Lucy Waldon brings us the highlights from a depleted League Two programme this weekend.
The adverse weather conditions up and down the country meant that only six games went ahead in the basement division this weekend. The round-up begins with wins for two teams fighting off relegation.
Torquay made it back-to-back victories and maximum points sees them sit five points clear of danger, as they beat fellow strugglers York. Nigel Worthington’s Minstermen remain in the bottom two, following defeat, alongside Aldershot whose game against Port Vale was one of those to fall victim to the snow. The Gulls went ahead as early as the fifth minute with Elliot Benyon’s poacher instinct propelling them in front as he reacted quickest to Lee Mansell’s corner, which hadn’t been properly cleared. Ryan Jarvis’ individual effort extended the hosts’ lead – having run 50 yards, Jarvis fired home from 20 yards out. Torquay were reduced to 10 men when Tom Cruise was dismissed for his challenge on Josh Carson; Richard Cresswell reduced the deficit from the penalty spot but the home side held on for the remaining 17 minutes.
AFC Wimbledon’s win over Morecambe reduced their relegation worries, Neal Ardley’s side moving up to 16th some seven points safe from the drop zone. Two late goals in the opening period secured the points for the Dons, Kevin Sainte-Luce bundling the ball over the line for their opener with seven first half minutes left on the clock. Once Chris McCready handled Gary Alexander’s effort it was game over as top scorer Jack Midson converted the awarded spot kick. The Shrimps remain mid-table.
To the other end of the division, where Port Vale’s postponement allowed Gillingham to extend their lead at the top to eight points. A single goal at Priestfield separated them and Accrington, who now sit in 22nd place despite a recent good run of results. Matt Fish’s strike midway through the opening period proved the difference between the sides – his left-footed drive crashing off the underside of the bar before nestling in the back of the net. The Gills have a healthy lead ahead of Vale in second, with only six games remaining.
Northampton also maintained their promotion push, as their narrow win against play-off hopefuls Oxford increased the pressure on the teams surrounding them in the mix. It’s close at both ends of the table, but nine points separate second placed Port Vale from Fleetwood in eighth and after victory here, the Cobblers are a solitary point away from automatic promotion. Having failed to clear a corner, Oxford were punished as Ben Harding was on hand to strike from just inside the box – his goal coming seconds before the interval. Oxford stay 10th.
Fleetwood boosted their faint hopes of a play-off finish, but they had to come from behind against Dagenham & Redbridge. Medy Elito put the Daggers in front, his converted penalty arriving as early as the fifth minute. The hosts levelled almost immediately, Junior Brown’s effort finding the back of the net just seconds later. The turnaround was complete after a large spell of dominance from the home side, their winner arriving early in the second half courtesy of Gareth Evans’ 20-yard drive. The Cod Army may only be three points off the final play-off place, but they have played one game more than a number of their closest rivals.
The final game of the weekend saw struggling Barnet host promotion-chasing Cheltenham. In a game hampered by poor weather conditions, neither side could do enough to force the ball home and it finished 0-0 at Underhill. While the Rubies stay fifth, the Bees move up to 20th and haven’t lost at home now since New Year’s Day.
There are plenty of games scheduled for over the Easter weekend – weather permitting – with teams playing on Friday and Saturday afternoon before a full-programme on Monday. On Good Friday, second faces fifth as Port Vale host Cheltenham. While on Saturday, Plymouth and Exeter meet in the Devon Derby and leaders Gillingham travel to Fleetwood. Looking ahead to Easter Monday, relegation-threatened York entertain Plymouth and AFC Wimbledon host Barnet. At the business end of the table, play-off rivals Cheltenham and Northampton meet at Whaddon Road.