Exeter City have the opportunity to erase memories of their heartbreaking 2017 Sky Bet League Two play-off final defeat to Blackpool at Wembley with the two clubs having been paired in the first round of this season’s Emirates FA Cup.
The Grecians lost 2-0 to The Tangerines in-front of over 23,000 fans at Wembley in May 2017 and the two sides will meet again for the first time since that match at St James Park next month.
The Devon club’s recent record against Blackpool is a poor one with Exeter City having won just once in six meetings with their Emirates FA Cup first round opponents. That victory came over 17-and-a-half years ago when late goals from Gary Birch and Steve Flack handed The Grecians a 2-0 win at St James Park in the old Division Three.
Since that fixture in March 2001, the two clubs have endured very different footballing journeys. Exeter City lost their English Football League status in 2003 and spent five years in the wilderness of non-league football while Blackpool enjoyed a season in the English Premier League in 2010/2011 before tumbling down the divisions.
Off the field, Exeter City continue to be owned by their Supporters’ Trust while long-suffering fans of Blackpool have spent the best part of a decade protesting against the current regime at Bloomfield Road.
With play-off final history and contrasting fortunes both on and off the pitch for these two clubs, there could be more excitement about this tie than what initially meets the eye. The pair are currently separated by just 14 places in the English Football League and there could be little between them when they meet at St James Park next month.