Notts County PROMOTED to League Two after dramatic penalty shootout win over Chesterfield after tactical masterstroke | The Sun

NOTTS COUNTY will resume their unique rivalry with Wrexham in League Two next season after winning a dramatic penalty shootout 4-2 in the Vanarama National League Promotion Final.

The Magpies twice came from behind to draw level with Chesterfield at 2-2 after 120 minutes in front of 38,000 fans at Wembley.

And then substitute Cedwyn Scott scored the winning spot-kick to end the North Derbyshire men’s four-year exile from the Football League.

Yet credit should go to substitute goalkeeper Archie Mair, who was brought on with just 30 SECONDS left of the contest and then saved TWO penalties at the end.

Those heroics saved the blushes of John Bostock, the former Crystal Palace and Tottenham wonder boy, who could have won it earlier but his Panenka-style penalty hit the crossbar instead.

After the match, Bostock joked to BT Sport: "I thought it was crossbar challenge.


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"I thought that was it, if I scored that we’d have been celebrating.

"But Cedwyn Scott missed a penalty against Wrexham and he took us up today, so I’m relieved."

For the neutrals, this was probably the right result given that County amassed 107 points and scored 117 goals and yet ended up missing out on automatic promotion to Wrexham.

There was no sign of Wrexham’s Hollywood duo Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney at the national stadium despite rumours they may have made a transatlantic trip to support County.

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But the side that went toe-to-toe, neck-and-neck with Wrexham until the final day will now be able to celebrate and prepare for life in the fourth tier of English football.

It was only on Wednesday May 3 that the County members of staff attended the funeral of CEO Jason Turner, who died suddenly in March at the age of 50.

There was a flag of Turner’s face in the upper tier of Wembley and this result was dedicated in his honour.

In a manic opening five minutes as County goalkeeper Sam Slocombe experienced a nightmare start to this showpiece occasion.

Not even 120 seconds had elapsed when Slocombe carelessly gave away an indirect free-kick inside his own penalty area for mucking up a routine goal-kick.

Former Blackpool stopper Slocombe, 34, was rightly penalised for touching the ball TWICE in a moment of panic – he should have lumped it long or straight to a teammate first time.

That act of stupidly was not punished because Chesterfield’s Jeff King was unable to squeeze his shot past the wall of 11 County players positioned on the goal line.

Yet only a few minutes later, Slocombe had another rush of blood to the head, conceding a penalty when he brought down Andrew Dallas.

Calm and as composed as you like, the Scottish striker dispatched the spot-kick with supreme confidence, firing it straight down the middle for his seventh goal in six matches.

County were understandably shell-shocked by this awful beginning and it took time for them to establish any rhythm in their play.

All the Chesterfield attacks came down their left flank as they exploited the defensive vulnerability of undisciplined County right wing-back Aaron Nemane, who all too often was caught upfield.

County went close on 67 minutes through a free-kick driven in from near the touchline but the glancing header by Connell Rawlinson flew a foot wide of the post.

All looked lost for County until the 87th minute when Bostock was celebrating a moment of opportunism.

The 31-year-old with the bleached blonde Mohawk saw his 25-yad free-kick squirm under the body of Chesterfield No.1 Ross Fitzsimons.

It was another goalkeeper howler and this meant the contest required extra-time – just like both of the semi-finals had.

However, just two minutes into the additional period of 30 minutes and Armando Dobra scored one of the best goals of his life.

When he received the ball, the only thing on his mind was shooting and he managed to guide his effort, thanks to a slight deflection, beyond the reach of Slocombe.

Dobra made a point of running all the way to the dugout to embrace his former Ipswich manager Cook, whose mum Eileen had brought along one his late dad’s beloved Liverpool scarves as a memento.

Predatory forward Macaulay Langstaff may have scored an astonishing 42 league goals this campaign – all from open play – but he had a quiet day, having been starved of service and seeing no decent deliveries from the flanks.

And Chesterfield captain Jamie Grimes – who had been accidentally injured in the pitch invasion that followed the semi-final win over Bromley – can be credited for producing a superb marshalling role.

When Langstaff’s big moment arrived in extra time, he uncharacteristically scuffed his strike and the ball bounced wide.

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Ruben Rodrigues, who takes the penalties instead of Langstaff, sent the tie to a penalty shootout as his scuffed shot bounced into the turf and then up and over Fitzsimons for the equaliser.

This was a cruel way for either side to be denied promotion but for County, having been in the shade of Wrexham, it ended up being a Hollywood-style ending.

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