With just two games of the season remaining, Lucy Waldon rounds up the weekend’s activity in League Two.
It was game 44 for many of the sides in League Two this weekend. While Gillingham are already promoted, things aren’t quite so clear cut at the bottom, with a number of sides facing potential relegation. The round-up begins with those teams battling for league survival.
While there were wins for Accrington (on Friday night) and York, AFC Wimbledon had to settle for a point and there were defeats for Aldershot, Plymouth and Dagenham & Redbridge. In a late-season twist of fate, Torquay and Barnet’s match was called-off due to a waterlogged pitch at Plainmoor – the two teams will now meet on Tuesday night.
Accrington’s Friday night victory sees them move five points clear of danger, while Morecambe in 15th have nothing to play for. Having taken the lead in the opening half an hour after Lee Molyneux’s free-kick took a deflection off Peter Murphy before going in, Stanley doubled their advantage through Padraig Amond.
Nigel Worthington’s York sprang a surprise defeat on Northampton, also ending the latters 10-match winning streak on home soil. Ashley Chambers fired the strugglers in front on seven minutes, before John Johnson turned Matty Blair’s cross past his own keeper. While the Cobblers are now five points short of automatic promotion, maximum points for York sees them move up to 20th, joining Plymouth and AFC Wimbledon on 49 points.
The latter team had to come from behind twice to salvage a point against an Exeter side who remain eighth. In a four-goal thriller at Kingsmeadow, the visiting outfit took the lead before half time – Jamie Reid’s strike from outside the box separating the clubs at the break. The other side of the referee’s whistle, the Dons levelled through Luke Moore. The goals then came thick and fast, with another two in a period of three minutes – the Grecians retaking the lead through Reid, before Moore was on hand to again equalise for the hosts. After that frenzy it ended AFC Wimbledon 2, Exeter 2.
Aldershot remain rooted to the bottom of the division, succumbing to defeat at the hands of Wycombe. After a goalless first half, Wycombe opened the scoring: Matt McClure, the club’s top scorer, capitalising on a defensive slip to slot home. The Shots found an equaliser midway through the second period through Craig Stanley, but the Chairboys won it moments later, with Joel Grant netting against his former club. Aldershot are now three points from safety, with three games left to play – the same as Torquay and Barnet.
A very late goal for Burton kept them in third and occupying the final automatic promotion spot, while bestowing defeat on Plymouth, whose manager won the latest ‘Manager of the Month’ award. Argyle are still one of eight that could go down and they lost this in the third minute of added time – substitute Matt Paterson scoring from close range to snatch maximum points for the Brewers.
Also on Saturday, Oxford won their first game in six, as a solitary goal separated themselves and Dagenham & Redbridge. Alfie Potter, the game’s only scorer, took advantage of some poor defending before shooting past Jordan Seabright in the Daggers’ goal.
Meanwhile at the other end of the table, Cheltenham moved up to fourth after they recorded a victory over already promoted Gillingham, while also experiencing the return of former boss Martin Allen. Michael Hector, the Reading loanee who had put through his own net in the club’s previous match, bagged the only goal of the game after he headed in from Billy Jones’ corner halfway through the second period. The Rubies are guaranteed at least a play-off place, but are still battling away for third.
There was also a win for Rotherham at the weekend, another of the teams looking for promotion via the play-offs. For Fleetwood though, with only two games remaining, that dream is now over. The Millers took the lead as early as the third minute, Daniel Nardiello tucking the ball away following a poor clearance from visiting keeper Scott Davies. Minutes later, Fleetwood drew level with David Ball quickest to convert Junior Brown’s previous scuffed attempt. But Rotherham retook the lead after the hour mark through Kieran Agard ensuring it would not be back-to-back promotions for the Cod Army.
Fans at Spotland and the Proact Stadium were treated to four goals as both games ended with honours even. There was late drama in Manchester where Rochdale took on Port Vale and Micky Adams’ side will have to wait until at least their next game to secure promotion to League One. Liam Chilvers gifted Dale the lead after turning the ball into his own net, but the division’s top scorer Tom Pope levelled minutes later. In the final minute, Chilvers made amends for his earlier error, nodding home to put Vale in front. But in the third minute of time added-on, a header from Jason Kennedy gave Dale a share of the spoils.
There was also a late goal for Chesterfield who earned a point against promotion-chasers Bradford. Star man Nahki Wells made it 22 for the campaign, putting the Bantams in front after 35 minutes. Tendayi Darikwa equalised midway through the second half, only for Bradford to quickly respond and restore their lead – Ricky Ravenhill’s drive putting them back in front with 10 minutes remaining. Sam Togwell grabbed a late goal in the third of six additional minutes to keep the Spireites in with a shout of making the play-offs.
In the weekend’s remaining game, Southend and Bristol Rovers played out a goalless draw at Roots Hall. Both teams now sit comfortably in mid-table.
While Torquay and Barnet’s rescheduled bottom-of-the-table clash takes place on Tuesday night, there are a handful of other fixtures to look forward to:
Aldershot v Southend
Bradford v Rotherham
Chesterfield v Plymouth
Wycombe v Northampton