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Newport County or Tranmere Rovers?

25 May 2019

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Tranmere Rovers and Newport County will face each other this afternoon in the Sky Bet League Two play-off final as the two sides aim to join The Imps, MK Dons and Bury in Sky Bet League One next season.

Since reforming in 1999, Newport County AFC are yet to reach England's third tier having won promotion to the Football League under their current name in 2013.

Rovers, however, are no strangers to the higher reaches of the Football League, having spent the majority of the 1990s and 2000s in the now-named Sky Bet Championship and Sky Bet League One.

Now managed by Micky Mellon, Tranmere won promotion back to the EFL through the National League play-offs last season, and will be looking to become the first League Two side to win back-to-back promotions from the Non-League since Bristol Rovers in 2016.

This will be the first of the three play-off final fixtures in the EFL over the course of the weekend, with around 30,000 expected in attendance.

Below, we take a look at recent fixtures against Micky Mellon's and Michael Flynn's sides ahead of their promotion showdown at Wembley Stadium.

Newport County 

The Imps and Newport have seen four strong battles since City's return to the EFL in 2017. 

Following a goalless draw at Rodney Parade in December, the Imps faced Flynn's side at Sincil Bank the following month.

Goals from Matt Rhead, Matt Green and Ollie Palmer secured a 3-1 victory that evening.

The Imps hosted Newport County in December of the title-winning campaign, and raced into a two-goal lead in the opening seven minutes courtesy of John Akinde and Harry Anderson.

Padraig Amond, who scored at Sincil Bank the previous season, pulled one back before the break, but Tom Pett made it 3-1 just past the hour mark to extend City's advantage.

Amond scored his second to make it a nervy final 10 minutes, but the Imps held on for three points ahead of Christmas.

City failed to extend their unbeaten run against The Exiles in the final away game of the 2018/19 season, as Flynn's side won by a goal to nil.

The Imps had already secured the league title, and the victory for the hosts proved crucial in their surge into the Sky Bet League Two play-offs. 

Tranmere Rovers

The Imps are no strangers to Micky Mellon's Tranmere Rovers side having competed fiercely, alongside Forest Green Rovers, for the National League title in the 2016/17 season.

Danny Cowley's side first reached the top of the National League that campaign with a 1-0 win away at Prenton Park in September, as Macauley Bonne slotted home from Terry Hawkridge's cross.

City ensured they would top the National League table at Christmas following a dramatic home win over Rovers at Sincil Bank in the reverse fixture.

Nathan Arnold gave the Imps an early lead in front of more than 6,000 fans, but former Imp Jeff Hughes levelled from the spot soon after.

It wasn't until the 81st minute when Adam Marriott latched onto a through ball to slot past Scott Davies to give The Imps victory.

With Forest Green Rovers joining The Imps in the EFL that campaign courtesy of their play-off success, City had to wait another year to battle with Mellon's side, who won promotion in the National League play-offs in 2018, after beating Bruno Andrade's Boreham Wood in the final.

The Imps were defeated 1-0 in the league fixture in October at Prenton Park, but a goalless draw on Easter Monday at Sincil Bank ensured City would become Sky Bet League Two champions.

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