-0 win was the stuff of dreams, meaning that Northampton Town join Port Vale, Swindon Town and Manfield Town in the play-offs. Let’s look at each team to see who could achieve promotion to League 1.

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Northampton Town Promotion Odds: 11/4

After last year’s relegation from League 1, it looked all but certain that the Cobblers would be making an instant return to the third tier of English Football. A 3-1 away win at Barrow on the last day of the season should have been enough as well, but fate struck and Northampton was confined to the play-offs.

Northampton comes into the play-offs having the joint best form in League 2, collecting 17 points from their last 8 games, including winning four of their last five games.

Defensively, no team has done better in League 2 this year, with Northampton conceding just 38 goals in 46 league games. Their firepower or lack of it can sometimes cost the Cobblers, however, with their 60 goals only the 11th best in the league and worse of all the teams in the play-offs.

When Northampton travelled to the One Call Stadium just over a month ago, Jon Brady’s side was unable to achieve a result, losing 1-0.

If Northampton are to go up through the play-offs, as they did two seasons ago, it will be through their defensive resilience.

Sky Bet League Two Promotion Odds 21/22

skybet betting tip

NORTHAMPTON TOWN @ 11/4

Port Vale Promotions Odds: 5/2

Port Vale looked on course for an automatic promotion place and a return to League 1 since 2017 with just four games to go. Three defeats on the bounce, however, meant that a final day victory over already promoted Exeter City guaranteed the Staffordshire side a play-off spot.

It has been a remarkable turnaround for Vale, who only won one of their opening six games, as it looked like a relegation battle was on the cards and not a promotion push.

Vale’s excellent away form is the catalyst for this success in League 2, achieving just as many points on the road as they did at Vale Park (39). Their semi-final with Swindon Town could be decided on who wins the away leg by the most goals, with both sides having fantastic away form.

Darrell Clarke’s return to the dugout after taking time off due to a family bereavement had a full effect at St James’ park with that win over Exeter City. Port Vale fans will be hoping that the return of their manager will lead the team back to League 1.

Sky Bet League Two Promotion Odds 21/22

skybet betting tip

PORT VALE @ 5/2

Swindon Town Promotion Odds: 5/2

It’s been a crazy season for Swindon town. New owners, FA Cup ties against the champions of England. Now, the former Premier League side has the chance of an instant return to League 1.

As aforementioned, Swindon’s away form has been mighty in the League 2 campaign. So great have Swindon been on their travels that no other team has achieved more points away from home than the Robins (43). This is nine more points than the team has picked up at the County Ground.

Ben Garner’s side has blown away the opposition at times this season with their fantastic offensive record. Their tally of 77 goals couldn’t be beaten by anyone else in the league. This is in part thanks to the goalscoring exploits of Harry McKirdy, whose 20 goals were the third-best in the league and best of any player competing in the playoffs.

Winning four games on the bounce, Swindon will have all the confidence that they can find themselves at Wembley and compete for the chance of promotion.

Sky Bet League Two Promotion Odds 21/22

skybet betting tip

SWINDON TOWN @ 5/2

Mansfield Town Promotion Odds: 5/2

The fact that Mansfield Town is even in the playoffs is a credit to how Nigel Clough has turned his team around. Winning just two of their opening 14 games, the Stags were staring down the barrel of an unthinkable return to the National League.

Their form in the 32 games since then however is unbeatable by any team in the league, with their 66 points in this time period helping Mansfield achieve a playoff spot.

Goalscoring has not been a problem for Mansfield lately either, scoring at least two goals in six of their last seven games. The loan signing of Matty Longstaff from Newcastle and the work of Stephen McLaughlin have helped with this, contributing almost half of the goals in this time period.

The fans know that they face a tough battle against Northampton Town in the semi-finals, but boasting the second-best home record in League 2 with 49 points, the first leg could make all the difference and help fire Mansfield back to League 1 for the first time since 2003.

Sky Bet League Two Promotion Odds 21/22

skybet betting tip

MANSFIELD TOWN @ 5/2

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