Sunday, 30 September 2012

League Two round-up: 29/09/12

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.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

League Two round-up: 22/09/12

With Gillingham still flying high at the top of League Two and Barnet at the bottom, propping up the rest of the Football League, it was a fairly standard weekend. There was plenty of incident: last minute goals, crucial late winners, sendings off and controversial decisions. The round-up begins with Gillingham’s difficult trip to in-form Port Vale.
The Gills went six points clear at the top of the table this weekend after beating Port Vale 2-0 away from home – inflicting a first home defeat on their hosts this season. Deon Burton opened the scoring for Gillingham on 11 minutes, heading in Robbie Findley’s cross and Chris Whelpdale added a second after 25 minutes. The Gills held out for the rest of the match, also managing a third consecutive clean sheet. However, Vale remain in second.
There was a similar score line at The Kassam where free-falling Oxford took on a Bradford side looking for a first away victory of the campaign. The opening goal didn’t come until the 52nd minute – Andrew Davies with a powerful header for the Bantams, from a Gary Jones’ corner – before a second corner, again by Jones, was met by Nahki Wells with just over 20 minutes remaining. A 2-0 win for Bradford puts them into 4th place, whilst consigning Oxford to a fifth successive defeat, their worst run in form under current manager Chris Wilder.
There were goals galore at the Globe Arena where Morecambe played hosts to Plymouth and after this score line, it is little wonder that The Shrimps fans think their stadium is cursed! Morecambe were a goal up at halftime, thanks to an early strike from Jack Redshaw. Their lead was doubled just six minutes into the second half – a Richard Brodie penalty after he was fouled in the box by Plymouth’s Durell Berry. With 20 minutes remaining, Argyle produced a remarkable comeback. Ross Jenkins netted the first before a Warren Feeney double from the penalty spot earned them all three points. With 80 minutes played, Izak Reid was adjudged to have handled, setting up an exciting closing 10, with the scores level at 2-2. In the dying minutes, a foul on substitute Paris Cowan-Hall allowed Feeney the opportunity to put away the winner from the spot. The win for Plymouth sees them move further from the drop-zone and up to 16th, whilst defeat slips Morecambe into 18th.
Elsewhere, in Essex, Southend ran out 2-1 winners when they entertained Exeter at Roots Hall. The Grecians took the lead after the break – Scot Bennett with their goal. With a throw of the dice, Shrimpers’ boss Paul Sturrock brought on Barry Corr, his first start for 17 months after a knee injury. How fitting for Corr to mark his first game back with a goal and a crucial equaliser for Southend. A powerful header in the 78th minute was followed in ‘smash and grab’ style when fans’ favourite Freddy Eastwood netted the winner in the closing minutes to send the Southend fans home happy.
Meanwhile fellow Essex side Dagenham and Redbridge managed a decent point when they travelled to Rochdale. Dale were two goals to the good at half time, after netting twice in four minutes. Dele Adebola put the hosts ahead on 33 minutes, before Bobby Grant added a second. The turning point came in the 60th minute, following a red card for Rochdale. Daggers’ striker Josh Scott rounded Josh Lillis in the Dale goal, before being brought down by Kevin McIntyre – the referee had little choice but to send him off. The resulting penalty was taken by Mickey Spillane, who put it away. Dagenham allowed their man advantage to count and levelled minutes later – Sam Williams heading home from a corner by Medy Elito. Rochdale managed to hold out for the final 20 minutes and the score at Spotland remained Rochdale 2-2 Dagenham.
There were narrow wins for AFC Wimbledon and Accrington Stanley. The managerless Dons took on a struggling Wycombe side, who after defeat yesterday suffered their third consecutive loss. It could have been more than 1-0 – Byron Harrison had his penalty saved, after Wycombe’s Danny Foster handled in the area. As it was, six minutes later, Sammy Moore got the only goal of the game. With only goal difference keeping Wycombe out of the drop zone (they have a goal difference of -4, as opposed to Bristol Rovers -9), they sacked manager Gary Waddock after the game. There was late drama in the match between Accrington and Aldershot. With it looking like it’d end 0-0, Accrington substitute Padraig Amond gave them all three points in the last minute. The misery continued for the Shots when Peter Vincenti (also off the bench) was sent off with a straight red card in added time.
Elsewhere it was a point apiece for Torquay and Burton – a last minute equaliser by Brewers’ forward Calvin Zola sealing the draw – and there were a number of 0-0s including Barnet, who doubled their points tally, sharing the spoils with Rotherham and Bristol Rovers who drew with Fleetwood.
In the pick of next weekend’s games, it’s 4th v 2nd as Bradford take on Port Vale, Gillingham will try and extend their lead at the top when they host Rochdale and there’s a bottom of the table clash as Dagenham play Wycombe – with both teams, like a number of other on four points – a great opportunity for three vital points to push away from the relegation zone.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

League Two round-up: 18/09/12

With the teams in the Football League playing last night, it was a great opportunity for those currently heading the table in League Two to continue their early dominance, whilst at the bottom saw a chance for the strugglers to pull away from the drop zone and put pressure on the teams around them.
The round-up begins with two seven-goal thrillers starting with Fleetwood’s chance to close the gap on leaders Gillingham – they took on an equally in-form Port Vale side. Scorer of four goals the other weekend, Tom Pope opened the scoring for Vale with half an hour played and the travellers doubled their advantage minutes later through Ashley Vincent. A Junior Brown header before half time gave the hosts something to cheer about but three second-half goals in under 20 minutes wrapped up all three points for Port Vale. Pope scored his eighth of the season to make the score 3-1, before Vale ran rampant, with a Louis Dodds’ double. A late Fleetwood penalty, taken by Steven Gillespie was no more than a consolation – the Cod Army slip to fourth, whilst Vale leap frog them into second.
Meanwhile at the Proact Stadium it was also goals galore as Chesterfield were hoping to make it back-to-back wins against an Accrington Stanley side currently sitting nicely in the play-offs. The home side went ahead through who else but Jack Lester, before he turned provider for the Spireites second, three minutes later – teeing up for Marc Richards to head home. Accrington pulled one back through Rommy Boco with under half an hour played and a second half equaliser from Peter Murphy gave them some hope. It was Lester again who regained Chesterfield’s lead, setting up an exciting closing 20 minutes – particularly when Boco grabbed his second goal and a second equaliser for Accrington. But with only five minutes remaining Chesterfield snatched all three points: Terrell Forbes scoring his first goal for the club. Final score from the Proact Stadium: Chesterfield 4-3 Accrington.
Elsewhere five goals were shared between Exeter and Wycombe and Rotherham who took on Rochdale. Exeter move into third place following their 3-2 win over struggling Wycombe. Gareth Ainsworth put Wanderers ahead in the opening five minutes and they managed to hold onto their lead for a large part of the first half, until Arron Davies equalised for the Grecians. Wycombe regained the lead in the second half – a back post header for Dean Morgan – only for Exeter to equalise just minutes later: Jamie Cureton’s 15-yard shot getting the home side back in the game. And Exeter secured all three points when Danny Coles netted the winner with 20 minutes left to play.
Rotherham lost their first home game at their new stadium when they entertained Rochdale last night. Veteran striker Dele Adebola opened the scoring on the stroke of half time, firing into an empty net but Rotherham levelled the score on the hour mark through Alex Revell. It was the home side that then took the lead through striker Daniel Nardiello but Dale responded well and got a chance to equalise 10 minutes later after Jason Kennedy was sent tumbling in the penalty area. The resulting spot kick was taken by Bobby Grant and he duly stuck it away. Victory was sealed when Kevin McIntyre added to Rochdale’s goal tally, moving them up to 8th in the table; the Millers move down to 10th.
Bradford maintained their 100% home record also ending Morecambe’s unbeaten record on their travels, running out 3-1 victors. A Peter Hanson goal for the Bantams was enough in the first half. The score remained tight until the 80th minute – Kyel Reid doubling their lead to set-up a frantic finale. Morecambe must have thought they had hope when Jack Redshaw got a consolation but Bradford made it 3-1 in the dying minutes – a 20-yard free kick from Gary Jones hitting the back of the net and giving Bradford all three points.
There were also narrow victories for Cheltenham, beating free-falling Oxford 2-1; Gillingham remained top of the table after winning at home to Southend 1-0 in what was a controversial encounter. Barnet stay bottom of the league having lost 1-0 away to Aldershot and Torquay beat AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow by a solitary goal. The Dons have subsequently relieved both manager Terry Brown and his assistant Stuart Cash of their duties.
Tonight Burton Albion take on newcomers York, where a win for either side would take them into the playoffs.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Football League Two round-up: 15/09/12

Whilst it remained the same at the top and bottom of the League Two table, it was another weekend of surprises and more importantly goals.
Gillingham continued their unbeaten record thumping Bristol Rovers at Priestfield – the Gas still looking for that first victory to kick-start their campaign. A Danny Kedwell double in the opening 15 minutes for the hosts was followed by a Charlie Lee goal on the stroke of half time. With the visitors left with it all to do, Chris Whelpdale added salt to the wound, with a fourth goal in the 82nd minute. Another three points – and clean sheet – for Martin Allen’s men; Rovers remain in 23rd with two points from a possible 18.
There was a surprise at the Pirelli where Burton played hosts to Oxford. After winning their opening three games, the visitors have hit a slump, and a 4-0 loss at the weekend consigned them to a third consecutive defeat. A goal in each half for Calvin Zola and Jacques Maghoma ensured Burton remain in 10th, Oxford in 11th.
Meanwhile Chesterfield picked up their first win of the season when they played fellow relegated side Wycombe. The visitors always knew it would be a tough ask after Leon Johnson was sent off after 10 minutes for a foul on Marc Richards, through on goal. The home side made their man advantage count: Chris Atkinson netting on his debut. The Spireites were two goals to the good at half time as Jack Lester added to their tally. Not even a Neal Trotman own goal could spark a Wycombe come back and Chesterfield got their third just five minutes from time – a Sam Hird header giving them three vital points.
Barnet remain bottom of the Football League after a fourth successive defeat, this time at the hands of Bradford City. The teams went in level at the break but it only took the Bantams two minutes to grab a goal – James Hanson with a header. Bradford scored all three of their goals in 10 minutes: Alan Connell doubled their lead after Bees keeper Graham Stack couldn’t hold on to a loose ball before another header, this time from defender Andrew Davies secured all three points. The table, even at this early stage, makes grim reading for Bees fans.
Elsewhere there were goals galore at Home Park where Plymouth took on Port Vale and Whaddon Road where Cheltenham entertained Southend. Both matches saw the visitors run away with all three points despite being a goal down early on. Port Vale went in at the break with it all to do, as Plymouth’s Robbie Williams netted a 30-yard strike. It wasn’t until halfway through the second half that Vale got their equaliser – a Jennison Myrie-Williams penalty. And Myrie-Williams turned provider for their second, Ashley Vincent putting them ahead. It was two goals in four minutes that won it for the visitors with Ben Williams also on the score sheet. Vale are now undefeated in four matches. Meanwhile three goals in eight minute either side of the half term secured the points for Southend although it was the Robins who were winning – Jermaine McGlashan with their goal. Sean Clohessy equalised for the Shrimpers just before the break before a Britt Assombalonga header and Mark Phillips added a third.
Also in League Two were wins for Rochdale who beat Northampton, Fleetwood continued their good form winning against Northampton and not even a stadium ban for Steve Evans’ could stop Rotherham – 1-0 victors against Torquay.
With Tuesday night games to be played before the weekend’s action, it could all change at either end of the table. The pick of the matches include Gillingham v Southend and second versus third as Fleetwood take on Port Vale.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Two minutes with… Gillingham

This season, ‘two minutes with…’ has been slightly re-vamped – all will become clear further on. I’m pleased to introduce the first installment with Gillingham fan, James.

Had you been to Underhill before?
No, this was my first visit to Underhill.
How did you get to the game?
I got the train down from Strood.

The match
Whereabouts in the ground did you sit/stand?
I stood in the North East terrace.
What did you make of the game?
The game was very good, high tempo and both teams I thought had a good go at it. The second half slowed right down compared with the first half but there was some fantastic football on show.
Who (from either side) do you think deserved to be man of the match?
Gillingham’s Deon Burton – he ran the show! His first touch was excellent all game, he held up the ball really well and capped off a brilliant performance with a goal!

Was the score line a fair reflection on the game?
Yes I think so. The first half from us was excellent, we scored three good goals. Despite having some chances in the second half, the three goals were enough
Who do you play next, and how do you think you’ll get on?
We have Bristol Rovers at home. They are near the bottom so we should pick up the three points fairly easily. With the Rainham End behind us as well next week we should maintain the top spot.

Cost of match day ticket
£13 for a Concession ––– 9/10                                                                
Purchases made at ground (food/drink/programme etc)
Programme, it was a good read ––– 9/10
Had a decent enough view, looking across the side of the pitch ––– 8/10
Quality of football
Very good football from us – we passed it around really well; Barnet passed it around well at times as well ––– 9/10
Overall experience
Very good experience, Barnet is a very good away day ––– 9/10

Total ––– 44/50

And you can follow James on Twitter, @Gillsjh

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Football League Two round-up: 08/09/12

First things first, ItsRoundAndItsWhite (link) has been re-vamped so please check it out and obviously give any feedback to the team (you can find them on Twitter @RoundAndWhite. Secondly, as one of the contributors (the list has been dramatically cut!) I was asked to round-up this weekend’s action in League Two. In case you missed it on Twitter or the website, here it is:

With a couple of local derbies, a top of the table clash and as 1st met 24th, it was always going to be an exciting weekend in League Two. With a handful of teams still awaiting that important first win of the campaign, would there be any surprises? There were of course goals – 41 in total – and it’s at Vale Park where the round-up begins with an eight-goal thriller.
Port Vale took on Steve Evans’ big-spending Rotherham, but it was former Miller Tom Pope who ended up getting all the plaudits. Four goals for the Valiants forward, two in each half saw the hosts cruise to victory. The score line was wrapped up at half time: Louis Dodds, Ashley Vincent and a Pope double saw Vale 4–0 up. A goal in each half for Rotherham, first Michael O’Connor before a Daniel Nardiello penalty saw the Valiants lead halved but a second double from Pope completed the job and it finished Port Vale 6–2 Rotherham.
Elsewhere it was top versus bottom at Underhill as struggling Barnet (still awaiting that first win of the season) took on high-flying Gillingham (unbeaten in the League so far) in the return of Martin ‘Mad Dog’ Allen. Allen got a warm reception from the home crowd following his heroics at the end of last season, but the result was always going to end up one way and it was wrapped up at half time. Two goals in a minute for Jack Payne and Danny Kedwell after some disastrous defending saw the Gills coasting. Jack Saville pulled one back for Barnet – a header from a corner – but Deon Burton restored the two-goal advantage with minutes of the first half left to play. It remained Barnet 1–3 Gillingham, but the visitors didn’t really have to try in the second half; although if they had, it could’ve ended up a cricket score!
Meanwhile at The Kassam, third took on a second in an early top of the table clash. Jamie Cureton scored twice for Exeter, who made it four league wins in a row and the visitors were three goals to the good before Oxford netted no more than a consolation through a Jake Forster-Caskey penalty. Eight minutes later and it was a case of ‘game on!’ as Alfie Potter scored to send the score to 2–3. But John O’Flynn added to the Grecians goal tally and it became an impossible task for the hosts to get back into it when James Constable was sent off. Two bookings in as many minutes with only 10 remaining on the clock but the score stayed Oxford 2–4 Exeter. Exeter remain in second, whilst defeat for Oxford sees them slip down to sixth.
There were comfortable wins for Fleetwood, thrashing Morecambe 4–0 away from home. A hat-trick for Jon Parkin, his first goals in the League for the club since joining as a free agent from Cardiff and a final fourth for Barry Nicholson in the closing minutes ensured the Cod Army had Lancashire bragging rights in their North West derby. Four goals were also scored in Essex as Southend took on Dagenham and Redbridge at Roots Hall. A straight red card as early as the seventh minute for Daggers defender Luke Wilkinson always made it a tough ask for the visitors. This was made all the more difficult when Southend opened the scoring through Britt Assombalonga, and he doubled his – and the team’s – tally before the first half was out. Dwight Gayle pulled one back for Dagenham but the Shrimpers regained their two-goal advantage and wrapped up all three points with 20 minutes remaining: a Ryan Cresswell header guaranteeing Essex would be blue and white, not red and blue!
Bristol Rovers are also still looking for their first win of the season as they could only manage a 2–2 draw at home to Aldershot, largely thanks to a last gasp equaliser by substitute Fabian Broghammer. There was a similar situation at Bootham Crescent where recently promoted York took on Chesterfield. Relegated from League One last season, Chesterfield haven’t yet adapted to life in the basement division and are the third remaining side yet to pick up a win. An equaliser for York’s Jason Walker in the fourth of six added minutes at the end of the game meant it was a point-apiece and the Spireites will have to wait until next weekend to get that important win under their belts.
So to next weekend and there are three teams looking for that first win of the season that would see them push up the table: Barnet travel to Bradford, Bristol Rovers make the difficult journey to Priestfield to take on top of the table Gillingham and two of last year’s relegated sides meet as Chesterfield play hosts to Wycombe (both currently on four points). Elsewhere it’s second versus seventh as Exeter take on York.