As it happened: Exeter City 3-1 Colchester United (3-2 agg)
Photo by Adam Millington/VAVEL UK


20:522 years ago

Match report

Get the verdict on the game from Sam Jones here
19:512 years ago

That's it from us as Exeter book their place at Wembley next Monday in extra time. 

To find out who they will face, follow our updates from the second semi-final between Cheltenham and Northampton here

19:492 years ago

FULL-TIME! Exeter 3-1 Colchester

An absorbing contest saw Exeter fight from a first leg deficit and Colchester roar back to level, and the Grecians have finally won it in extra time.

Ryan Bowman’s calm finish secured a third play-off final in four years for Exeter.

19:472 years ago

120+1’ Exeter nip the ball back, Williams takes it down the other end of the field and that should be that...

19:462 years ago

120’ The free kick is cleared and there is one added minute.

19:452 years ago

120’ Colchester free kick in the final minute, and some pushing means it will be retaken after a yellow card is shown to Eastman.

19:442 years ago

119’ Final throw of the dice for Colchester, Poku is replaced by Cowan-Hall.

19:432 years ago

118’ Williams is still full of energy as he sprints inside from the right but his strike is inaccurate.

19:412 years ago

116’ Bowman has another chance from a Williams chip, but Prosser throws himself in front of it to keep Colchester in the game.

19:402 years ago

115’ Colchester did so well to battle back into this but now they’re back behind - can they regather again with time running out? Possession is all with Exeter at the moment.

19:382 years ago

GOAL! Exeter 3-1 Colchester

111’ Exeter strike! Bowman is played through on goal by Collins past a tiring defence and he slots it brilliantly into the bottom corner on his weaker foot!

19:332 years ago

107’ Richardson takes a knock to the head early in this final period but he’ll be okay.

19:302 years ago

HALF-TIME: Exeter 2-1 Colchester

Still level on aggregate after 15 minutes of extra time. Will either side find another goal?

19:282 years ago

105’ Welch-Hayes wins a corner in the one added minute. Poku can’t find Nouble in the middle after great skill in the box.

19:102 years ago

FULL-TIME! Exeter 2-1 Colchester

We’re heading for extra time after a thrilling 90 minutes. Exeter were the better side in the first half and were heading through after Richardson’s goal, but Colchester have roared back with Senior levelling the tie.

19:082 years ago

90+4’ Poku blasts another shot which Atangana blocks, before a foul which should end normal time.

19:072 years ago

90+3’ Prosser attacks a Bramall corner but can’t steer it on target.

19:062 years ago

90+2’ Poku plays the ball over the top for Robinson and his shot from wide is blocked for a Colchester corner.

19:052 years ago

90’ Four minutes before it goes to extra time...

19:052 years ago

89’ Big chance to win it! Colchester break and Poku is played in on goal by Robinson, but Maxted flies out to make a brilliant save!

19:022 years ago

88’ Nouble fires in a rasping shot from wide on the left and Maxted has to be sharp to get down and parry.

19:012 years ago

87’ Sweeney fouls Nouble for another Colchester free kick and they then get a throw. Another follows after nice play, they’re looking much the better side now.

19:002 years ago

85’ Senior is fouled by Richardson to give Colchester another opportunity. Bramall strikes the free kick with pace but he’s too far out and wide to trouble the keeper.

18:582 years ago

83’ Some nice play from Exeter around the area and Law takes up a promising position, but his shot is blocked before it has a chance to fly and Gerken collects.

18:562 years ago

82’ Another substitute for the home side as Atangana replaces captain Taylor in midfield.

18:562 years ago

81’ Williams crosses in and Jackson almost heads it into his own goal! Hearts in mouths for a moment but it hits the side netting and nothing comes of the corner.

18:542 years ago

80’ Richardson loses possession and Colchester come forward with Senior finding space and having another go, but this time he fires wide.

18:532 years ago

GOAL! Exeter 2-1 Colchester

78’ Colchester back in it! Bramall overlaps down the left and dinks a teasing cross to the near post, Maxted goes for it and doesn’t do enough, allowing it to fall for sub Senior who knocks it in.

18:512 years ago

76’ Williams and Law combine down the left and the former swipes the ball towards goal where Gerken punches away.

18:492 years ago

75’ Exeter make a change to the attack as well as Seymour replaces Fisher.

18:492 years ago

74’ Neat turn from Nouble who then flashes an effort across goal, before Robinson wins a corner.

18:452 years ago

71’ Change up top for the visitors after that break as Norris is swapped for Robinson.

18:442 years ago

69’ Poku finds Nouble down the left and he works enough space around several bodies to fire a shot in but it’s wide of the target. Time for another drinks break.

18:402 years ago

64’ Stevenson’s free kick for Colchester is cleared and comes to Senior on the right, who whips in a ball which tests Maxted and has to be tipped over.

18:362 years ago

61’ Poku skies a poor effort as Colchester start to chase the game.

18:342 years ago

GOAL! Exeter 2-0 Colchester

58’ Exeter lead the tie! Gerken won’t want to see this again as Richardson’s effort squirms under his body and in. It came after Bowman hit the post with a header from great build-up and a Law cross.

18:322 years ago

57’ Colchester make their first change as Gambin is replaced by Senior, a reversal of the only change to the starting team from the first leg. He’s straight into the action trying to volley Jackson’s cross but Martin clears it.

18:312 years ago

55’ Jackson fouls Richardson in the corner of the pitch. Law crosses to the back post and Sweeney finds some space but can’t hit the target.

18:292 years ago

54’ Nouble makes good run down the left but Williams recovers to challenge at the expense of a corner. The short corner is swung in by Stevenson and cleared.

18:282 years ago

52’ Sweeney finds the overlapping run of Williams and he finds Taylor, who chips the ball from the byline an inch above the head of the leaping Richardson.

18:252 years ago

50’ Bowman is fouled by Stevenson. Law plays Williams down the flank but he intercepted a loose ball with his arm so the free kick goes to Colchester.

18:222 years ago

48’ No changes for either side at half-time but a sharp start from Colchester. Martin gives away a foul but Bramall’s free kick delivery was poor.

18:192 years ago
Exeter get the second half started.
18:062 years ago

HALF-TIME: Exeter 1-0 Colchester

It’s been a far more exciting second leg than first for the neutrals, but only one side will be happy with how it’s gone so far.

Exeter have been a team transformed since Thursday and they’ve looked dangerous every time they come forward. Aaron Martin got them level in the tie and Colchester now have work to do.

18:042 years ago

45+3’ Exeter break at speed through Law and his pass finds Williams, who cuts inside and curls a strike narrowly wide of the post.

18:012 years ago

45+1’ Three minutes have been added on.

18:012 years ago

45’ Pell plays a quality diagonal ball to find Nouble on the left flank, and he wins a Colchester corner. It’s played short and, after a lot of passing, Jackson has an effort from outside the box which is deflected into the hands of Maxted.

17:592 years ago

43’ Jackson’s throw into the Exeter box is cleared and Gambin then has a strike from distance closed down.

17:552 years ago

40’ Poku crosses in from the right and Norris is back up to flick it towards goal but Maxted makes the save. Bowman then receives a booking for a late challenge.

17:542 years ago

39’ A clash of heads between Norris and Sweeney sees play stopped for a moment.

17:522 years ago

36’ Moxey sends a fantastic delivery to the far post and Williams rises above everyone to meet it, but can’t guide it on target from close range.

17:502 years ago

34’ Jackson crosses from the right and Pell controls and attempts the half-volley, but Exeter bodies quickly rush to the midfielder and see the effort blocked.

17:482 years ago

32’ Law has an effort blocked as Exeter move forward, and Williams is then stood up to by Bramall and the chance is well snuffed out.

17:462 years ago

31’ Gambin wins a free kick and fancies his chances when the set piece is cleared to him on the edge of the box. It’s caught pretty well but sails over the bar.

17:452 years ago

29’ Richardson cuts inside from the left but overhits the pass to Bowman in his excitement. Colchester have established a little more control since the short break though.

17:412 years ago

26’ Time for a well-earned drinks break after a busy opening quarter to the match.

17:392 years ago

24’ Williams strikes the free kick sweetly and Gerken flies across his goal to parry it behind for a corner.

17:382 years ago

23’ Bramall leaps for a header and touches it with a hand instead of a head. It’s a free kick and the referee has harshly given him a yellow card too.

17:372 years ago

20’ Some lovely feet from Poku to skip away from a defender and play in Jackson, whose fired cross is parried by Maxted and cleared.

17:342 years ago

18’ It’s still a three/five at the back for Exeter with Richardson playing as left wing-back. More danger as Collins stands a cross up to Fisher but there is nobody in the middle for the forward to knock it back to.

17:322 years ago

16’ Maxted’s hurried clearance falls to Nouble and Colchester have a chance to attack, but a cross from the left to Poku is picked off.

17:302 years ago

13’ Fisher climbs for a header at the back post from Law’s cross and there are some shouts for a penalty, but nothing given.

17:272 years ago

12’ Sweeney fires in another dangerous cross and Gerkin needs a strong hand to punch away. A brilliant start from Exeter, this.

17:262 years ago

GOAL! Exeter 1-0 Colchester

10’ Exeter break the deadlock! Fisher had the first shot saved by Gerkin and a follow-up is blocked but Colchester can’t clear and it falls to defender Martin, who smashes it in to level the tie!

17:242 years ago

8’ Nouble does well to win a win a free kick and from it he has the chance to cross. It was well aimed towards the run of Gambin but Williams came back to make a great challenge.

17:202 years ago

4’ Collins crosses from the right and Bowman is free, the header goes over but he is offside anyway. A much more promising start from Exeter here.

17:182 years ago

2’ Great delivery into the box from Fisher, but the defender does well to put off Bowman and prevent a chance on goal.

17:162 years ago


Colchester get this second leg underway.

17:152 years ago

McGreal expects ‘tight affair’

Colchester manager John McGreal told Sky Sports: “It’ll be like the first leg, it’ll be a tight affair. We know that from the previous games but we’ll focus on what we’re about and try and improve on our performance the other night.”

17:132 years ago

Taylor wants team on ‘front foot’

Exeter boss Matt Taylor told Sky Sports pre-match: “We’ve got to start the game well, start the game on the front foot and play our style of football. Out home form has been good this season and if we can continue that we’ll have a really good chance.”

17:102 years ago

Just five minutes before kick-off in what is an open contest for a place at Wembley.

The onus will be on Exeter as they look to come from behind. Will the formation switch and personnel changes have the desired effect?

16:312 years ago

Exeter’s home hope

“Despite losing in the first leg, Exeter still have reason to come into this game confident about their chances of progression. Throughout the entirety of the League Two season, the Grecians only lost one game at home, with that loss coming to Grimsby in late September. 

Since then, Matt Taylor's side haven't lost at St James Park in their 11 league outings, winning two of their last five. 

Alongside their strong home form, Taylor will have added hope from the fact that the U's haven't won in Exeter since 1998, when they ran out 1-0 winners. In the last five meetings between the two sides at St James Park, the Grecians have won three of them. 

However, when Colchester were the visitors back in January, the game finished 0-0. As they take a 1-0 lead into this fixture, they know that they are simply one more draw away from Wembley.”

Read Sam Jones’ full match preview:

16:272 years ago

Colchester stick with team

Despite concerns for all the teams about fitness in these games, Colchester make just one change to the team which started the win on Thursday.

Luke Gambin replaces Courtney Senior on the left of the attack, in what should again be a 4-2-3-1.

16:252 years ago

Changes for Exeter

There are four changes to the starting line-up for the hosts as they look to overcome a 1-0 deficit.

Jonny Maxted comes in between the posts, Jayden Richardson comes into the defence, Archie Collins into the midfield and Alex Fisher goes up front.

It looks like a possible switch from a five at the back to a 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 as well.

16:222 years ago

Team news

Colchester: Gerken; Jackson, Prosser, Eastman, Bramall; Stevenson, Pell; Poku, Nouble, Gambin; Norris.

Subs: Ross, Lapslie, Sowunmi, Senior, Cowan-Hall, Welch-Hayes, Robinson, Clampin, Chilvers.

16:202 years ago

Team news

Exeter: Maxted; Richardson; Sweeney, Martin, Moxey; Williams, Taylor, Collins, Law; Fisher, Bowman.

Subs: Ward, Parkes, Sparkes, Dickenson, Atangana, Jay, Randall, Ajose, Seymour.

16:152 years ago

An hour to go!

We’re an hour away from kick-off in the first of tonight’s League Two play-off semi-final second legs, as Exeter look to overcome a 1-0 deficit over Colchester.

Team news will come shortly...

13:482 years ago

McGreal still wants improvement

Colchester boss John McGreal told the Daily Gazette: “It’s a little bit of an advantage but we know that it’s going to be another tough game.

“We’ve got to improve on it, there’s no question of it.

“We’re not sitting here thinking the job’s done or half done – we have to improve on that performance.

“It’s just an advantage and we know Matt (Taylor) will have his team raring to go.

“They’re a tough team to beat at their place and they have a good home record so it’s up to us now to improve on that (first leg) performance.

“It’s a long way to Exeter. They had to do a lot of travelling to come here and we’ll have to put that into place as well but it’s a game of football.“

13:462 years ago

Exeter must be ‘more aggressive’

Exeter manager Matt Taylor said after the first leg: “It looks like we will lose Lee (Martin) for Monday night and that is an influential player within the group, but we have got to dust ourselves down.

“The lads that played 90 minutes, full credit to them. However, they are going to be asked to do that again on Monday night and we have got to be a little bit more aggressive with our play and test the opposition back four and goalkeeper a little bit more than we did tonight.

“We had moments in the attacking third but they weren’t sustained and when we are at home we need to sustain those attacks and that will take some pressure off the lads physically and then hopefully then they will make better decisions and move the ball better than they did (on Thursday).”

10:322 years ago

What happened last time

It’s Colchester who come into the game with the slender advantage after Cohen Bramall’s brilliant late free-kick edged a poor, tense game. Exeter failed to register a single shot on target.

Refresh your memory on that game here

10:282 years ago

Team news

Both teams are likely to make some changes having played for the first time in over three months in Thursday’s first leg.

Colchester have no known concerns but Exeter are likely to be without Lee Martin after he came off with a calf injury in the first half last week. Nicky Ajose misses that game and will be assessed for tonight.

10:252 years ago

Wembley the target

Both teams are just one game away from finishing an unprecedented season with a shot at promotion at Wembley.

Exeter lost in the play-off final in both 2017 and 2018, while this season is Colchester’s first play-off appearance since gaining promotion from this league in 1998.

10:182 years ago

Kick-off time

Exeter City vs Colchester United will be played at St James Park, Exeter, with kick-off at 5.15pm.

10:162 years ago


Welcome to’s live coverage of the League Two play-off semi-final second leg between Exeter City and Colchester United. My name is Stephen Ibbetson and I’ll be your host for the game with pre-match analysis, team news and live updates.