Chesterfield v Notts County: National League playoff final – live | Soccer
A few more things to tick off the bingo card: giant foam hands, homemade flags, massive bucket hats and Mr Whippy ice creams. Football in the sunshine, you just can’t beat it.
As Wembley begins to fill out, the warm-ups get under way. Nervous tension, anyone?
In case you haven’t read it already, here’s Ben Fisher’s interview with Jones, County’s playoff semi-final hero, who has spent much of the last week rewatching his winning goal. And why not?
With a little under an hour to go until kick off, Wembley Way is chock full of Chesterfield and Notts County fans. If you had novelty clown wigs, streaky face paint and jingly jester hats on your National League playoff final bingo card, please cross them off.
Notts County team news
Starting XI: Slocombe, Cameron, Baldwin, Rawlinson, Chicksen, Nemane, Bostock, Palmer, Austin, Rodrigues, Langstaff.
Chesterfield team news
Starting XI: Fitzsimons, King, Palmer, Grimes, Clements, Jones, Oldaker, Mandeville, Dobra, Colclough, Dallas.
After amassing a huge 107 points over the course of the regular season only to be outpaced over the final stretch by Wrexham’s star-studded locomotive, Notts County flirted with the unthinkable in their playoff semi-final against Boreham Wood. Their opponents, who finished 35 points behind them across 46 games, had a commanding 2-0 lead at half-time, leaving County to face the miserable prospect of having broken the National League’s previous record points total – 105, for those asking – without getting promoted.
In the end, two goals from Aden Baldwin – including an equaliser in the sixth minute of injury time – and a winner from Jodi Jones in the last minute of extra time handed them the most dramatic comeback imaginable. They will be keen not to make such hard work of it when they face Chesterfield, who finished a mere 23 points behind them, at Wembley this afternoon.
Chesterfield, who edged Bromley in a similarly chaotic semi-final, are no lightweights, taking a point at Meadow Lane back in August but losing 2-1 to County at home. Luke Williams, the County manager, has urged his side not to make the same mistakes again, saying: “We have to use the game [against Boreham Wood] as a lesson for us to be completely focused – not to be distracted by the atmosphere and what’s at stake.
“[My message is] don’t have these thoughts entering your mind when you still have a job to do. I feel that’s going to be crucial for the final.”