2020 National League play-off Final
The match took place at Wembley Stadium.
Event2019–20 National League
Date2 August 2020 (2020-08-02)
VenueWembley Stadium, London
RefereeJames Bell
Attendance0[a]
2019
2021

The 2020 National League play-off Final , known as the Vanarama National League Promotion Final for sponsorship reasons, was a football match contested between Harrogate Town and Notts County to determine the second and final team to gain promotion from the National League to EFL League Two. It was played on 2 August 2020 at Wembley Stadium in London.[1] The first-placed team of the 2019–20 National League season (Barrow) gained automatic promotion to the League Two, while the teams placed from fourth to seventh in the table took part in play-off quarter-finals and teams placed second and third received byes to the semi-finals. The winners of the quarter-finals advanced to play the teams in the semi-finals and the winners of these semi-finals competed for the final place in League Two. The match was refereed by James Bell and played behind closed doors to comply with restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Harrogate Town took the lead in the fifth-minute with a goal from George Thomson and 23 minutes later Connor Hall doubled the lead. The first half ended with Harrogate leading 2–0. In a minute of the second half Notts County halved the deficit with a free-kick from Callum Roberts, but a goal on 70 minutes from Jack Diamond restored Harrogate's two-goal advantage which they maintained to the final whistle, winning 3–1 to earn promotion to League Two and the English Football League for the first time in their history.[2][3][4]

Route to the final

National League final table, leading positions[5]
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts PPG
1 Barrow 37 21 7 9 68 39 +29 70 1.89
2 Harrogate Town 37 19 9 9 61 44 +17 66 1.78
3 Notts County 38 17 12 9 61 38 +23 63 1.66
4 Yeovil Town 37 17 9 11 61 44 +17 60 1.62
5 Boreham Wood 37 16 12 9 55 40 +15 60 1.62
6 Halifax Town 37 17 7 13 50 49 +1 58 1.57
7 Barnet 35 14 12 9 52 42 +10 54 1.54

Main article: 2019–20 National League

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National League season was temporarily suspended on 13 March.[6] Two weeks later this suspension was extended indefinitely.[7] On 22 April, clubs in National League, the fifth tier of the English football league system, voted to curtail the season, meaning the final table would be calculated by a points-per-game method.[8] The play-offs would then be played between the clubs finishing second to seventh as normal.

Harrogate Town finished the season in second place in the revised league table, one place ahead of Notts County. Both therefore missed out on the one automatic place for promotion to EFL League Two, which went to Barrow. This meant Harrogate Town, Notts County, Yeovil Town (who finished fourth), Boreham Wood (fifth), Halifax Town (sixth) and Barnet (seventh) took part in the play-offs to determine the second promoted team. Harrogate Town and Notts County received byes to the semi-finals to face the winners of the quarter-finals. The winners of the quarter-finals were Boreham Wood, who beat Halifax Town 2–1,[9] and Barnet, who beat Yeovil Town 2–0.[10]

Harrogate Town's opponents in their play-off semi-final were Boreham Wood, the match being played on 25 July 2020 at Wetherby Road, Harrogate. Jack Muldoon scored the only goal of the game with a header on the 64th-minute and Harrogate progressed to the final.[11] Notts County faced Barnet in the other play-off semi-final, the match taking place on the same day as the other on 25 July 2020 at Meadow Lane, Nottingham. A goal either side of half time, first a header from Kristian Dennis in the 37th-minute and one from Callum Roberts in the 59th, meant Notts County won 2–0 and they qualified for the final.[12]

Match

Details

Harrogate Town3–1Notts County
Report
Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 50.173[a]
Referee: James Bell
Harrogate Town
Notts County
GK 1 England James Belshaw
DF 22 England Josh Windass
DF 6 Scotland Darryl Leesley
DF 4 England Joe Leesley
DF 22 England Will Smith
DF 62 England Connor Wickham Yellow card 59'
MF 7 England George Thomson0
MF 17 England Lloyd Kerry Yellow card 83'
FW 25 England Aaron Martin Substituted off 61'
FW 18 England Jack Muldoon Substituted off 86'
FW 23 England Jack Diamond
Substitutes:
GK 13 England Joe Cracknell
MF 8 England Jack Emmett
MF 11 United States Luke Garrett
FW 9 Scotland Mark Beck Substituted in 86'
FW 16 England Jon Stead Substituted in 61'
FW 28 England Kian Harratt
Manager:
England Simon Weaver
GK 1 England Sam Slocombe
DF 5 England Ben Turner
DF 20 England Richard Brindley Substituted off 87'
DF 31 England Alex Lacey
DF 33 England Joel Bagan Yellow card 27'
MF 4 England Mitch Rose
MF 6 Republic of Ireland Jim O'Brien Substituted off 46'
MF 8 Republic of Ireland Michael Doyle
FW 9 England Kristian Dennis Substituted off 46'
FW 14 England Kyle Wootton
FW 37 England Callum Roberts Yellow card 53'
Substitutes:
GK 40 England McDonnell
DF 13 Wales Connell Rawlinson
DF 16 England Dion Kelly-Evans Substituted in 87'
MF 22 England Tom Crawford
FW 7 England Wes Thomas Substituted in 46'
FW 11 Netherlands Enzio Boldewijn Substituted in 46'
Manager:
England Neal Ardley

Notes

  1. ^ a b The final was played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.

References

  1. ^ "National League: Play-off schedule confirmed for three divisions". BBC Sport. 4 July 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  2. ^ Harris, Daniel (2 August 2020). "Harrogate Town 3–1 Notts County: National League play-off final – as it happened". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  3. ^ Jones, Mark (2 August 2020). "Harrogate Town promoted to Football League for first time with play-off victory". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  4. ^ Krishnan, Joe (2 August 2020). "Harrogate Town promoted to League Two for first time in 106-year history after play-off win vs Notts County". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Vanarama National League Table". National League. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Premier League and EFL suspended until after April 3 due to coronavirus outbreak". The Telegraph. 13 March 2020.
  7. ^ Cunningham, Sam (25 March 2020). "Non-league season ends but clubs face confusion over what happens next". i. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  8. ^ "National League clubs to vote on ending season using points per game". BBC Sport. 13 June 2020. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  9. ^ "Boreham Wood 2–1 FC Halifax Town". BBC Sport. 17 July 2020. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  10. ^ "Yeovil Town 0–2 Barnet: Bees reach National League semi-finals". BBC Sport. 18 July 2020. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Harrogate Town 1–0 Boreham Wood". BBC Sport. 2 August 2020. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Notts County 2–0 Barnet". BBC Sport. 2 August 2020. Retrieved 2 August 2020.