Monday, 10 December 2012

League Two round-up: 08/12/12

The game of the weekend in League Two undoubtedly came at Sixfields, where Northampton took on Cheltenham. The hosts were two goals up in the opening 15 minutes – their first came from a predictable source, Adebayo Akinfenwa, with his 13th of the campaign after a minute and a half had been played. The Cobblers were gifted their second when Robins’ defender Billy Jones put through his own net. The deficit was reduced 10 minutes later when Darren Carter’s close-range effort went in and he turned provider for Cheltenham’s equaliser – Chris Zebroski’s header levelling the scores. The visitors’ turnaround was complete late in the second half when Darryl Duffy fired home. Victory for Cheltenham sees them remain in the top three, while Northampton slip to 12th.
Five goals were also scored at Spotland were Rochdale entertained Exeter. The Grecians’ win moves them to within a point of the playoffs and victory was ensured at half time despite Dale’s comeback. Pat Baldwin opened the scoring halfway through the first forty-five, before a brace from John O’Flynn had them cruising at the interval. His first came before the half-hour mark, after converting Jamie Cureton’s cross and 10 minutes later he doubled his tally, sending Exeter into the half time whistle 3-0 up. Rochdale hit back in the second half – Terry Gornell with both their goals. After pulling one back, it took until the closing minutes for Gornell to net again but any chance of a very late equaliser were scuppered when in stoppage time, he turned villain. A wild kick on Kevin Amankwaah saw Gornell shown a straight red and Dale had to see the final minutes out a man short.
Gillingham remain top of the league following their 2-1 win away at Rotherham, but their victory was marred by the injury to Brighton & Hove Albion loanee, Romain Vincelot, which saw a lengthy stoppage. A double from former Miller, Deon Burton, helped the Gills to their first league win in three. Burton’s opener came early in the first half after he latched on to a throw-in before his individual effort doubled the Gills’ advantage in the second period. Rotherham pulled one back through Jason Taylor’s 18-yard shot but the game was stopped for 10 minutes midway through the second half when Vincelot clashed with Taylor in the air – the Gillingham midfielder was eventually stretchered off in a neck brace before leaving for hospital. After being knocked unconscious, Vincelot travelled home with the squad.
The Gills also extend their lead at the top from two to five points after Port Vale (who stay in second place) lost their first in seven league matches against Chesterfield. Jay O’Shea fired the Spireites ahead before the break, with Tendayi Darikwa doubling their lead in the second half. Victory for Chesterfield sees them move up into the top 10.
Staying with the top of the table, a late goal from Bradford keeps them in the playoffs, but Torquay made the task easier once Brian Saah was shown a straight red for his elbow on James Meredith. Despite holding out until the 85th minute, the Gulls were denied a point when Alan Connell’s volley stole victory for the Bantams.
There’s no change at the bottom with Barnet still propping up the rest of the division. They faced fellow strugglers AFC Wimbledon, with both teams desperate for all three points. Jake Hyde put the Bees ahead with his sixth goal of the season after he turned in Ricky Holmes’ cross at the near post. Stacy Long equalised late on for the Dons giving both teams a share of the spoils and keeping Wimbledon a point above the drop zone.
Elsewhere in the basement, Aldershot picked up a point to see them out of the bottom two, with Bristol Rovers taking their place following their defeat at home to Dagenham & Redbridge. Sam Williams’ 12-yard volley was enough to secure the points for the Daggers and sees them move 10 points clear of relegation, also consigning the Gas to 23rd place. Meanwhile, a late equaliser for Aldershot gave them a point at the Kassam. Adam Chapman scored his first goal of the campaign, putting the home side in front with just over half an hour played. Substitute Adam Mekki’s curling strike had the Shots level with five minutes remaining and Oxford finished the game with 10 men after Simon Heslop was dismissed for his foul on the Shots’ goal scorer.
There was also a surprise win for Plymouth – their first in seven league matches – against York, who have recently slipped down the table. Argyle took the lead when Jamal Fyfield turned into his own net, following a goal-mouth scramble and Nick Chadwick scored in the last minute to wrap up the victory.
A last minute header from Morecambe’s Jack Redshaw denied Wycombe all three points in a game where the hosts were leading. A goal in each half for Dean Morgan put the Chairboys two goals to the good. His first came from the edge of the box on 20 minutes. Despite having Joel Grant sent off for a rash challenge before the first half was out, Wanderers extended their lead early in the second period. Less than 10 minutes later and their lead was halved, with Richard Brodie on the score sheet and the Shrimps allowed their man advantage to count when Redshaw netted for a point a-piece.
In Sunday’s game, Burton moved within a point of the playoffs after they defeated Accrington Stanley. A tenth minute goal from Billy Kee secured the Brewers all three points. And finally in League Two, Fleetwood and Southend played out a goalless draw in Graham Alexander’s first game in charge for the Lancashire outfit.
Looking to Saturday’s games, Exeter meet Plymouth in a Devon derby; Southend host fellow playoff contenders Bradford and third meets second as Cheltenham take on Port Vale. At the bottom, Barnet travel to Dagenham, Wycombe face Accrington and Wimbledon have a tricky tie as they host Rotherham.

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