Notts County 1-4 Coventry (agg: 2-5): Sky Blues book Wembley date
By Simeon Gholam at Meadow Lane
Last Updated: 23/05/18 8:10am
Max Biamou's double helped secure Coventry's passage to Wembley as they saw off Notts County 4-1 at Meadow Lane to reach the Sky Bet League Two play-off final.
Level at 1-1 on aggregate following the first leg, Biamou and Marc McNulty struck in the first half to put the Sky Blues in control.
Jorge Grant pulled one back for County but Biamou scored again after the break and then Tom Bayliss added another late on to seal a 5-2 aggregate win and book a date with Exeter at the national stadium on May 28.
However, it could have been so different if Jonathan Forte's goal had not been wrongly ruled out for Notts County which would have levelled the tie at 3-3. Added to that, just to rub salt into County's wounds, Biamou's second goal had more than a hint of offside about it too.
Notts County: Collin (5), Tootle (6), Hewitt (6), Alessandra (6), Grant (7), Duffy (4), Forte (6), Brisley (6), Noble (6), Jones (7), Stead (6).
Subs: Ameobi (6), O’Connor (6)
Coventry: Burge (8), Grimmer (7), Willis (7), Hyam (7), Stokes (7), Bayliss (8), Doyle (7), Kelly (8), Shipley (8), McNulty (9), Biamou (9).
Subs: Clark-Harris (7), Ponticelli (7)
Man of the match: Maxime Biamou
It took just six minutes for Coventry to take the lead. The build-up was scrappy as County struggled to clear a corner, but Biamou's overhead kick left Adam Collin with no chance.
Coventry continued to dominate and after 38 minutes they doubled their lead. McNulty, who so coolly netted the all-important equaliser from the penalty spot in the first leg, was just as calm on this occasion as he finished off a fine team move.
County were left with a mountain to climb but on the stroke of half-time, they got a lifeline they barely deserved. Coventry this time were the side guilty of some slack defending as they failed to deal with a long throw into the box, which allowed Grant to arrive at the back post and power the ball past a helpless Lee Burge.
A resurgent County then flew out of the blocks in the second half and should have equalised after 65 minutes as Jon Stead forced Burge into a superb save from just inside the area, and moments later they had the ball in the back of the net, but Forte's effort was ruled out for offside. He looked level.
Any hopes of a comeback, however, were quashed when Biamou notched his second and Coventry's third of the night after 70 minutes. The striker was afforded far too much space to play a one-two with McNulty before placing the ball in the bottom corner.
Bayliss then struck the final blow with a long-range effort five minutes from time, leaving Coventry to prepare for a second trip to Wembley in as many seasons after their Checkatrade Trophy triumph just over a year ago.
Man of the match: Maxime Biamou
He and McNulty ran Notts County in a masterclass of centre-forward play. The rangey striker got the ball rolling with a very skilfully taken overhead kick before wrapping up the tie in equally confident fashion, finishing low into the corner after producing a majestic flick. Exeter will have to be on their guard to stop Biamou - and his partner up top.
Kevin Nolan: "It's nothing down to my players or me, it's down to the people in the middle of the park who you're hoping to trust to get the major decisions right. Awful decisions cost us tonight."
Mark Robins: "I'm delighted to be in the final. The supporters were absolutely magnificent, the club has been through a lot in the last few years and it's really important we turn that around. But we've achieved nothing yet, we've got a lot of work to do between now and then but we'll enjoy tonight."
When's the play-off final?
The Sky Bet League Two play-off final is at Wembley on Monday, May 28, live on Sky Sports Football with kick-off at 3pm.