Former Bristol City pair set for Wembley final after record-breaking season

Two Bristol City men are 90 minutes away from the Football League - and another is trying to get to the National League
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Two former Bristol City employees are just 90 minutes away from a return to the Football League.

Luke Williams and Aden Baldwin, both of Notts County, have reached the National League play-off final. The Magpies overcame Boreham Wood in extra time despite going two goals down to reach the final.

Boreham Wood - who beat Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup - went ahead through Femi Ilesanmi and Lee Ndlovu. Baldwin - a defender by trade - scored two minutes in to the second-half, before netting a 97th minute equaliser to send the game to extra-time. Penalties loomed but former Coventry City winger Jodi Jones scored in the 120th minute, booking County’s place in the final.

Notts County will play Chesterfield, who are managed by Paul Cook, who was manager of Portsmouth and Wigan Athletic. The final is at Wembley Stadium, and takes place next Saturday (May 13).

Baldwin was at Ashton Gate as a player from 2016 until the summer of 2021. The 25-year-old joined from Forest Green Rovers but didn’t make a senior appearance, and instead had loan spells with Weston-super-Mare, Cheltenham Town and Eastleigh. He joined MK Dons in 2021, and had one season in League One before dropping down two divisions.

At Meadow Lane, he has found a home having played 29 matches in all competitions this season. He hadn’t scored a goal for the whole of his time at Notts County, before his brace against Boreham Wood.

Luke Williams was the man to bring him to Nottingham, and he was once involved at City. He was City’s head coach of the Under-21’s for more than two years before leaving to become assistant manager at MK Dons to Russell Martin, and then at Swansea City.

In just the second senior job of his managerial career he went toe-to-toe with Wrexham. Notts County finished four points behind the Welsh club bankrolled by Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds and American actor Rob McElhenney with an impressive points tally of 107.

Baldwin and Williams aren’t the only two former Robins involved in play-off action next week. David Noble has reached the National League South play-off final with St Albans City.

The 41-year-old is the head coach of the Hertfordshire based side and after beating Dartford on penalties, is just one game away from becoming a fifth tier manager. St Albans City play Oxford City next Sunday (May 14) with a 12.30 pm kick-off at the RAW Charging Stadium in Oxford.

Noble had two spells at Bristol city as a player, joining them on a permanent deal after a loan spell. He scored nine goals in 95 appearances for the club, and one of them came against Crystal Palace in the Championship play-off semi-final in 2008. Noble was part of the Robins side that reached the Championship play-off final, losing to Hull City.