Wednesday, 20 March 2013

League Two round-up: 16.03.13

Things are hotting up at both ends of the table, with the gap at the top closed to four points over the weekend; while at the bottom, a single point now separates York in 19th from the rest of the following pack. This weekend’s round-up begins with those teams currently down among the deadmen: Barnet’s visit to Accrington and AFC Wimbledon’s trip to Aldershot.
A 26 minute first half hat-trick for Accrington’s Lee Molyneux left Barnet with it all to do, and Stanley ended up seeing off their rivals for three vital points. They ended the weekend still rooted to the bottom of the division though. Molyneux’s first came as early as the eighth minute after a mix-up between the Bees’ defenders allowed him to slot past Graham Stack. He doubled the hosts’ lead on 25 minutes, through a powerful long-range effort before completing his treble from the penalty spot after Chiro N’Toko fouled Francis Jeffers. Barnet managed to pull one back before half time, with Elliot Johnson netting his first senior goal for the club. A comeback looked likely when Ross Jenkins’ spectacular overhead kick went in with 25 minutes remaining, but the Bees were reduced to 10 men when player/manager Edgar Davids was shown a second yellow card. Both Barnet and Accrington now sit on 40 points.
As do Aldershot, who occupy the second relegation spot following their narrow defeat to AFC Wimbledon. The Dons took the lead through top scorer Jack Midson’s chip with 72 minutes played and their win was their third in succession.
Of the other teams down in the basement, Plymouth beat play-off hopefuls Fleetwood – victory moving them out of the bottom two – and struggling Torquay earned a valuable point against Southend. Both teams also finished the day on 40 points.  At Home Park, Argyle went into the break with a two goal buffer: Paul Wotton’s penalty handing them the lead midway through the opening period, before Jason Bantam made it two with his low shot from 20-yards. Fleetwood managed to pull one back late on through David Ball, but they ended the game a man light after Paul McKenna was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
Meanwhile In Essex, Southend’s late play-off push suffered another blow after they went ahead against Torquay, only to end the game with a solitary point. In the opening 10 minutes the Shrimpers went ahead through fans favourite Freddy Eastwood, but Joss Labadie levelled the scores in first half stoppage time. The Gulls still haven’t won in 11 games.
Moving up to the business end of the table, Port Vale are back to second following their win against out-of-form York. There were also wins for Cheltenham – who beat Rotherham – and Exeter, another of the play-off contenders. A goal in each half for Vale contributed to their first win in six – Jennison Myrie-Williams putting them in front early on. The winger (who hadn’t scored since January) could have made it two had Michael Ingham failed to save his spot kick. Lee Hughes’ close-range effort three minutes after the break sealed the points and puts the pressure back on Gillingham.
Cheltenham’s huge win over Rotherham sees them move up to fourth, the home side going ahead after half an hour through Jermaine McGlashan’s volley. Marlon Pack doubled their lead before the interval, with Steve Elliot later completing the scoring – thanks to a blunder from Millers’ keeper Andy Warrington. Rotherham occupy seventh place with a six point gap between themselves and Southend.
Exeter, too, ran rampant on home soil as they kept their promotion dream alive against Bradford, who will probably have to settle for mid-table after their celebrated cup run. Bantams’ keeper Matt Duke spilt a corner and his own goal put the Grecians in front. The hosts went in at the break with a two-goal advantage with Lawson D’Ath heading home on his debut, after arriving from Reading. Although the travelling side halved the deficit - Kyel Reid from a corner - Exeter killed the game off with two late efforts. Scot Bennett’s close-range attempt restored the Grecians’ two-goal cushion, with John O’Flynn later making it four. Exeter now sit three points from automatic promotion.
Gillingham remain league leaders but they had to come from behind against Morecambe. Jack Redshaw put the Shrimps ahead before half time but his effort was cancelled out by Bradley Dack.
Also at the bottom, Burton slipped to third after their game against Dagenham & Redbridge once again finished a goal apiece. Lee Bell’s deflected shot put the Brewers ahead at Victoria Road, only for Josh Scott to make things level after the break with his solo effort.
Two second half strikes for Bristol Rovers’ Ellis Harrison handed them victory against Rochdale as they continue to climb the table. After firing in from 20 yards out, Dale equalised through Michael Rose, but 10 minutes later Harrison made it two for himself and the Gas: a poorly defended corner allowing him to pounce and slot home. Rovers are now 14th, while Rochdale lie in 17th.
There was also a win for Chesterfield at the weekend with a single goal separating them and Oxford. Marc Richards netted as early as the fifth minute for his first goal since January, moving the Spireites within a place of their opponents – they now sit in 10th and 11th place respectively.
Wycombe and Northampton’s clash at Adams Park had to be postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
There are six games on Tuesday night:
Accrington v AFC Wimbledon
Bradford v Wycombe
Rochdale v Gillingham
Southend v Plymouth
Torquay v Chesterfield
Barnet v Fleetwood (8pm kick-off)

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