With a handful of midweek games in League Two, Lucy Waldon rounds up the latest.
Four goals in the first half for promotion hopefuls Rotherham allowed them to close the gap between themselves and Cheltenham in third place. The victims on the end of the 4-0 drubbing were Oxford, a team who hadn’t lost in four games. In fact, the Millers managed to secure the victory with four goals in a blistering 14 minute spell towards the end of the opening period. Their first came on the half hour mark – David Noble’s effort taking a deflection on the way in. Three minutes later the visitors doubled their lead when Kari Arnason headed in from Ben Pringle’s corner. Johnny Mullins netted the third and a minute before the referee’s half time whistle, Pringle got on the scoresheet himself – thanks to Alex Revell’s delivery. The emphatic loss for the Us sees them fall to 12th.
There was also a win for Cheltenham on Tuesday night, although it took second half injury time for them to secure all three points. Chesterfield were the visitors to Whaddon Road. With it looking as if both teams would earn a point, Paul Benson’s header a minute and a half into stoppage time ensured the Rubies snatched maximum points. They now sit in the final automatic promotion spot, a point ahead of Rotherham. The Spireites, on the other hand, stay 14th.
Tuesday’s final game finished goalless, with Port Vale in second hosting a Bradford side whose Cup run had seen them slide down the table. Win for Vale would’ve seen them go top going into the weekend’s programme. As it was, the points were shared. The home side also had Doug Loft sent off in time added on – a reckless high challenge on Ricky Ravenhill.
There was a big shock on Wednesday night when Bristol Rovers took on Exeter, another side with their eye on promotion via the play-offs. The Gas have recently hit a decent run of form that has seen them move away from the drop zone and after this one they sit in 15th – nine points clear of Plymouth and Wimbledon who occupy the bottom places. A goal in each half secured the win for the home side, their opener arriving after 20 minutes – Oliver Norburn’s low drive slipping through the fingers of Grecians’ keeper Artur Krysiak and ending up in the back of the net. Lee Brown’s 25-yard strike late on settled it, leaving Rovers in a far loftier position than they found themselves over the Christmas period.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s games, newly appointed York boss Nigel Worthington faces a trip to bottom-of-the-table AFC Wimbledon. Higher up the pecking order it’s fifth versus third as Burton entertain Cheltenham, while struggling Plymouth travel to league leaders Gillingham.