I’m actually beginning to wonder if Wembley Stadium shouldn’t be referred to as the ‘new’ Wembley anymore – Sunday’s JPT final (Sky Sports 3, 2:00pm) is the seventh to be held there.
Before I take a closer look at the game, here’s some facts from the last ten finals:
* Eight have been won by League One sides: six of those victories were over clubs from League Two. The only third tier side that have lost to a fourth tier side were Scunthorpe, who lost to Luton five seasons ago.
* Half of those finals have featured over 2.5 goals but both teams have scored in only four.
* Only three of the last ten have gone to extra time and the last time penalties were needed to decide the outcome was in 1997, when Carlisle beat Colchester on spot kicks. However, three of the seven games between third and four tier clubs needed an extra 30 minutes to find the winner.
* Only two of the last nine winners from the third tier went on to win promotion the following season: Doncaster Rovers and Southampton.
* Three winning clubs have since played at least one season in the Premier League since they triumphed: Blackpool, Swansea and Southampton. At the other end of the scale, Luton and Wrexham have both won the competition since 2004 but are now playing in the Conference. Only three of the last ten winners are currently playing in League One.
* The names of all three of the last winners began with the letter ‘C’ – which I suppose is an omen for Chesterfield!
So basically, if everything follows the pattern above, Peterborough (who I suggested might win the competition in December) should beat Chesterfield by one or two goals to nil but any Posh fans dreaming of promotion next season might want to temper their optimism. It’s a bit early to speculate on this season’s playoffs but there may be grounds for concern about Posh’s chances of promotion this season – but I’ll come to that in a couple of weeks.
It’s been just over six years since Posh and the Spirerites met but the last few meetings don’t really give any clues to Sunday’s outcome other than it’ll be close. In the last ten games both sides have won four each and half of those ten matches were won by the away team: I trawl through a lot of football statistics every season and that’s not a pattern that occurs very often.
Posh have had quite a tough road to the final: they’ve had to beat two of the better sides in League One to get this far. Wins over Brentford and Swindon (on penalties) bookended straightforward looking victories over Newport County and Dagenham & Redbridge but the interesting aspect of their run is that they’ve benefitted from two own goals along the way, which makes Oggie their joint top scorer in the competition this season with Brett Assombalonga and Gavin McCann. On the other hand, Chesterfield – who I might be writing about regularly next season – have only played one League One side on their way to Wembley: they won a penalty shoot out at Oldham in the northern section semi final in December. Their dangerman is Gary Roberts, who has scored ten goals from midfield this season.
I’ll be back at some point on Sunday with the result, but the next scheduled post will probably be next Friday although I am taking an early Easter break with my wife so don’t be too surprised if there’s no post for the next couple of weeks. I quite like the idea of being fully rested for the insanity at the end of the season 😉
Update: congratulations to Peterborough, who won 3-1.