A roundup of the action around the division
Exeter City made it three wins from three home Sky Bet League 2 games this season with Saturday’s 2-1 win over York City. Alan Gow’s spectacular double proved the difference for Paul Tisdale’s men as they completed their August fixtures with victory over Nigel Worthington’s Minstermen. The win means the Grecians have taken an average of two points a game so far this term – they have amassed ten from their first five matches in what has been a positive start and as a result sit nicely in fifth in the table at this early stage.
Bury boss Kevin Blackwell
Elsewhere in League 2, the most eye-catching performance of the weekend came at Gigg Lane as Bury routed Cheltenham Town by at 4-1 scoreline. The home side went behind to an early own goal by Andrew Procter, but three goals in the space of eight minutes ensured Kevin Blackwell’s side were well in control just 20 minutes later. Procter cancelled out his o.g. in-between strikes from Danny Mayor and Nathan Cameron, before Rwandan sub Jessy Reindorf completed the scoring with a second-half header. “The fans are loving the football that we are playing,” Blackwell beamed to the Shakers’ official website following the match. “Our performances are starting to become consistent. We know as a team that there are going to be some tough games, but we want to make Bury a fortress with teams coming here and leaving us with nothing.”
Another side that recorded an impressive home win were Mansfield Town, whose 3-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge has put them in ninth. It was the Daggers who enjoyed the better of the possession, but Stags midfielder Sam Clucas got the breakthrough on 35 minutes, his header the second of two touches on Martin Riley’s free-kick to beat Chris Lewington in the away side’s goal. It was a Lewington error which allowed Mansfield their second, Jamie McGuire getting on the scoresheet, before Matt Rhead made sure of the victory after some skilful creative work from Calvin Andrew. Mansfield secured their first win at Field Mill back in the Football League after winning the Conference last year. Up next for the Daggers, it’s a home match against Exeter City on Saturday.
Armand Gnanduillet is head over heels after scoring against Pompey
The pick of the away performances in the division on Saturday was that of Paul Cook’s Chesterfield, who earned a 2-0 victory at Fratton Park over ten-man Portsmouth and went top in the process. Captain David Connolly saw red for an off-the-ball incident with Sam Hird and Pompey were punished, firstly by a header from Ivory Coast international Armand Gnanduillet and then a sweetly-struck Tendayi Darikwa effort. Both of the Spireites’ goalscorers came off the bench, prompting manager Cook to tell Spireites Player: “The two lads played really well against Sheffield Wednesday together and I said on the bench, why don’t we give them a go up there? At the minute, I probably look like a great manager because the subs are working.” Cook made sure to keep the club’s supporters grounded, though, insisting, “I’m sure, soon, they won’t work and that’s football.” Home boss Guy Whittingham said: “I think he was wound up by one or two decisions that he didn’t get”, referring to his skipper’s dismissal.
Neither of Exeter City’s Devonian neighbours picked up a win this week. Torquay United found a miserly Hartlepool defence in their way in their match at Plainmoor, as Jordan Chapell was denied by a goal-line clearance from defender Neil Austin, while Derby County loanee Callum Ball was also denied, this time by Christian Burgess, as the game ended 0-0. Gulls manager Alan Knill, speaking to torquayunited.com, said: “There are far more positives than negatives to take out of the performance and I’ve told the players, ‘if someone had said you’ll lose just one of your first five games, you’d take that’”. Pools gaffer Colin Cooper told the away side’s official website that he was satisfied with the point, even if he was frustrated with the amount of defending that his team had to do, saying, “We all agreed that if we came away with something it would be part of the job done but we did have to defend our box an awful lot”. Hartlepool remain in the drop zone.
Kevin Ellison, scorer of Morecambe's equaliser, is congratulated
Plymouth Argyle came up against a Morecambe side eager to get back to winning ways after their Capital One Cup second round exit to Premier League Newcastle United in midweek. The Pilgrims took the lead at the Globe Arena via a Reuben Reid penalty, before the Shrimps enacted a come-from-behind 2-1 win. Kevin Ellison, who had scored a double against the Grecians a week prior, equalised less than a minute after Reid’s opener and Padraig Amond netted the winner, his first Morecambe goal. “The biggest let down is losing the lead,” Argyle manager John Sheridan said to pafc.co.uk. “I thought we were the better team. We get the lead, and then it’s unbelievable to concede ten seconds after we’ve just scored.” In contrast, Morecambe boss Jim Bentley said, “I’m delighted with the result. Football-wise, we’ll probably play better and lose. What we showed today was the ugly side of the game.” The Pilgrims and the Gulls are now 15th and 16th respectively, each with identical points and goal difference tallies.
Oxford United’s 1-1 draw with Rochdale means they slip to second. Things started well for the U’s at the Kassam Stadium as the ever-reliable James Constable beat Josh Lillis with the rebound from a Danny Rose shot, but Matt Lund headed a second-half equaliser for Dale, who got their first away point of the season. Fleetwood Town’s 2-0 away loss at AFC Wimbledon means they slip from third to sixth; a Harry Pell penalty and a second from Charlton loanee Michael Smith completed the Dons’ third successive home win, propelling them up to fourth in a match that boss Neal Ardley cited as their ‘best performance’ during his time as boss. And Burton Albion’s 1-0 win over bottom club Accrington Stanley puts them third, one place above last season’s finish of fourth. Adam Reed scored very late into second-half stoppage time to win this one for the Brewers, with Jimmy Phillips’ injury the cause of the extra minutes.
Despite a 2-1 away defeat to Wycombe Wanderers, Southend United remain in the play-off places. Dean Morgan’s headed opener was cancelled out by the Shrimpers’ Freddy Eastwood, but Steven Craig’s goal on 32 minutes earned the Chairboys their first three points since the opening day. Newport County dropped out of the top-seven with a 1-1 draw at Glanford Park against Scunthorpe United, as Andrew Hughes’ first goal in three years cancelled out Sam Winnall’s early header for the Irons. Finally, Tom Lockyer’s second-minute header earned Bristol Rovers all three points at home to Northampton Town, as the Cobblers picked up six yellow cards, had three unsuccessful penalty appeals and lost Roy O’Donovan to a late red card.