Sunday, 28 October 2012

League Two round-up: 27/10/12

With Gillingham losing to Torquay and Port Vale dropping points on Tuesday night, it’d be interesting to see how both teams bounce-back, particularly given the sustained pressure from the following pack. It’s also very close at the bottom of League Two, with Barnet still holding up the rest of the league, but closing the gap on Aldershot and Wycombe above them. It was by no means an exciting weekend in terms of goals but the round-up begins with the 2pm kick-off at Sixfields.
Port Vale’s seven game unbeaten run came to an end when they travelled to Northampton, but the result was unfortunately marred by the injury to Cobblers’ striker Alex Nicholls. He put the home side ahead on 20 minutes after capitalising on a mistake by Vale’s defence. In scoring the goal, however, he was fouled by John McCombe, who saw red. After staying down, the lengthy period was followed by ambulance onto the pitch and Nicholls went straight to hospital. He’s broken both his fibula and tibia in his left leg. Northampton didn’t allow this affect their performance and doubled their lead before half time: Adebayo Akinfenwa teed-up substitute Louis Moult. After back-to-back defeats, Northampton’s win sees them move up three places to 14th.
Elsewhere, there were big wins for Cheltenham who move into the top three and Oxford who pile the misery onto caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe side. Exeter haven’t won in five and find themselves slipping down the table. They went behind early in the second half against Cheltenham – Lawson D’Ath, on-loan from Reading, scoring on his debut. A brace from Keith Lowe wrapped up the three points. Meanwhile, Oxford responded to their midweek defeat to Rochdale by putting three past Wycombe at Adams Park. The opener came as early as the fourth minute – Tom Craddock with the assist and James Constable with the finish, a half-volley hitting the back of the net. From provider to getting the score sheet himself, Craddock got Oxford’s second early in the second half before Wycombe pulled one back. Constable fouled Ainsworth and Joel Grant stepped up and converted the resulting penalty. But Oxford restored their two-goal advantage when Johnny Mullins headed in from Sean Rigg’s cross. Wycombe remain above the relegation places, on goal difference only.
Barnet made it seven points from nine and three consecutive clean sheets when they left it late to score against Chesterfield. Both sides had chances and it’s fair to say Bees’ keeper Graham Stack kept the visitors in the game. The solitary goal came towards the end of 90 minutes – Andy Yiadom was brought down in the box and Mark Byrne coolly converted from the penalty spot. The Bees remain bottom, two points adrift from their rivals; the turnaround since Edgar Davids arrived is pretty remarkable though.
Gillingham remain top of League Two and extend their lead to five points following Port Vale’s loss. One goal settled it at AFC Wimbledon and it came from debutant Romain Vincelot. Brought in from Brighton and Hove Albion, Vincelot’s goal came midway through the first half and was enough to seal all three points.
Rotherham beat Plymouth to secure a third consecutive victory and keep them in the play-offs. The winning goal came in the 73rd minute from Kieran Agard. A solitary goal was also enough for Torquay to secure three points against Morecambe – also maintaining their unbeaten record at home. A strike in the 30th minute from Danny Stevens – his first of the season – and back-to-back wins sees the Gulls move into the 7th and occupy the final play-off spot. Burton move up to 8th and a point behind the three teams ahead of them, following their win against Bradford (who remain in 5th). Ricky Ravenhill was dismissed for the visitors just after half an hour played and it was always going to be a tough ask to hold on, a man lighter. The winning goal came 10 minutes from time – Burton’s Jacques Maghoma converting Damien McCrory’s cross. Accrington Stanley were the only other team to win – their first in five, and a first three points for caretaker manager Leam Richardson. A 79th minute goal from Padraig Amond sealed it against Bristol Rovers, leaving the Gas in 20th and two points clear from the drop-zone.
Elsewhere, Aldershot remain in 23rd following their 0-0 draw with Dagenham + Redbridge. The points were also shared in the North West, where Rochdale entertained Fleetwood. The visitors had Alex Marrow sent off with 25 minutes left to play, but Dale couldn’t make their man-advantage count. Southend and York also shared the points in a dull goalless draw.
With FA Cup weekend next Saturday, the next action in League Two comes on Tuesday 6th November. In the pick of the games: Aldershot host Wycombe in a bottom-of-the-league encounter, whilst at the top it’s first meets third as Cheltenham travel to Gillingham and there’s a play-off battle as Fleetwood and Rotherham meet.
As for the FA Cup, there are a number of all-League Two ties: Barnet v Oxford, Morecambe v Rochdale, Northampton v Bradford and York v AFC Wimbledon.

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