Friday, 11 May 2012

Preview: League Two play off semi finals

We continue with previews of this years Football League play off's by looking at League Two and the semi finals that kick off this weekend. The first semi final kicks off tomorrow where we see Crewe Alexandra take on Southend in a late afternoon kick off at Gresty Road. The second semi final follows on Sunday lunchtime where we see the other semi final take place between Cheltenham and Torquay.

#1 Crewe Alexandra  v Southend Utd
Staffordshire side Crewe Alexandra go into the semi final in excellent form having gone the last sixteen league games unbeaten. This run included seven wins and nine draws which saw them claim seventh spot in the league and the last play off place up for grabs. A draw away at Macclesfield on the final day of the season saw them clinch the place ahead of fellow sides Oxford and Gillingham. Opponents for Alex come in the form of Southend who narrowly missed out on an automatic spot to Crawley on the final day of the season. The Essex club come into the play off's unbeaten in the last five conceding no goals. Paul Sturrocks side are aiming to replicate the side of 2004/05 where a Steve Tilson side saw them promoted from a similar position to that of this season. Strikers Freddy Eastwood and Neil Harris give the side much needed experience with Harris having helped former club Millwall to play off success in 2009. The play off tie is Crewe's sixth attempt at promotion from the play off's with their last successful attempt coming in 1997 where they were promoted to the second tier of English football. 

#2 Cheltenham Town v Torquay
Cheltenham Town League Two Play-Off Final Winners
Having narrowly missed out last season to Stevenage in the play off final, Torquay will want to go one better and achieve promotion to League One this time round. However they will need to buck up their ideas this weekend as they go into the semi final having not won in their previous five league games. This poor run ended their chances of automatic promotion after being in second in April. They come up against Cheltenham who are looking to return to League One after playing in League Two for the past three seasons. The Gloucestershire club are on a good run after achieving back to back victories from their last two games of the season. They will go into the tie with good history in the play off's having gained promotion from them in 2002 and 2006 both to League One. Torquay though came out on top in the league's fixtures between the two this season having beaten Cheltenham at Whaddon Road 1-0 and managing a 2-2 draw when they played at home. 

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