Weekend League 2 round-up

All the action from around the Grecians' division

It was a disappointing day for Exeter City as they went down by three goals to nil at home to Hartlepool United at St James Park.  Colin Cooper’s side took their third away in over the space of eight days with their victory, as goals from Jack Baldwin, Luke James and star performer Jack Compton put some distance between Pools and the teams in the Sky Bet League 2 drop zone. 

Exeter slipped three places to sixth, but nonetheless remain just three points off Chesterfield who still hang on to the top spot.  Following the match a delighted Cooper spoke to Pools Player, telling them: “I think that was an outstanding away performance.  We all agreed at half time that they started the better and had us on the back foot but Jack’s goal set us up and from then on in I think we did terrifically well all afternoon.”

The day’s televised lunchtime kick-off saw Plymouth Argyle draw 1-1 with Portsmouth in the match billed as the Dockyard Derby.  Conor Hourihane was the benefactor from Yassin Moutaouakil’s mis-hit in his own penalty area as Plymouth took the lead, but Jed Wallace found the net to ensure Guy Whittingham’s side would head home with a point.  

Argyle meet Hartlepool next week, and assistant manager Gary Owers told the club’s official website: “We’d like to have won more games.  This was a tough game today.  The fact that it was on television just put a little bit of edge on it.  We’ll try to go to Hartlepool next week and win.” 

Pompey’s winning streak comes to an end, having won twice this past week, but Whittingham was pleased with his players.  “I thought the result was fair.  They started better than us and we were getting used to their system of three at the back,” he told portsmouthfc.co.uk.  “We got the goal at the right time – scoring just before the break gave us a boost.”

Liam Cooper opens the scoring for Chesterfield at Fleetwood

After two straight League 2 defeats, Chesterfield were denied the chance to get back to winning ways in the dying stages as Jon Parkin got an equaliser for Fleetwood Town in a 1-1 draw in the meeting between the two high-fliers.  With Manchester United manager David Moyes watching on from the stands, a Liam Cooper header looked like being enough for the Spireites to once again put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack, but former Cardiff City frontman Parkin saw to that less than ten minutes after coming on as a substitute. 

Chesterfield now lead Fleetwood by one point as the top two sides in the table.  Fleetwood manager Graham Alexander perhaps summed up the story of the match as he told BBC Radio Lancashire: “It’s the top two in the league at this moment and neither wants to get beaten by the other one.”

Wycombe Wanderers came from behind impressively to take the points in their home clash with Torquay United.  Ade Azeez got his second goal in three Torquay appearances to open the scoring, but the Charlton loanee had just a minute to wait to see his goal cancelled out, as Jo Kuffour equalised almost immediately afterward.  Krystian Pearce sent Torquay in front before the break, the defender’s first goal for the Gulls, but Paris Cowan-Hall got a double to win it 3-2 for Wanderers. 

A disappointed Alan Knill told torquayunited.com following the match: “If you give Wycombe space to play, they will use it but if you compact that space, they can’t.  We did that in the first half and played down their sides, but at the start of the second half, we just played backwards or square. We needed to make them defend and not us.”

A quickfire two goals just before half-time from James Constable and Danny Rose were the difference as Oxford United rose to third with a 2-0 win over Northampton Town.  Frontman Constable got the first in the 44th minute right before winning the penalty that Rose converted as shell-shocked Cobblers endured a few minutes they’ll want to forget.  “Five minutes of madness cost us the game,” Town boss Aidy Boothroyd told ntfc.co.uk.  “We created a couple of good chances, ones we should have taken, but it wasn't to be for us today.  I don't think it was a penalty for Oxford but he shouldn't have been allowed to get into that position in the first place. We huffed and puffed in the second half but the game had gone by then.”

Mansfield's Calvin Andrews battles with Bristol Rovers' Tom Parkes

There were 1-1 draws at both Field Mill and Kingsmeadow as Mansfield Town tied with Bristol Rovers and AFC Wimbledon were held by Accrington Stanley.  Lee Stevenson got his first-ever Football League goal, but the three points were snatched away from them in the 84th minute as Keiran Murtagh, on his full Mansfield debut, put Alefe Santos’ cross out of his keeper’s reach and into the net for the equaliser. 

Kayode Odejayi celebrates his Accrington goal - but the joy was short-lived

It was another late equaliser that left honours even at Kingsmeadow as Kayode Odejayi went from hero to villain, scoring Stanley’s opener but seeing a straight red card before half-time for a clash with Callum Kennedy.  Playing with ten men was a big ask for rock-bottom Stanley, but they nearly saw the game out. But their efforts took a knock as Alan Bennett finally headed the equaliser in the last ten minutes.

Rochdale's Gary Dicker tussles with Newport's Adam Chapman

Rochdale were the day’s big winners at home, as they comprehensively beat Newport County AFC 3-0.  Peter Vincenti’s first Dale goal set the tone on five minutes, and Graham Cummins also opened his account in the first half.  Bastien Héry was the last to achieve the feat as the Frenchman sealed it late in the second half.  

Freddy Eastwood strikes Southend's last-gasp winner in Burton

Former Grecian Jamie Cureton got his 250th career league goal in helping Cheltenham Town to a 2-1 away win over Dagenham & Redbridge.  Cureton got the first on the half-hour, though Abu Ogogo converted a rebound to tie things up.  Keith Lowe headed the winner with half-an-hour left to play.  Meanwhile Ryan Williams sent Morecambe on their way to a win at Bury with an impressive free-kick.  Tony Diagne made sure of a 2-0 win in injury time, putting the Shrimps now up to fourth.  Finally, Freddy Eastwood left it late to secure an away win for Southend United at Burton Albion, earning a 1-0 by getting the ball in off the post in injury time after the Brewers had lost Billy Kee to a second yellow card.

Round-up by Oliver Roderick – @olrodlegacy