Former Weston-super-Mare star Ollie Watkins powers Exeter City to playoff final at Wembley
PUBLISHED: 15:10 19 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:21 19 May 2017
Former Weston-super-Mare Football Club star Ollie Watkins stole the show last night (Thursday), scoring two goals as Exeter City booked a spot in the Sky Bet League Two playoff final with a dramatic victory over Carlisle United.
A last minute winner from Jack Stacey at St James’ Park earned a 6-5 aggregate victory and a place in the playoff final on May 28 – but it was the former Seagulls’ forward who took the plaudits.
Watkins bagged a 10th minute opener before making it 2-0 (5-3 on aggregate), with 11 minutes to play.
Carlisle almost took the game to extra time after scoring two late goals, but Stacey’s goal won the tie in dramatic fashion.
Fellow former Seagull Ryan Harley also played a crucial role in the tie, scoring in the first leg on Sunday.
Watkins spent six months on loan at the Woodspring Stadium in the 2014-2015 campaign, scoring 10 goals as the Seagulls rallied to avoid relegation from the Conference South.
He exclusively told the Mercury: “Playing in the playoffs was a great achievement, but getting to Wembley is even better.
“It’s a dream come true. I’ve never been to Wembley so going there for the first time and playing there is going to be something I will never forget.”
But Watkins has not forgotten his time at Weston, and the lessons it taught him on his path to professional football.
He added: “It was really good to start playing men’s football and being out my comfort zone where I was fighting for competition and playing for three points.
“There was also a great bunch of lads and a good manager that wanted to help me improve.”
The 21-year-old was also crowned the Football League Young Player of the Year last month after netting 15 League Two goals.
Clubs higher up the Football League pyramid are queuing up for Watkins’ signature, with giants Manchester United and Arsenal reportedly keeping tabs on the highly-rated attacker back in January.
Championship clubs Aston Villa, Leeds United and Bristol City are also believed to be in pursuit of the Torbay-born man.
Exeter will take on Blackpool at Wembley Stadium on May 28.