Colchester 1-0 Exeter | Northampton 0-2 Cheltenham

          Bramall bags stunner as Colchester & Cheltenham take play-off leads

          2020/06/18 23:28
          By Connor Andrews
          E0

          Cohen Bramall scored the first goal in the EFL’s return to action, as his sneaky but beautifully struck free-kick gave his Colchester side the upper hand in the League Two play-offs, before a victorious Cheltenham got in on the action shortly after.

          In a hard-fought encounter, low on clear-cut chances, Colchester traded blows with Exeter City with both sides pulling out thunderous blocks to thwart their opposition.

          And just as it was looking like the first-leg meeting was going to end goalless at the JosServe Community Stadium, Colchester’s  set piece specialist, Cohen Bramall, placed the ball out far-wide on the right of the box. 

          The left back then crept in a perfectly struck dead ball just inside the near post for an 81st minute lead, fooling not only every player crowded the box, but crucial Exeter’s Lewis Ward who conceded the goals only game.

          And much like we’ve seen across Europe in many other league’s returning to action, a cagey first game of a double header is quickly followed by a thriller, this time between Northampton and Cheltenham.

          ©Getty / Marc Atkins

          Northampton, despite finishing three places behind Cheltenham in the League Two table, showed no signs of nervousness as a botched clearance from Ryan Broom took down the Cobbler’s Michael Harriman for a penalty with just 15 minutes played.

          Ryan Watson deputised for the suspended Sam Hoskins, but blasted his spot kick low and into the arms of Owen Evans to end Northampton’s early momentum.

          And just 10 minutes later, up popped Cheltenham’s Charlie Raglan to flick home a Jake Doyle-Hayes corner for the opener. 

          Northampton didn’t give up though, and a superbly worked long-range James Olayinka effort drew another huge save from Evans, before he was called into action once more stopping Vadine Oliver from point blank range, who took hours to turn and hit a wasted chance.

          And with four minutes to play, Conor Thomas put the game, and possibly the tie, to bed, sweeping home for a 2-0 win after pinball in the Northampton box.

          The second legs will be played on Monday evening, with Exeter vs Colchester again in the 17:15 slot, followed by Cheltenham hosting Northampton at 8pm.

          ©Getty / David Rogers


           

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