Another weekend of League Two football is rounded up by Lucy Waldon.
With Cheltenham playing Morecambe on Friday night (the hosts ran out 2-0 winners), yesterday saw another exciting round of matches in League Two – with 11 games and 32 goals scored. The round-up begins with a six-goal thriller at the Pirelli where Burton Albion took on Northampton.
The hosts went ahead after 9 minutes, thanks to Calvin Zola, and their lead was doubled on the hour mark when Northampton’s Kevin Langmead put the ball in the back of his own net. The Cobblers responded quickly and the deficit was halved minutes later when Langmead soon turned to hero after heading in from a free kick. The visitors showed real character and managed to get an equaliser – David Artell with only 15 minutes remaining. Burton re-took the lead, however, when Zander Diamond scored from Damien McCrory’s free kick. But Northampton ensured it would be a point a-piece and Alex Nicholls converted a very late equaliser. Final score at the Pirelli Stadium: Burton Albion 3-3 Northampton Town.
At the top of League Two, there were a couple of shocks this weekend. Gillingham’s unbeaten record came to an end when they lost to Rochdale at Priestfield. Dale went ahead through Andrew Tutte on 15 minutes and the task was made harder for the Gills when Danny Jackman saw a straight red for his foul on Tutte. Rochdale made their man-advantage count and they doubled their lead through in-form Bobby Grant in the second half. Although Gillingham pulled a goal back through a 74th minute Danny Kedwell penalty, Dale held on and move up to 7th in the table; Gillingham remain top but their advantage has been cut to just three points. It was also 3rd versus 23rd when Exeter took on struggling Bristol Rovers, yet to win a game in the league this season. By 5pm, Rovers managed their first victory, also condemning Exeter to their second consecutive defeat. Rovers netted as early as the fifth minute, through David Clarkson and it took as long as midway through the second half for the Grecians to reply – experienced striker Jamie Cureton slotting home. The points were secured minutes later for the Gas with Eliot Richards coming off the bench and earning the visitors three vital points. Exeter played the final 10 minutes a man-down after defender Scot Bennett was stretchered off. Win for Bristol Rovers sees them move out of the drop-zone and into 21st, three points ahead of Wycombe.
Elsewhere at the top there were wins for Port Vale, Fleetwood and Accrington Stanley. It was 4th against 2nd at Valley Parade as Bradford took on Port Vale. It only took a solitary goal to separate them – Tom Pope with his fourth goal in three games awarding victory to the visitors in the first half. Remaining second in the league, the win for Port Vale sees them now pile the pressure on Gillingham at the top. Fleetwood move up to third after their win against bottom of the table, Barnet. It was in fact the Bees who took the lead, scoring their first away goal of the season – Jake Hyde in the fifth minute, bundling the ball over the line. That’s about as good as the visitors’ weekend got however, as goalkeeper Graham Stack was sent off before the half hour mark for a professional foul on David Ball. Ball stuck away the awarded penalty and Fleetwood’s winner came towards the end of the match – a mistake by substitute keeper, Sam Cowler allowed Tom Barkhuizen to head home. Whilst the woodwork denied the hosts a third, Barnet ended the game with nine men after substitute Ishmail Kamara’s debut was short-lived and he left the field with a head injury. Meanwhile, caretaker manager Simon Bassey endured his first defeat when his AFC Wimbledon side lost to Accrington Stanley, still sitting nicely in the play-offs. Stanley were a goal to the good at half time, thanks to a 25th minute chip from Padraig Amond. Their lead was doubled with just over 10 minutes of the game remaining – a stunning chip from Peter Murphy. Although the Dons managed to pull one back in the dying minutes through Sammy Moore, it wasn’t enough and defeat sees them slip to 22nd, three points from the drop-zone.
Defeat for managerless Wycombe saw them replace Bristol Rovers in the bottom two this weekend. Their hosts, Dagenham, have been struggling themselves but showed no sign of this when they opened the scoring in the first half hour – Dwight Gayle netting. Dagenham then doubled their lead in the second half: a Wycombe handball in the area allowing Mickey Spillane the chance to extend their goal-advantage from the spot, which he converted. The Daggers then wrapped up their victory – their first this season – Billy Bingham firing into the top corner. Current caretaker boss, Gareth Ainsworth, has a difficult task on his hands.
Elsewhere in League Two, there were wins for York and Rotherham. Two goals in three second half minutes was enough for York to end their four-game winless run. Matty Blair netted the first before Jason Walker was tripped in the penalty area and put away the consequent penalty. Oxford slip to a sixth straight defeat after Rotherham ran out 3-1 winners at the New York Stadium, despite going ahead early on. It was as early as the eighth minute that Sean Rigg put Oxford ahead but after that the Millers took absolute control. A Michael O’Connor double – first from the penalty spot, before drilling in a second with 15 minutes left to play – was added to by a Jason Taylor tap-in and Rotherham ran out clear winners.
Points were shared in two 1-1 draws – Chesterfield who took on Torquay, and Plymouth who played hosts to Southend.
Once again this week there are Tuesday night matches. The two promoted sides meet in the Football League as York entertain Fleetwood, and there are a couple of top versus bottom clashes as Dagenham travel to Port Vale and Barnet play Exeter at Underhill.