With another full-set of midweek Football League fixtures being played last night (with a couple tonight), the League Two round-up begins at Plainmoor where Torquay took on Aldershot – a game involving seven goals and a rather remarkable comeback.
The visitors were two goals to the good at half time, both coming from Craig Reid: first turning in Alex Rodman’s free kick before the half hour mark and then converting a penalty 10 minutes later. The striker completed his hat-trick early in the second half with a close range effort. The Gulls responded quickly to going a third goal behind and the fight-back was on in the following minute when Billy Bodin netted. A comeback was well and truly on the cards in the 69th minute when Ryan Jarvis hit the back of the net and a grandstand finish was set up in the final 10. The equaliser came in the 84th minute: Ashley Yeoman with his first goal for the club – a header in the six-yard box – before Rene Howe, who knows where the back of the net is, fired low into the bottom corner to send the home fans into jubilation and end what was a thoroughly exciting match!
Elsewhere, Oxford won their first League game since August and heaped misery on their managerless opponents, AFC Wimbledon. After being 2-1 down, they eventually won 3-2. Defeat for the Dons sees them remain precariously above the drop-zone. The hosts went ahead after nine minutes – Jake Forster-Caskey curling a 25-yard free kick past Seb Brown in the Wimbledon goal. By half time, however, the visitors took the lead: Byron Harrison got the equaliser with a close-range scissor kick before Jim Fenlon’s shot from 30 yards out gave the Dons the lead. Oxford’s equaliser came from Deane Smalley in the early stages of the second period but it wasn’t until the 81st minute that they secured all three points – Alfie Potter netting to give the Us their first win in six, in all competitions.
There were also decent away wins for Gillingham, who beat Northampton 2-1 and there was a similar score line at Underhill where Barnet entertained Exeter. In both cases the home sides netted late on. At Sixfields, top of the table Gillingham took the lead before half time – Deon Burton latching onto a clearance by Cobblers’ keeper Stuart Nelson – and their lead was extended in the second half when Jack Payne scored from 20 yards out. Northampton’s big man, Adebayo Akinfenwa pulled one back with under 10 minutes of the game remaining and even though the Gills had Charlie Allen sent off for a second bookable offence in the dying stages, they managed to hold on. With Port Vale drawing 1-1 with Dagenham and Redbridge, Martin Allen’s side extend their lead at the top to five points. The misery continues for bottom of the table Barnet, still looking for their first win of the season. Two goals for Jamie Cureton – one in each half – gave Exeter a two-goal advantage and it really could have been more if the Grecians came out of first gear, but they really didn’t need to! With the majority of the game played out, Jake Hyde pulled one back for the Bees – his second goal in as many games – but it wasn’t enough.
There were also away wins for Fleetwood, who took on fellow promoted side York, in their first Football League encounter and Burton who travelled to Southend. Junior Brown took the lead for Fleetwood, who have adapted well to life in League Two and the three points were wrapped up in the dying stages through Steven Gillespie. Sitting in third place, the Cod Army are level on points with Port Vale, both only five behind Gillingham. Meanwhile in Essex, the home side played the majority of the game with 10 men after John Spicer saw red for his challenge on Matt Paterson. A point a-piece was looking likely until Jacques Maghoma popped up in injury time with a 30-yard free kick. In true smash and grab style, the Brewers went home happy, going up four places and sitting in the play-offs.
Morecambe won their first home game of the season after beating recently relegated Chesterfield 2-0. The home side went ahead just before half time through Gary McDonald’s volley and doubled their advantage the other side of the whistle when Lewis Alessandra added to their tally. The win sees Morecambe climb a place, whilst defeat sees the Spireites drop a place.
Accrington’s home tie with Rotherham was called off due to a water-logged pitch, 10-man Rochdale drew 0-0 with Bradford and it was all square between Wycombe and Plymouth. In tonight’s game, Bristol Rovers host Cheltenham.