Weekend League 2 round-up

A look around the division at all the goals

Exeter City were unable to get back to winning ways at St James Park in Friday night’s 2-0 defeat to Paul Cook’s Chesterfield – Ollie Banks and the experienced Marc Richards got the goals that won the game for the away side and sent the Spireites back to the top of the Sky Bet League 2 table.  

Cook was of course pleased with the result, as he told the club’s official website: “We wanted to win tonight, we were desperate to win tonight to go into those two home games at Christmas in a good position.”  

The other fixture on Friday night was a 1-1 draw between Southend United and Rochdale.  Teenager Jamie Allen gave Dale an early lead before the in-form Kevan Hurst got the Shrimpers’ equaliser just before half-time, his seventh goal in his last nine appearances in all competitions.  “It was a tough game in tough conditions,” Rochdale manager Keith Hill told BBC Radio Manchester.  “I think we showed our heart and I believe that if we’d have scored a second goal, we would have won the game.  The equaliser was unfortunate, probably avoidable, but I’m relatively pleased to come to Southend and get a point.”

The big story on Saturday was the dismissal of Northampton Town manager Aidy Boothroyd after a 4-1 home defeat by Wycombe Wanderers.  Jo Kuffour took just 13 seconds to give the Chairboys the lead as he converted Nick Arnold’s cross, before Kortney Hause made it 2-0 just over ten minutes later.  Izale McLeod pulled one back to make things interesting for a while, but the away side ran away with it in the last ten minutes, as captain Stuart Lewis got number three before Dean Morgan completed the scoring.  Despite Northampton’s woes, Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth was delighted, telling BBC Three Counties Radio: “This is a huge win for us.  It’s been coming and I’ve told people it’s been coming and to beat a team like that 4-1 away from home is really special.  I got quite emotional at the end because I’ve been wanting that for so long.  Losing so many players, we were on our last legs today, but they’ve come and under adversity have given me everything and I’m so proud.”  The Cobblers are due to make a full statement on Boothroyd’s departure on Monday. 

Jermaine McGlashan rounds off the Cheltenham win in stoppage time

Oxford United missed the chance to reclaim the top spot, only managing a 0-0 draw at Bootham Crescent against York City, while fellow high-fliers Fleetwood Town were beaten 2-0 at home by Cheltenham Town.  The Robins’ goals came in the first minute and the last – Troy Brown headed in Matt Richards corner after less than 60 seconds, and Jermaine McGlashan took the ball around goalkeeper Scott Davies and converted to complete the victory.  “It was disappointing to lose that early goal.  It was before we’d even started,” Fleetwood manager Graham Alexander told BBC Radio Lancashire.  “It put us on the back foot but we responded greatly to it.  I thought we created opportunities and we had chances to equalise, but goals change games.  Unfortunately we didn’t get the goal and they got one in the last minute when we were all out attack.”

Pools sub Brad Walker rescued a point against Burton

While Newport County AFC against AFC Wimbledon was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Rodney Parade, Burton Albion were another of the league’s in-form sides who were held away from home this weekend, as Gary Rowett’s side managed a 1-1 draw at Hartlepool United.  Phil Edwards seemed to have put the Brewers on course for a fourth win in five games as he found the net after eighteen minutes, but Pools sub Brad Walker rescued a point for the home side.  Nonetheless, it’s been seven games in all competitions since Albion were last beaten, and only Oxford United can better that, having not tasted defeat since the first week of November.

Caolan Lavery and Reuben Reid were both on target as Plymouth Argyle secured a 2-1 win over struggling Bury at Home Park. Chris Sedgwick chipped Luke McCormick for the Shakers’ consolation, but Argyle are now six points off the drop zone.  “It was a good goal from Caolan [Lavery],” Pilgrims boss John Sheridan said to BBC Radio Devon: “I’m pleased for him.  He’s done well to direct his shot and put it in the back of the net, and it was a great finish.  When you score the first goal it gives you something to hang onto and you’ve got a better chance of going on to win the game”.  Opposite number David Flitcroft, after his first away game as Bury boss, told BBC Radio Manchester: “It’s not going to be a quick fix.  It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.  Two years of doing the wrong things are not going to be fixed in two games.  I’ve got two years to turn it around and I’m looking forward to doing that, but it’s definitely going to take time.  Torquay United were also victorious this weekend, as an important 1-0 win at Dagenham & Redbridge lifted the Gulls out of the bottom two.  Aaron Downes headed the winner after 50 minutes, and Alan Knill’s side were able to hold on for a second consecutive win.

Ollie Clarke netted his first Bristol Rovers goal

A 2-0 home win over Portsmouth helped Bristol Rovers leapfrog their guests in the table, with Ollie Clarke’s first goal for the Rovers first team sending the Gas on their way.  David Clarkson provided the second in the final 20 minutes, with both sides now on 22 points having played 21.  Deon Burton’s double sealed also sealed a 2-0 victory, for Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park over Morecambe.  Finally, a remarkable injury-time turnaround swung things Accrington Stanley’s way as they won 3-2 at Mansfield Town in a memorable game at Field Mill.  Kai Naismith twice cancelled out goals from John McCombe, the second occasion in added time, before James Gray dramatically won it right at the death.  Mansfield are without a win in their last 12 games, the side promoted last season now just two points above the relegation zone. 
Round-up by Oliver Roderick – @olrodlegacy