The EFL League Two Promotion Playoffs Final will be on Saturday, 25 May 2019, between Tranmere Rovers F.C. and Newport County A.F.C. at Wembley Stadium in London, England. The 7th seeded Exiles of Newport County got past Mansfield Town F.C. on penalties in the semi-final round. Tranmere faced the Forest Green Rovers in the semi-final round, and advanced on a 2-1 aggregate score in the two-legged tie.
Newport County has had an absolute rollercoaster of a season. This is literally a season that they will write books about one day, and I just might be compelled to write it myself. It started well, looked dreadful in the middle, has ended incredibly strong, and included an unlikely deep run in the FA Cup along the way. This journey has included no shortage of penalty shoot-outs, second leg replays, and last second goals. Newport County could literally change their name to TNT the way they know drama. Tranmere, after a relatively mediocre first few months of the season went on a real tear throughout February and March. However, the struggled at the end of the season, winning just one of their last 7 in the regular season. Like Newport, Tranmere also enjoyed a nice start to the FA Cup this year, advancing into the 3rd round before have the back luck of drawing Tottenham Hotspur F.C..
The Exiles from Newport were the team in better form down the stretch, but you can throw all of the our the window after both clubs had emotional victories in the semi-final round. These two battle tested clubs both stand just 90 minutes away from promotion, and the game will be contested on the most famous neutral field in the country. The only thing that would be surprising in this one is if it doesn't come down to the final minutes. Expect to see your fair share of cards in this one too, as neither one of these teams is afraid to play physical, or has anything to lose at this point.
Tranmere Rovers vs Newport County Vital Information
This matches can be viewed on ESPN Plus in the United States, and on SkySports in the UK. The match is at 10:00AM ET/3:00 PM GMT on Saturday, 25 May 2019.
Referee assignments are To Be Determined.
This will be the 27th meeting all time between Newport County A.F.C. and Tranmere Rovers FC. In the previous 26 meetings, Tranmere has won 10 times, Newport County has won 9, and there have been 7 draws. It was a draw in the most recent of those, 0-0, at Rodney Parade in Newport, back on 6 April 2019. (Note: These stats include the original Newport County team the went bankrupt in 1989. There have been 4 meetings since the current incarnation of Newport County began play).
Five Points That Shouldn’t be Overlooked
If Newport County is able to win this game and earn promotion to League One, it would be the highest tier the club has reached since they reformed in 1989. If Tranmere were to win this game it would be the first time they have been as high as the third tied since 2014. They were relegated two years in-a-row, from League One to League Two in 2014, and from League Two to the National League in 2015. This time they are looking for their second promotion in-a-row after earning the jump back up to League Two last season.
Newport County's current run of 12 matches without a loss are the club's longest streak since 1938! During that famous campaign they won the Third Division South, and were promoted to the Second Division for the first time in club history.
Tranmere Rovers striker James Norwood has had a season for the ages with 30, League Two goals on the season. He has been in fine form or late too, with 3 goals in his last 4 matches, including the deciding goal against Forest Green Rovers F.C. in the last round. In addition to scoring, Norwood isn't afraid to get physical either, racking up 10 yellow cards so far this season.
Who else but Padraig Amond scored the only goal of the prior round for Newport. To say that this guy has a knack for the clutch goal would be an understatement. We have documented over and over again just how many big goals that he scored in the FA Cup. Look for him to find a way to put the onion in the bag in this one, and don't be surprised if it is a winner. He might be the best penalty taker currently in League Two as well.
The Tranmere Rovers have not beaten Newport County since 30 April 1988. After that game, the two clubs did not meet again until 16 September 2014. Since then, they have met four times, drawing 3, and Newport getting a 1-0 victory in their match earlier this season on 22 September 2018. The goal by Newport in the September was scored by Fraser Franks in the 5th minute of that game. He is the defender who sadly had to retire in February due to a heart problem.
Tranmere Rovers vs Newport County Prediction
The Exiles made the semi-final round of the playoffs every bit as exciting as predicted, eventually advancing on penalties. For Tranmere, their first round wasn't much easier as they managed to squeak out a 2-1 aggregate victory against a feisty Forest Green Rovers side. The deciding goal scored by who else but Norwood. Both of these teams have talented, veteran strikers who are used to coming up big in big games. I expect that both Norwood and Amond will find a way to get on the board in this one. The difference I believe however, will be the unsung hero of Newport's season, and the guy who game up so big in the penalty shoot-out in that semi-final round, goalkeeper Joe Day. This is a guy who has literally stood on an island at times when Newport has been forced to play aggressively, and had withstood every test. I predicted that The Exiles would not only make the playoffs, but win the promotion all the way back on our 24 March 2019 episode (they were 13th in the table at the time). I see no reason to change that now, and as their hashtag has said on Twitter all season #ourjourneycontinues.
Prediction: Newport County 3 Tranmere Rovers 2