NEWPORT County AFC will return to St James Park and not Sixfields next season after Northampton Town hammered Exeter City in the League Two play-off final at Wembley.

The Cobblers, who beat Cheltenham in the semi-finals after fighting back from a 2-0 deficit in the first leg, are heading up to League One along with champions Swindon Town, Crewe Alexandra and Plymouth Argyle.

It was a one-sided affair at an empty Wembley with goals scored by Ryan Watson, Callum Morton, Sam Hoskins and substitute Andy Williams.

Northampton - who claimed the final play-off berth on points per game at the expense of Port Vale - head up to the third tier.

"I'm very proud, very proud of the work we've done at the football club," said boss Keith Curle.

"Being selfish as a manager, I know I needed a promotion and everybody knew that and I don't shy away from that.

"The chairman, when I came to the football club, I was honest and I told him, 'I need a promotion and I need a club that believes what I'm going to try and do'.

"The chairman, the owners, they've allowed me to create an environment and a platform for me to work that is very enjoyable."

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Having lost on penalties to Huddersfield as Mansfield boss in this fixture in 2004, his current side never looked like repeating that disappointment following first-half strikes from Watson and Morton.

A 59th-minute red card for Dean Moxey following a late lunge at Watson effectively ended Exeter's hopes of a fightback before Hoskins and Williams compounded their misery.

Northampton's style might not be pretty but it was effective with the Cobblers well-drilled under Curle.

"Our mindset was on, we needed to turn up, we needed to make sure our fundamentals were in place," said the former defender.

"We've just repeatedly gone over our fundamentals. Credit to the players because sometimes it can be a little boring, a little bit monotonous but it's how I work because if you get the fundamentals and the foundation right it gives you a platform."

Exeter endured another miserable trip to the capital, losing a third League Two play-off final in the space of four seasons.

Grecians boss Matt Taylor was part of Paul Tisdale's coaching staff for defeats to Blackpool in 2017 and Coventry in 2018.

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"(We were) second best, physically dominated throughout. I've absolutely no complaints," said Taylor.

"Full credit to Northampton in terms of (how) they went about it but I really did not like the effect it had on the personality of my team.

"We knew what to expect. I picked the most physical team I possibly could, that's the irony, but we still could not cope.

"But that's what they turn you into and the personality of the team was fragile.

"We needed to be a team of men tonight and unfortunately we started off as men but quickly turned into boys."

Tranmere, Southend and Bolton are heading down to League Two from League One while Barrow are promoted as champions of the National League.

The final spot in the EFL will come from play-offs with Harrogate, Notts County, Yeovil, Boreham Wood, Halifax and Stockport the contenders.