Play-off final defeat 'in the back of Exeter's minds' as they look to derail Cobblers' promotion charge

Matt Taylor.Matt Taylor.
Matt Taylor.
Keith Curle’s Cobblers beat Exeter 4-0 at Wembley two years ago

Exeter City captain Matt Jay admits the heartbreak of his side’s play-off final defeat to Northampton in 2020 will be ‘in the back of our minds’ when they head to Sixfields this weekend.

Town were resounding 4-0 winners at Wembley in one of Exeter’s many near misses over recent seasons, but they have finally got the job done with two games to spare this time around.

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Jay was an unused substitute that day but he’s now skipper and top scorer for the Grecians and is keen to make amends for what went wrong in 2020 by denting Cobblers’ promotion charge.

“It’s a huge game and a tough game and we want to put on a good show and win the game,” said Jay.

"We have had some tough fixtures against Northampton with the lows of Wembley and that’s still in the back of our minds.

"We want to go and show how good we are and we want to take it out of their hands.

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"We have struggled against Northampton but we feel like we can beat them and we will be looking to do that. We always find it difficult there and they play a certain style that doesn’t always suit us but we are aiming to win the game.”

Grecians boss Matt Taylor, however, isn’t interested in what happened two years ago.

"Northampton beat us on that day at Wembley and they fully deserved that victory,” he said. "But that’s irrelevant. It’s the same club but they have a different manager and different players and I won’t be thinking about that whatsoever at the weekend.

"I will be making sure our players are fully focused on the task at hand and they have that game mindset.

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"I know the fans will celebrate and hopefully they stay respectful of Northampton and the opposition fans and stadium and give both teams the reception they deserve.

“We fully respect Northampton and we will have to withstand pressure but hopefully we can more than pack a punch.”

Exeter sealed their promotion against Barrow in midweek but Taylor says they remain determined to finish strong.

“We just want to enjoy these last couple of games but still try and perform at our best,” he added.

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"The players have come into training with a focus in terms of what they want to achieve over the rest of the season.

“We find ourselves level on points with Forest Green with two games to go and all to play for. We look forward to the next couple of weeks but worst case scenario we finish second and that’s still an incredible achievement.

"Opportunities to win the league don’t come around too often so we want to give it our best shot."

On the Cobblers, Taylor continued: "They have had a fantastic season and will be looking to finish it off.

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"It’s a sell-out and it’s a massive game of football. We go there with confidence and in good spirits and we will respect the opposition.

“They beat us back in the home game and they have been strong all season. The manager and the coaching staff there have done a fantastic job with a good group of players.”