It was yet another exciting weekend in League Two this weekend with some high-scoring games, late winners and important points being won at the top and bottom of the league. This weekend’s round-up begins with league leaders, Gillingham, who extended their lead at the top to seven points.
The Gills left it late to secure all three points at Priestfield against Morecambe. Lewis Montrose put the home side ahead on 37th minutes before Jack Redshaw levelled the scores midway through the second half. A point for both sides was looking likely but a very late strike from Deon Burton handed victory to Gillingham. Post-match, Martin Allen described his side as “relentless” and the Gills have home advantage again on Tuesday night as they host Exeter.
There was also a late winner for Chesterfield. Visiting Oxford took the lead in the opening minute. Johnny Mullins’ back-post header looked set to separate the sides before the half time whistle sounded, but the Spireites equalised through Liam Cooper’s 12-yard strike after a corner hadn’t been cleared by Oxford’s defence – four minutes into first half stoppage time. And the hosts left it later to grab the winner – two minutes into the five added on at the end of the 90, to be exact – a neat back-heel set up Chris Atkinson to complete the turnaround. Chesterfield leapfrog Oxford and sit in 16th.
Elsewhere there was a five-goal thriller at the Pirelli, including two fantastic goals, when Burton played hosts to Dagenham & Redbridge. An early goal for Cheltenham wasn’t enough for them as they succumbed to a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Rotherham.
Dean Lyness, on his Burton Albion debut, conceded a penalty in the first half and although he saved Mickey Spillane’s effort, there was nothing he could do about the rebound, which Dwight Gayle coolly put away to send Dagenham in front. The home side turned it around, however, with two goals in as many minutes: first former Dagger, Damien McCrory levelled the scores with his deflected shot before the Brewers went in front through Matt Paterson’s neat finish. The Daggers thought they had secured a point with just over 10 minutes left to play – Luke Wilkinson, at error for Burton’s second goal, set up Sam Williams and his fierce shot hit the back of the net. But Billy Kee’s goal a minute later restored Burton’s lead; his volley, a worthy winner in any game.
Meanwhile, Cheltenham got off to a flyer at the New York stadium when Keith Lowe struck in the first minute. The hosts hit back immediately and a fourth minute header from Daniel Nardiello levelled the scores, before Ben Pringle put the Millers in front halfway through the first half. Nardiello got his second of the game to increase the home side’s advantage but a tap-in from Chris Zebroski gave the visiting side some hope of getting back into the game. However it was game over once a quick free-kick by Cheltenham immediately handed possession back to their opponents and allowed Lee Frecklington to net late on. The Robins remain in third, while Rotherham move up to 8th.
There were also big wins in League Two this weekend for Fleetwood and Southend. Torquay suffered their first home defeat of the season when Southend travelled to Devon. Gavin Tomlin put the Shrimpers ahead, before he turned provider for Britt Assombalonga to double their lead and the Watford loanee bagged his second before the first half was out – converting Kevan Hurst’s corner. That was his 11th of the season. Tomlin was on the score sheet again, a minute into the second forty-five, tapping in from close range after evading Torquay defenders and Martin Rice between the sticks. While a 52nd minute goal from Ryan Jarvis was no more than a consolation for the Gulls, they also had skipper Lee Mansell sent off and had to see the final half hour out a man down.
In Lancashire, Fleetwood went ahead early against Plymouth Argyle – within the opening 90 seconds, an audacious overhead kick from Jamie McGuire set-up David Ball to head home. The Pilgrims day went from bad to worse once skipper, Darren Purse was sent off following two bookable offences. The hosts allowed their man advantage to count and in pressing for a second goal, Curtis Obeng’s cross was turned in to his own net by Argyle’s Curtis Nelson, before Junior Brown bagged a third. Victory sees Fleetwood back to fourth in table. Staying in the North West, Rochdale ran away winners despite going behind against struggling Bristol Rovers. A David Clarkson penalty put Rovers ahead, after Ryan Edwards fouled Wayne Brown in the area. Those hosts levelled halfway through the opening period with Andrew Tutte netting from a corner and the winner came in the second half – Bobby Grant’s shot taking a deflection leaving Neil Etheridge little option but to pick the ball out of the back of his net again. The misery was compounded on the visiting side who received two dismissals late on – Garry Kenneth was the first to walk after two yellow cards and then a wild lunge on Ashley Grimes gave referee Scott Duncan no option but to show a straight red to Eliot Richards. Dale cement their place in the playoffs whilst the Gas remain in danger, three points clear of the relegation zone.
It was all-change at the bottom of League Two as Barnet sat in their familiar place of 22nd and Aldershot were replaced at the bottom by Wycombe Wanderers. In Friday night’s encounter at Underhill, there were former international players on both sides – Edgar Davids captaining the Bees and former England striker James Beattie on the bench for Accrington Stanley. Accrington went ahead against the run of play in the second half: a route one ball kindly finding Rommy Boco. Despite his initial shot being saved by Graham Stack, the ball fell straight back to his feet and giving Boco the simple task of slotting the ball into an empty net. The Bees equalised for the first time this season when a penalty was awarded for Lee Molyneux’s clip on Ricky Holmes. Mark Byrne’s spot kick was saved by Ian Dunbavin in the Stanley goal, before the referee ordered a re-take and at the second attempt, the midfielder put it away. The drama didn’t stop there and Barnet had to see the last five minutes with 10 men after Davids picked up his second yellow card, for his challenge on Beattie.
Aldershot, too, picked up a point when they travelled to AFC Wimbledon. Dani Lopez on-loan from Stevenage put the Shots ahead on the stroke of half time, pouncing on a corner. But 13 minutes from time, the Dons levelled – a free kick from Stacy Long going straight in.
At Sixfields, in-form Adebayo Akinfenwa was the key man for the Cobblers as they entertained struggling Wycombe. The big man scored their opener before netting from the penalty spot on the hour mark, for his sixth goal in three games. Northampton added a third to ensure maximum points, Chris Hackett this time on the score sheet. A foul by Danny East on Dean Morgan gave Joel Grant an opportunity from the spot, which he duly put away but Wanderers sit at the bottom of the league for the first time this season.
Elsewhere a solitary goal from Jamie Cureton handed Exeter victory against Bradford and Port Vale’s winless run was extended to five games as they only managed a point at home to York. Vale were two goals up at half time through Ryan Burge and a Jennison Myrie-Williams penalty, but York battled in the second half – Alex Rodman and Jamie Reed ensuring a point a-piece.
Tuesday night sees some tricky away trips: Plymouth travel to Bradford and Bristol Rovers head to Port Vale. At the bottom, Wycombe make the difficult journey to Rotherham and Aldershot also play away from home, at Burton. There’s a Lancashire derby as Fleetwood host Accrington Stanley and Barnet and Oxford meet at Underhill in a repeat of their FA Cup first round tie – on that occasion the visitors ran out 2-0 winners.