Portsmouth and Salford City are both heading to the National Stadium for a second consecutive year and will meet in the capital for the 2020 Leasing.com Trophy Final. Here’s what you may have missed from the Semi-Finals.
Portsmouth 3-2 Exeter City
Three goals in less than ten minutes sent Fratton Park wild as Portsmouth sealed their return to Wembley Stadium for the second consecutive season.
All five goals at Fratton Park were scored beyond the 78th minute, as there was nothing between the two sides for much of the game. Twice Exeter City took the lead as they looked to get past the holders and reach the final of the EFL Trophy for the first time in their history. But two spirited comebacks and a last-gasp winner from Pompey denied the Grecians such chance.
Jake Taylor’s goal was cancelled out by Marcus Harness, before a Christian Burgess own goal looked to be sending the League Two through. However a stoppage-time equaliser from Quarter-Final Player of the Round Cameron McGeehan drew the home side level and the game looked to be going to penalties. But Kenny Jackett’s side weren’t done there. Substitute John Marquis popped up at the back post to head home a last minute winner, causing Fratton Park to erupt.
Pompey head to Wembley to defend the trophy and in doing so, become the first side to reach back-to-back finals in the competition.
Newport County 0-0 Salford City*
*Salford City win 6-5 on penalties
Over in South Wales, Newport County took on League Two counterparts Salford City at Rodney Parade. Both sides are no strangers to Wembley having featured there in the Play-Offs for their respective divisions last season, neither though have had their hands on the EFL Trophy before.
Neither side was able to break the deadlock in 90 minutes and, despite Newport’s dominance in the second half, Michael Flynn’s side could not find a way past the Salford City defence who stood strong all evening.
With penalties required Salford City looked confident, scoring their first four from the spot. Tristan Abrahams missed Newport’s third spot kick but Brandon Thomass-Asante had his - and Salford’s fifth, saved by Tom King. James Wilson then converted for Salford, putting the pressure on Ryan Innis who couldn’t find the net, securing victory for the Ammies - not a bad way for Graham Alexander to celebrate his 100th game in charge.
The North West side have fond memories of Wembley after beating AFC Fylde there just last season to secure promotion to the EFL. Now they look to lift the Leasing.com Trophy for the first time on their return to the National Stadium.
The Final will be played on Sunday 5 April 2020, kick-off time will be confirmed in due course.