Weekend League 2 round-up

A glance back at the goings on in our division

After seeing the national team go top of World Cup Qualification Group H with a convincing 4-0 win for Roy Hodgson’s men over Moldova at Wembley on Saturday night, there was the small matter of a full League 2 programme to get stuck into on Saturday afternoon. 

With all 24 teams in action, there was likely to be movers and shakers throughout the division on the sixth matchday of the campaign.  However, Exeter City’s 1-1 draw with Wayne Burnett’s Dagenham & Redbridge at Victoria Road saw them hold onto the fifth position that they claimed with last week’s home win over York City.  Sam Parkin got his second goal for the club and his first since the opening day victory over Bristol Rovers to cancel out Josh Scott’s opener for the Daggers.  

It was a crucial point away from home for the Grecians, while the home side were pleased to move themselves one point further away from the bottom two at this early stage of the season.  Speaking to the Daggers’ official website, first team coach Darren Currie said of his team’s performance: “When you make a number of opportunities and you feel like you have momentum, you need to capitalise on the chances you make and get the game out of the oppositions reach.  You always want more points, we are trying to get as high as possible in the table.  We’re a probably a little bit lower than we want to be at this time.”

Exeter’s nearest neighbours Torquay United were also on their travels this weekend, but unfortunately for Alan Knill’s Gulls, they were on the receiving end of the division’s heaviest scoreline of the day as they went down by a 4-1 scoreline against Fleetwood Town.  Fleetwood midfielder Antoni Sarcevic was the star of the show, with his double putting the Cod Army into a half-time control that they never looked like relinquishing in the second period.  Jamaican striker Jamille Matt followed up his Johnstone’s Paint Trophy brace in midweek by making it three with just over an hour gone as his strike made its way through a crowd of bodies before finding the net.  Torquay’s Elliot Benyon opened his account for the season with a late consolation goal, but Graham Alexander’s side managed to penetrate their opponents’ defence again immediately, David Ball crossing for Matt Blair to complete the scoring.  The victory moves Fleetwood above Exeter into fourth, prompting post-match praise from their boss: “There have been some great individual performances, but it’s been a great performance all-round.  We had it all over the pitch and deserved to take the points.”

Plymouth Argyle were the only Devon side to get all three points this weekend, as Reuben Reid scored to see off Bristol Rovers 1-0 at Home Park.  Reid has now scored Argyle’s last three League 2 goals, one in each of their three most recent league fixtures.  The striker, on loan from Championship side Yeovil Town, is currently in his third spell with the Pilgrims, and has already beaten his combined goals-output from each of his two previous spells having only played six games so far this time out – and Plymouth overtook Rovers with the win.  Speaking to pafc.co.uk, manager John Sheridan said of Reid: “I’m pleased he got the goal.  The delivery was what made the goal.  There were three or four deliveries from [Conor Hourihane] today.  I think we’ve been very good with deliveries this season, Conor especially.  We’re working hard and it’s important that we score goals from corners and set-plays.  The delivery was a great ball and [Reuben]’s there at the right place at the right time.”  Meanwhile, Rovers boss John Ward told his own side’s official website: “I thought both teams, following their midweek games, produced below-par performances and I just thought that in the first half Plymouth were there for the taking.  But we fizzled out at the top end of the pitch and didn’t really work their keeper enough.”

Chesterfield's Tendayi Darikwa celebrates his goal

There was another win for the league’s early pacesetters as Chesterfield saw off bottom club Accrington Stanley 1-0 to go two points clear at the top. After scoring late on in last week’s 2-0 success at Fratton Park over Portsmouth, Tendayi Darikwa got the winner for the Spireites as they continued their perfect home record.  The 2010/11 League 2 champions are looking like strong contenders again this term, but for Stanley, a sixth consecutive defeat in all competitions is form which they will be desperate to put right when they travel to 23rd-placed Hartlepool next week.  Manager James Beattie was nonetheless upbeat though, as he revealed that his side’s performance had brought Chesterfield boss Paul Cook to concede that ‘no side had caused as much problems’ to the home side at the Proact Stadium as had Stanley this weekend.

Both Oxford United and AFC Wimbledon recorded away victories to keep the pressure up on Chesterfield at the top.  The U’s were 2-0 winners at Burton Albion as they maintained their perfect record away from the Kassam Stadium so far this season thanks to goals from Alfie Potter and Danny Rose.  Albion’s chances of getting something from the game had taken a blow in the first half as defender Ian Sharps was shown a straight red card for kicking United’s Dave Kitson.  Kitson retaliated by pushing Sharps over, and the home side were aggrieved that no action was taken against the former Reading and Stoke City man.  Two goals from Michael Smith were the difference for the Wombles as they won 2-0 at York City by the same scoreline; Smith now has four for the season.  Boss Neal Ardley told Dons Player that it was a ‘classic away victory’ for his side, who have now won three in a row, with their only defeat so far this season coming at SJP against Exeter City.

Brian Laws and Aidy Boothroyd renew acquaintances before kick-off

Next up for the Grecians it’s a trip to Northampton Town, who were this week rescued by a late Clive Platt strike in their 1-1 home draw against Scunthorpe United.  Niall Canavan headed in Terry Hawkridge’s corner for the 67th-minute opener, but Platt pounced to tie things up and get a valuable point for the Cobblers.  “It was probably a fair result,” Town boss Aidy Boothroyd told BBC Radio Northampton.  “We are a team that is developing – I’m talking two or three months, not two or three games.”  Opposite number Brian Laws was also disappointed with the result, telling BBC Radio Humberside: “It’s not good enough because we should have had all three points today.  It should have been all wrapped up. We were very, very good, particularly in the first half.”

Jermaine McGlashan is congratulated on the first goal of his brace

There were plenty of goals on show at Whaddon Road as Cheltenham Town took on Portsmouth. Pompey were twice pegged back by the hosts’ Jermaine McGlashan – firstly after taking the lead in the fifth minute through Patrick Agyemang, and finally deep in second-half injury time Johannes Ertl’s first Portsmouth goal was cancelled out to finish up 2-2.  It was McGlashan’s first Cheltenham brace, and the encounter was the first competitive meeting between the two sides. 

Honours were even in South Wales as Newport County drew 1-1 with Mansfield Town in a meeting between the two sides promoted from last year’s Conference.  Chris Zebroski put Justin Edinburgh’s side in front in the first half with his head before a second goal in as many games from Sam Clucas brought a halt to County’s perfect home record.  There was still time for two dismissals – first Newport’s Lee Minshull was given his marching orders for elbowing Martin Riley, then the Stags’ Matt Rhead saw yellow for the second time of the match.  “It was a heated game and we got caught up in that,” Edinburgh said.  “There wasn’t a lot of football played out there.”

Wycombe Wanderers got their first away win of the season by beating Hartlepool United 2-0 at Victoria Park. Max Kretzschmar got both of the Chairboys’ goals, but Pools are still without a win this season.  James Poole got the consolation for Colin Cooper’s side, with the boss commenting on their official website: “It just felt slow and flat; I was trying to get the officials to speed up, the players to speed up but it never quite happened.”  As the Shrimpers took on the Shrimps, Morecambe kept up the momentum of last week’s 2-1 win over Plymouth with a come-from-behind win at Southend United.  Andrew Fleming equalised after Kevan Hurst’s opener, and then put his side in front at the start of the second half.  Jack Sampson sealed a 3-1 away win and Morecambe were able to see out the victory despite losing substitute Robbie Threlfall to a red card with 20 minutes left to play.

Finally, Rochdale managed to hold on for a 1-0 victory over local rivals Bury despite having Peter Vincenti sent off in the first half.  Scott Hogan had previously got the crucial goal, his third of the season for the Dale.  

Round-up  by Oliver Roderick –@olrodlegacy