With the first round proper of the FA Cup being played last weekend, it was back to the bread and butter of the league on Tuesday night, with all teams in action (barring Plymouth and Burton who met on Wednesday at Home Park). Whilst there was no change to the top of the table in League Two, there was at the bottom, which is where the round-up begins.
It was 22nd versus 23rd as Wycombe met Aldershot in an early six-pointer. Victory for the Shots would see them dump Wanderers in the drop zone, whilst a draw or loss for either side could see them bottom of the Football League – dependent on Barnet’s result, of course! Aldershot had Anthony Tonkin sent off for two bookable offences with half an hour played and to their credit, did well to hold on with 10 men. Both teams had opportunities to snatch the win: Peter Vincenti had a couple of chances he should have done better with for the hosts, whilst their keeper pulled off a fine fingertip save to keep out Chairboys’ Gareth Ainsworth. So it finished all-square at the Recreation Ground but a point was not really enough for either side and Aldershot prop up the rest of the league, following Barnet’s win against Torquay. A late solitary goal from Clovis Kamdjo was enough in a smash-and-grab for the Bees. The visitors were certainly the better side in the first half – Graham Stack in the Barnet goal pulling off a number of saves he made look routine. The hosts rallied in the second half, whilst the Gulls came off the gas and with little over 10 minutes remaining Kamdjo netted – also winning the prestigious ‘Man of the Match’ award. The stats since Edgar Davids arrival certainly paint a picture – the Bees won three points from a possible 36 pre-Davids and have since won three of their last four. Wycombe, Barnet and Aldershot are all on 13 points, with Wycombe’s slightly superior goal difference keeping them above the relegation zone – a point behind Bristol Rovers and AFC Wimbledon.
It was a third consecutive league defeat for Bristol Rovers who played out a five-goal thriller against Southend. Fabian Broghammer opened the scoring for the Gas in the 10th minute, but the visitors broke level when Marc Laird’s through-ball set up Gavin Tomlin. Southend took the lead just before the first half whistle was sounded – Kevan Hurst on the score sheet – and they doubled their advantage, courtesy of a Ryan Cresswell header. An 86th minute penalty scored by David Clarkson proved no more than a consolation for Rovers and a late equaliser looked even less likely once substitute Oliver Norburn saw red for a foul on Ryan Leonard. Meanwhile, AFC Wimbledon continue to struggle, also handing Exeter their first home win since mid-September. The Grecians had the best of the chances in the opening period and a goal just after the half-hour mark was richly deserved – Jamie Cureton smashing his shot into the bottom corner. Despite a better performance from the Dons in the second half, Exeter secured all three points when they doubled their lead and John O’Flynn struck home with 20 minutes left to play.
Elsewhere at the Kassam, there were goals galore as Oxford hosted Dagenham + Redbridge – a game which included three goals in five minutes. The Daggers were a goal up at half time – a header from Sam Williams in the 36th minute separating the sides. Luke Howell doubled their lead early in the second half when he tapped home, but Tom Craddock pulled one back for Oxford. Two minutes later, Luke Wilkinson restored Dagenham’s two-goal cushion but Craddock netted his – and Oxford’s – second on 65 minutes. In a busy period of play, Daggers’ Kevin Maher was shown a second yellow but they managed to hold on to victory and move up to 15th.
Gillingham remain top of League Two but failed to extend that lead, drawing with Cheltenham 0-0. A point also keeps the Robins in third place. Port Vale also stay in second after they played out a 2-2 draw with Rochdale. Another brace from the in-form Tom Pope – one in each half – put the home side two goals up. It took a sending off for Vale’s Sam Morsy (who fouled Jason Kennedy) to swing the game in Dale’s favour and they certainly allowed their man-advantage to count. Rochdale pulled a first goal back through Bobby Grant’s header before a long-range effort from Andrew Tutte gave them a share of the spoils.
Also towards the top, it was fourth versus sixth as Fleetwood and Rotherham met. Two goals in three minutes early on left both teams in the same position as they started. The Millers went ahead when Fleetwood’s keeper, Scott Davies, made a mess of Mark Bradley’s free kick and allowed Kari Arnsaon to pounce. But the home side levelled through experienced striker, Jon Parkin.
York and Northampton also played out a draw at Bootham Crescent, leaving the Minstermen a point away from the playoffs. It was the home side that went ahead on the 23rd minute through Matty Blair. Despite having Louis Moult dismissed towards the end of the first half, Adebayo Akinfenwa equalised for the Cobblers with a tap-in and Town managed to hold on for a point.
There were also goalless draws between Bradford, hosting Chesterfield and Accrington who travelled to Morecambe.