Exeter 0 Northampton 4 — Stunning Cobblers' night of promotion glory at Wembley
Northampton Town fans are celebrating after a 4-0 Wembley win over Exeter in the League Two play-off final capped a stunning promotion push.
First-half goals by Ryan Watson and Callum Morton put Cobblers in charge in front of an empty Wembley.
Sam Hoskins and sub Andy Williams made it a fantastic four in the final ten minutes against ten-man Exeter City, punching the club's ticket to League One next season.
Hero Morton, 20, said: "It couldn't have gone any better. We've played out of our skins and now we're in League One.
"Nobody have us a chance in the play-offs. But we always have belief that we're a match for any team in this league. We're quietly confident but not in an arrogant way, we've just gone about our jobs and got our just rewards."
Keith Curle's side scraped into the play-offs, then pulled off a stunning comeback win in the semi-final against Cheltenham.
But they made dream start in the final when Watson fired them in front on 11 minutes and Morton made it 2-0 19 minutes before half-time.
Exeter midfielder Dean Moxey was sent off for a late lunge on Watson just before the hour before top-scorer Hoskins hit his 12th goal of the season and Williams got the fourth with his first touch.
Read James Heneghan's Wembley blog, big-match report, reaction, ratings and everything else you need to read on a great night for Cobblers HEREBoss Curle, who was appointed with the club struggling in League Two in October 2018, said: "You've got have belief in what you do and we've got a group of players and a club that believes in what we do.
"We have an identity and had to make sure we didn't divert away from that.
"From the day I came in when we were third-bottom in the division, we set about putting a plan in place and everyone — the chairman Kelvin Thomas, the staff and the players — everyone has stuck by that.
"We, the players and the staff are a extremely proud to play for this club and the supporters are a massive part of that. "
Curle was showered in Champagne as he conducted post-match TV interviews on the pitch. But, when asked how he planned to celebrate the 56-year-old said: "I'm going to go home have hot chocolate and watch the game back, that's what I do."
Morton's goal was the rookie striker's eighth in just 12 appearances on loan from West Brom — including two in that stunning comeback win at Cheltenham when Cobblers overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit to win the semi-final 3-2 on aggregate.
The youngster admitted: "On a personal level, I've always seen myself scoring goals and I've come here in League Two and proved myself to everyone. I've got another year on my contract at West Brom so I've just got to see where that takes me."
Cobblers overcame the loss of midfielder schemer Nicky Adams with a hamstring problem on the half-hour. But Morton’s goal less than 30 seconds later settled the nerves.
Adams, 33, said: “I did my hamstring towards the end in the semi-final. I thought I’d be alright but I felt something.
“But it’s not about me. What a night for everyone at the club. What a top set of boys, I’m over the moon for them and I’m delighted for the manager.
“No-one fancied us. Everyone was laughing at us after the first leg of the semi-final saying we weren’t very good and shouldn’t have been in the play-offs anyway.
“Well, we’re laughing now.”