2023/24 League Two Play-Offs

Who's winning the play-offs?

  • MK Dons

    Votes: 31 39.2%
  • Doncaster Rovers

    Votes: 31 39.2%
  • Crewe Alex

    Votes: 7 8.9%
  • Crawley Town

    Votes: 10 12.7%

  • Total voters
    79
  • Poll closed .

JJ1990

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I hope I haven't stolen Alfie's thunder on this one, but I thought it was worth starting a thread up. So, who you got coming out of these 4 teams?

MK Dons
The Dons probably could have gone up automatically had they gone for Mike Williamson last summer rather than wasting 10 odd games under Graham Alexander, who was the never the right fit for them. They've been in excellent form since Williamson came in, going 19-5-9 under him. They've undoubtedly for me got the best midfield out of the 4 teams. Gilbey, Payne, Kemp and Bate are an absurd group. Also got Max Dean in great form as well, with dangerous depth behind him in Tezgel, Harrison and Dennis(if he's fit). The big question marks will be over their defence, as they let in 68 goals, including 19 in their last 7 games.

At home, they'll be tough to knock off, having only lost twice under Williamson. But away from home, they could be vulnerable, as they are prone to a few wobblers. I'd still have them as the slight favourites to get promoted, but their play-off curse is real and it might come back to haunt them once again.

Doncaster Rovers
The most inform team for sure. Their season was a disaster as late as early February after barely scraping a 1-1 draw at Sutton in game 31. Did the fans not turn on McCann because they thought he could turn it around or was it because there were no better options out there? Either way, the fans didn't turn, the board didn't fire him and it paid off. Of course everyone focuses on the 10 game winning run, but their good form goes back further. They are 13-4-1 in their last 18 games, which a ridiculous run. Since their 5-1 hammering against Stockport, they've won 8 straight at home. They seem to have gotten key players at the right time. Matty Craig and Owen Bailey look solid in the middle, they arguably have the best defensive pairing in the league in Anderson and Wood and their front 3 of Luke Molyneux, Joe Ironside and Hakeem Adelekun are in stupid good form.

They'll feel confident of progress to the final given their form, but losing Lo-Tutala for the 1st leg might complicate things. And how many times have we seen the in form team come a cropper in the play-offs?

Crewe Alex
Nobody gave them a chance of the top 7 back in August, but they've sat in the play-offs since early September and only dropped out of them briefly at the turn of the year. They are the opposite of Doncaster though in that whilst Donny started off injury prone and recovered players, the Alex have seen injuries/absences to key starters pile up. They hit a terrible skid in March and April after looking like automatic contenders at the end of February. 2 wins from their last 12 games and only 7 goals scored in that time is a big concern, as is their home form, as they are 2-2-5 at Gresty Road since late January.

Still, their away form has been solid. They lost to both Donny and MK Dons, but aside from that, they've been good on the road, going 5-5-2 since Boxing Day and conceding just 10 goals in that span. We look more comfortable away from Gresty Road, so being level or slightly behind after the 1st leg might not be game over. Although I do think we need to be leading after the 1st leg. Regardless of what happens though, it's been a fantastic season for the Alex and Lee Bell. We've got a dangerous striker in Elliott Nevitt, solid all round players in Demetriou and Adebisi and others in Tabiner, Holicek, Kirk, CBR and Long who can be threats on their day.

Nobody will give us a sniff, which should work in our favour. But it's hard to see a path to the final at this point. However, when we've been written off before, we've responded with our best performances of the season. We'll need more of that once again.

Crawley Town
The shock of the season no doubt. Everyone had they tipped to go down, so to reach the top 7 is one of the greatest achievements in League Two that we've seen in the last 5 or so years. Scott Lindsey, the rightful manager of the season, oversaw a fire sale of the likes of Dom Telford, Jack Powell and James Tilley and actually improved. They took a rag tag team of misfits and lower league players and moulded them into a unit. Danilo Orsi(and his stupid celebration) scoring 19 goals, a guy nobody had heard of before this season in Klaidi Lolos banging in 13, Liam Kelly having a bounce back after a shocker at Rochdale, guys plucked from the non-leagues becoming key contributors. It's been an incredible story.

But, is there an element of fortune about them? 18 defeats for a top 7 is a crazy high amount. They seem very boom or bust. The xG table(if you take it seriously) says they massively overachieved. Still, they are where they are for a reason. They seem like a plucky group who don't give up and will go into the play-offs like Crewe with low expectations placed on them, which they clearly have used as a motivational tool all season. They'll be written off against MK Dons, but they've surprised everyone all season. Why can't they do that again in the play-offs?

1st Leg
Monday 6th May

Crawley Town v Milton Keynes Dons(15:00)
Crewe Alexandra v Doncaster Rovers(17:30)

2nd Leg
Thursday 9th May

Milton Keynes Dons v Crawley Town(20:00)

Friday 10th May
Doncaster Rovers v Crewe Alexandra(20:00)

So, who you got coming through? Logic says MK v Donny in the final, but wouldn't a Crewe v Crawley final be so typical of L2?
 

Alfie

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Form guide indicates that Wembley PO will be MK Dons v Doncaster Rovers

My vote is MK Dons will win play-off.

1714381383105.png
 

Si Robin

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Why in God's name is the League 2 playoff final on a Friday night - how shite is that for the fans?
 

dedwardp

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Why in God's name is the League 2 playoff final on a Friday night - how shite is that for the fans?

It isn't - the final is on Sunday 19 May.

Our play-off final against Torquay in 1998 was moved to the Friday night though because England were playing a friendly on the Saturday against somebody like Saudi Arabia.
 

Alfie

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Results this season: -
H2H
Crawley 2-1 MK Dons
MK Dons 2-0 Crawley

Crewe 3-2 Doncaster
Doncaster 2-0 Crewe

All home wins, so not much help except
MK Dons 3 goals v Crawley 2 goals
Doncaster 4 goals v Crewe 3 goals.

 

AdamStag

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Probably crewe or crawley for me as would be less of a threat than the other 2, that’s one tough league 1 next season

Well done to all though, all have had great seasons.
 
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Si Robin

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It isn't - the final is on Sunday 19 May.

Our play-off final against Torquay in 1998 was moved to the Friday night though because England were playing a friendly on the Saturday against somebody like Saudi Arabia.
Teach me not to read the opening post properly won't it...

I remember the 99/00 final between Darlington and Peterborough was a Friday night as well.
 

LS Bantam

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From a ‘who poses the biggest threat next season’ point of view I would want on MK gone if possible. Last season proved however that the on paper weakest side of the four is more than capable of going all the way, I think this year is just as much of a lottery.
 

DippyDon

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So firstly, don't add Kemp's name to the other 3. He would now be our 4th choice attacking player, behind Gilbey, Wearne and Tezgel in the running order. He's absolutely useless when he pulls on our shirt.

Secondly... I am shitting myself. 5 attempts, 0 finals. It seems like we're setting up a lot of people to lose money in the betting markets.
 

JJ1990

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So firstly, don't add Kemp's name to the other 3. He would now be our 4th choice attacking player, behind Gilbey, Wearne and Tezgel in the running order. He's absolutely useless when he pulls on our shirt.

Secondly... I am shitting myself. 5 attempts, 0 finals. It seems like we're setting up a lot of people to lose money in the betting markets.
I don't understand why Kemp can't seem to perform for MK. Lit it up for Hartlepool and Swindon, but at MK he's useless. It's bizarre. Is it because he isn't the main man? Or not used properly? Or because he just doesn't like the club? What gives?
 

DippyDon

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I don't understand why Kemp can't seem to perform for MK. Lit it up for Hartlepool and Swindon, but at MK he's useless. It's bizarre. Is it because he isn't the main man? Or not used properly? Or because he just doesn't like the club? What gives?
Honestly I have no idea and it's bemused a lot of us, but it's like everything he tries just doesn't work. On Saturday there were 2 moments where it's like the footballing gods are telling him that it just isn't the right fit, namely a moment where Sutton's keeper gave the ball away whilst miles out from his line and all it needed was a lobbed effort for a goal, and Kemp got in the way of the move and the ball ended up with a Sutton player
 

kieran_vale

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I’m tipping Crewe to do it. Form going into this is almost meaningless now and they’re basically cup ties. Last two winners were not really in great nick going into them.
 

1862

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So firstly, don't add Kemp's name to the other 3. He would now be our 4th choice attacking player, behind Gilbey, Wearne and Tezgel in the running order. He's absolutely useless when he pulls on our shirt.

Secondly... I am shitting myself. 5 attempts, 0 finals. It seems like we're setting up a lot of people to lose money in the betting markets.
We'd failed 4 times in 5 seasons before last year, if that helps.
 

AdamStag

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We'd failed 4 times in 5 seasons before last year, if that helps.

We’ve had 5 attempts at the playoffs and succeeded 0 times, there was a stat knocking around that we were the worst at them, whether that’s still true now with MK as we made the final twice.
 

DippyDon

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Crawley are giving us a limited allocation by having home fans in the north Terrace...

I'm not annoyed because we stiffed Wycombe similarly a couple of years ago but I'm not looking forward to the mad rush that will 100% happen.
 

Stocky

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I'd be surprised if MK Dons don't win it, they're the best team but it's knock out, turn up on the day football so doesn't guarentee much.

I'd like to see Doncaster do it.

Got a feeling Crewe will go against the form guide and sneak past Doncaster though.

And then MK will beat Crewe at Wembley.

But nice to watch it with my feet up not giving a shit really.
 

ForzaCounty

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If I could choose, it'd be Crewe simply because that's the best away day next season for me.

But MK deserve it the most over the course of the season.

Mind you, Donny have been in title-winning form since we dicked them in January.

So all that means is that Crawley will win it.
 

Scum.

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Crawley are giving us a limited allocation by having home fans in the north Terrace...

I'm not annoyed because we stiffed Wycombe similarly a couple of years ago but I'm not looking forward to the mad rush that will 100% happen.

About 600 is all we are getting right? Based on history, reckon we would have taken between 1,500 and 2,000 if we could, so a bit of a shame but understandable given Crawley's small capacity.

As for the PO's, we must be one of the worst at them despite our short history, given 5 semi-finals in L2 and L1 = 5 losses already.

I think PNE were the worst at one point (before they finally won one the year we went up in 2nd from L1), and I recall Cardiff had an abysmal record too.

Love to know who is the worst if anyone knows?! Any stattos?
 
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Less than a mile (WAFC)

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I’m tipping Crewe to do it. Form going into this is almost meaningless now and they’re basically cup ties. Last two winners were not really in great nick going into them.

Not just form though, they have lots of injuries and really, and I think its fair to say, they just aren't very good.

Crawley have no pressure really do they and have never lost (played) in the play offs before so in a way I kind of fancy them.

I do believe that there is a mindset even when changing players at some clubs about winning and losing in cups/ play offs. Fans expect it (either way) and it impacts on the players. Can see it at all levels from non league to the Champions League. For that reason I don't fancy MK Dons.

Crawley V Doncaster final with Crawley to win it. Orsi the the hero (who seems to be scoring whenever I watch the highlights show.
 

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I'd like Donny to do it to show fans that being in a relegation battle at the end of Feb doesn't mean promotion is impossible.

However being a fan of football I fully expect that after all the work they've put in since then to get into the play-offs they now won't turn up and Crewe will win easily
 

JJ1990

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Not just form though, they have lots of injuries and really, and I think its fair to say, they just aren't very good.
Not right now we aren't. But a few months back, we were. Over the season, we've beaten Stockport, Mansfield and Crawley, drawn with Wrexham(all on the road) and gone 6-2-4 against the other top 7 sides.

I know a lot of teams can say this, but our injury list has been ridiculous and killed us in these final 2 months.
 

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MK Would be ideal as they would likely be well financed to challenge again compared to Crewe or Crawley certainly, if not Doncaster but we have a great recent record against Doncaster so will go with MK!

Crawley is probably our favourite away ground in terms of results winning all visits but 2 (one draw and a loss on our first visit when we went down to 10 men when leading) and we usually beat Crewe and its local so keeping them down may be more fruitful for us!

Fair play to Donny though, the form to make them is bonkers and the momentum is all theirs.

Good luck to the fans of all 4 teams! After the madness of 2022 its certainly a rollercoaster.
 

Scum.

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Results this season: -
H2H
Crawley 2-1 MK Dons
MK Dons 2-0 Crawley

Crewe 3-2 Doncaster
Doncaster 2-0 Crewe

All home wins, so not much help except
MK Dons 3 goals v Crawley 2 goals
Doncaster 4 goals v Crewe 3 goals.


Taking this a step further, these are all the results this season in terms of all of the team's against one another home and away.

As we all know, results are the same every time so scientifically this proves who will win the play-offs.

Crawley Town vs MK Dons
Crawley Town 2-1 MK Dons
MK Dons 2-0 Crawley Town

Crewe Alexandra vs Doncaster Rovers
Crewe Alexandra 3-2 Doncaster Rovers
Doncaster 2-0 Crewe Alexandra

Doncaster Rovers vs MK Dons
Doncaster Rovers 3-0 MK Dons
MK Dons 2-1 Doncaster Rovers

Crewe Alexandra vs MK Dons
Crewe Alexandra 3-1 MK Dons
MK Dons 3-1 Crewe Alexandra

Crawley Town vs Crewe Alexandra
Crawley Town 2-4 Crewe Alexandra
Crewe Alexandra 1-0 Crawley Town

Crawley Town vs Doncaster Rovers
Crawley Town 0-2 Doncaster Rovers
Doncaster Rovers 2-0 Crawley Town


So it is quite simple, in the play-off semi-finals, MK Dons should beat Crawley Town 3-2 over two legs and Doncaster Rovers should beat Crewe Alexandra 4-3. Assuming the logic holds, Doncaster Rovers will beat MK Dons 4-2 at Wembley in the final.

Now, there is a 1.2% margin of error in these calculations. In the unlikely scenario, the calculations are off, the following will happen in the alternative finals.

If Crawley Town play Doncaster Rovers, Doncaster Rovers will win 4-0 at Wembley.
If Crewe Alexandra play MK Dons, it will be a 3-3 draw at Wembley (extra time/penalties are not forecast, but I prefer MK Dons so they will win).

In summary, I would lump on Doncaster to do it as the evidence cannot be ignored.
 

GTFCfish

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It isn't - the final is on Sunday 19 May.

Our play-off final against Torquay in 1998 was moved to the Friday night though because England were playing a friendly on the Saturday against somebody like Saudi Arabia.
Our play off final against Bristol Rovers was 4pm Sunday, got cheated out of it by a ref who ‘didn’t want to spoil the game’ by sending off their keeper after he handballed outside the box whilst we were already 1-0 up and totally dominating, before it finished 1-1 and we then lost after extra time and penalties.
Then I had to go pick up the missus and Daughter from Oxford Street on the tube and we didn’t end up getting back to where I’d parked the car (in Wimbledon) until 9pm, then finally got home at 1am after hallucinating on part of the drive home because I was so tired.

But apart from all that I had a great day. :lol:
 

GTFCfish

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Anyway despite Donny’s unbelievable form I’ve plumped for MK Dons just because they seem to get promoted from this league pretty much every time they are in it.
Plus I’d like them out the way of our title assault for next season.
 

DippyDon

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Anyway despite Donny’s unbelievable form I’ve plumped for MK Dons just because they seem to get promoted from this league pretty much every time they are in it.
Plus I’d like them out the way of our title assault for next season.
This is our 4th season. Of the previous 3, twice we've finished in the top 3 and got promoted, once in the play offs where we didn't.
 

Master D

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I'm going for Donny but having the keeper banned is a big blow, he looks a very good keeper from what I've seen.

Pressure is all on MK Dons to win these playoffs and I just don't think they'll handle it.
 

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I'm going for Donny but having the keeper banned is a big blow, he looks a very good keeper from what I've seen.

Pressure is all on MK Dons to win these playoffs and I just don't think they'll handle it.
What did the Doncaster goalkeeper do to get sent off? When I see a Goalkeeper get a straight red 9/10 it's a professional foul/denial of goalscoring opportunity job so that would be a one match ban and would only miss their first leg

If he's nutted someone then ignore the above.
 

DippyDon

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I'm going for Donny but having the keeper banned is a big blow, he looks a very good keeper from what I've seen.

Pressure is all on MK Dons to win these playoffs and I just don't think they'll handle it.
Is it? We're very used to play off failure. So used to it that the only predictions for us to win it all seems to be coming from outside the club.

I am fully expecting to still be a League 2 club come August.
 

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