Saturday 25 May: 3pm
Live on Sky Sports
Both of these clubs have had spells in non-league football in the past decade. Now Newport County take on Tranmere Rovers at Wembley with the winners being promoted to League One. For Tranmere it’d be their second straight promotion if they can get past the Welsh side.
If it’s May then Tranmere must be due a game at Wembley. That’s been the case for the past two years as they lost and then won a National League promotion play-off final. Their first season back in League Two has been a successful one and they are 4/5 (1.8) at Betfred to win promotion for the second season in a row.
Tranmere finished sixth in the main season and were only six points off automatic promotion. A lot of the season had seen them a few places below the final promotion play-off spot. A run of seven straight wins in February and March saw them as high as fifth in the table. Hopes of a top three finish faded as they only won one of their last seven league games.
They still managed to make the play-offs though and beat Forest Green Rovers 2-1 in the semi-finals. The home first leg was won 1-0 with Oliver Banks getting the first-half winner. Forest Green took just 12 minutes to get level in the second leg but a goal 15 minutes later from James Norwood (his 30th of the season) saw them through. He’s 7/5 (2.4) at William Hill to score in this play-off final.
Newport County didn’t just get relegated to non-league football but continued their descent. The 1986/87 season was spent in what we now call League One but ended in relegation. The following season saw them finish bottom and relegated to non-league football. Just as years later would happen to their opponents with successive relegations.
The club’s financial problems led to them being reformed and starting all over again in the Hellenic League. It took them 26 years to secure their return to the Football League. Twice they have finished 22nd in the table and nearly getting relegated again. This season though saw them finish seventh in League Two. There are odds of 1/1 (2.0) at Betfred on them beating promoted this season.
They had to rely on a late charge to get into the play-offs. At one stage they were as low as 15th in the table and not in the top ten with a couple of games to go. They were unbeaten in their last ten league games and avoided defeat in their play-off semi-final against Mansfield Town. Both legs were drawn ending in a penalty shoot-out win for the Welsh side. William Hill will give you 2/1 (3.0) on them winning this play-off final in 90 minutes.
Three of the last four games played between these two clubs have ended in a draw. At Betfred the odds on this match ending level after 90 minutes are 21/10 (3.1).
No major injury problems reported at the time of writing this preview.
Low Scoring Game a Possibililty
The last four games played between Tranmere and Newport have all had under 2.5 goals scored in them. It’s 1/2 (1.5) at William Hill that stat comes up in this game.
Newport County have tended to leave it late to score in recent weeks. Their last two goals have come after the 80th minute. Betfred will give you 11/10 (2.1) on the second half of this game having the most goals.
Play-of finals are often tense affairs with so much at stake. Both of these sides have had their ups and downs and it’s hard to choose between the two teams. James Norwood could be a key player in this game and if Tranmere don’t win promotion, it might be a hard job keeping the 30-goal man. A bet on the game being decided via a penalty shoot-out is 11/2 (6.5) at William Hill