Even though it was FA Cup weekend with teams in Third Round action, there was still a healthy programme of League Two matches (notwithstanding the handful of teams hoping to secure a place in the Fourth Round). The round-up begins with two clubs at the wrong end of the table who provided the shocks of the weekend: AFC Wimbledon and Barnet.
AFC Wimbledon moved out of the bottom two following their win at playoff hopefuls Rochdale, also securing their first back-to-back victories of the season. The Dons went ahead early in the second half – Paul McCallum was allowed to side-foot the ball into the net after the hosts failed to clear from a corner. There was no way back for Dale once Joe Rafferty was sent off for a second bookable offence, but in the end the one goal settled it. Wimbledon still sit precariously above the drop zone, but they have games in hand over a number of teams struggling at the wrong end of the table.
Meanwhile at Underhill, Barnet were back to winning ways; Bradford could almost be forgiven for staying in first gear, with one eye on their midweek League Cup semi final with Aston Villa. A rather uneventful first half sprang to life just before the break, the Bees going ahead when Taiwo Atieno scored his first goal since joining as a free agent – a tap in from Elliot Johnson’s low cross. The home side doubled their lead three minutes into the second period – Ricky Holmes teeing up John Oster on the counter attack. The Bantams drop a place to eight, which sees them outside of the playoffs, albeit on goal difference.
Keeping with the bottom half, there were also good wins for Dagenham & Redbridge and Wycombe. 16th met 17th at the Crown Ground where Accrington hosted the Daggers and the away side took the lead after 20 minutes through Matthew Saunders. His header from Medy Elito’s cross separated the sides going in at the break. A second half goal by Luke Howell doubled the travelling side’s advantage – a win that sees them put an end to a run of three successive defeats.
Wycombe had to fight back after going a goal down to Chesterfield at Adams Park. Jay O’Shea’s powerful strike gave the Spireites the lead before the half hour mark but before the opening forty-five was out, Wanderers levelled – Kourtney Hause, with two goals in as many games, scrambling the ball over the line. The match then swung in the hosts’ favour and Jo Kuffour scored what proved to be the winning goal, flicking the ball past Tommy Lee between the Chesterfield sticks.
Moving to the top of the League Two table and it’s pretty much ‘as you were’, with Gillingham leading ahead of Port Vale – both teams winning again this weekend. The Gills enjoyed a comfortable victory against the division’s bottom side, Bristol Rovers. They took the lead as early as the third minute when an effort by Chris Whelpdale landed in the top corner. And the league leaders doubled their advantage after the break – a Deon Burton goal compounding the misery for the Gas and their home support.
Managerless Plymouth continued their slump and finished this weekend in the bottom two after their emphatic defeat at Port Vale. Vale went ahead through Jennison Myrie-Williams’ 20-yard shot towards the end of the first half and they were handed a further advantage minutes later when Argyle’s Nick Chadwick was dismissed. It took until the 55th minute for the game’s second goal to arrive and it was again for the home side – the division’s top scorer Tom Pope with a powerful header. With less than 15 minutes left to play, Pope turned provider for Ben Williams who tapped in a third, before the man of the moment scored his second of the game – his 25th of the campaign. Yesterday, Argyle appointed John Sheridan as their new boss.
With no points shared this weekend, there were also wins for Northampton and Exeter. A brace for Jake Robinson helped the Cobblers to victory at Sixfields. Two goals before half time, a header from Chris Hacketts’ cross and a low drive from the edge of the box, put the hosts in control. A third was added by Clive Platt early in the second period and while Fleetwood left it late to register, Jamie Allen’s goal proved a mere consolation. The loss puts an end to the Cod Army’s run of five games without defeat, while it’s good news for Northampton who’ve now won three on the bounce.
Exeter move into fifth after their win against York. The Grecians were gifted the lead in the 14th minute when on-loan winger Alex Rodman put past his own keeper but the Minstermen levelled five minutes later – Michael Potts was quickest to pounce once Matty Blair’s shot was parried. A second half goal by Exeter’s Jimmy Keohane secured the victory and sees them finish the weekend in the playoffs.
There’s a single game in League Two on Tuesday night as Morecambe host Dagenham – a game previously postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Looking forward to Saturday’s matches, the top two meet with Port Vale travelling to Gillingham. At the wrong end of the table there a number of exciting games in prospect with teams desperate for points. They include Wimbledon v Wycombe, Aldershot v Accrington and Plymouth v Morecambe.