With the 2012/13 campaign rapidly drawing to a close, there were a handful of games on Tuesday night, including Saturday’s postponed clash between two relegation-threatened clubs, Torquay and Barnet.
A tense battle at Plainmoor saw the Gulls emerge on top and consign their opponents to a place in the bottom two ahead of the weekend’s penultimate fixtures. Elliot Benyon’s header separated the sides going in at the break before substitute Jake Hyde equalised with his first touch. Torquay restored their lead just minutes later – Billy Bodin lashing an effort home on the hour mark – before making it three, Brian Saah increasing the hosts’ advantage. Hyde bagged a second for the Bees to set up a nervy closing 10 minutes, but it remained Torquay 3 Barnet 2. Now sitting a point behind Torquay, York and AFC Wimbledon, the Bees have two games to mastermind a ‘great escape’ for a fourth successive season.
Aldershot remain rooted to the foot of League Two and four points from safety following their home defeat to Southend, who could still make the play-offs. Two second half goals handed victory to the Shrimpers – their first win under new boss Phil Brown. With 20 minutes remaining, Barry Corr was on hand to convert following a goal mouth scramble and the points were sealed with Britt Assombalonga converting a spot kick after he was fouled by Troy Brown. Four points now separate Southend and the play-off places, but a berth in the top seven looks increasingly unlikely at this late stage.
Also at the foot of the table, a much-needed win for Plymouth sees them edge closer to survival, after Argyle picked up maximum points against John Sheridan’s former club Chesterfield. A spectacular curling effort from Joe Bryan gave the Pilgrims the lead after 20 minutes and before the half hour mark their advantage was doubled – Curtis Nelson netting from close range. Guy Branston’s own goal halved the deficit in the second half, but it wasn’t enough. The Spireites remain 9th, level on points with Southend.
In Tuesday night’s Yorkshire derby, bragging rights finished with Rotherham, who also move up to third and the final automatic promotion spot, having defeated neighbours Bradford. The Bantams had two goals disallowed in the first half, which ended goalless, before Rotherham broke the deadlock 10 minutes from the final whistle. After Michael Nelson handled in the area, Lee Frecklington put away the resultant spot-kick and the win was sealed in the fifth minute of time added on, when Kieran Agard netted. Bradford continue to occupy the final play-off place.
In the only other game of the evening, Northampton’s hopes of automatic promotion were dealt a blow after they were held 0-0 by Wycombe at Adams Park.
Looking ahead, Saturday sees the penultimate fixtures for this season. Port Vale can secure automatic promotion with a win over Northampton while Plymouth and Rotherham meet at Home Park with both teams needing points at opposite ends of the table. Meanwhile down in the basement, Barnet host Wycombe (their final game at Underhill), Aldershot face Dagenham & Redbridge, Wimbledon travel to Gillingham and York entertain Southend, with five of the teams listed seeking to avoid the dreaded relegation trap door.