Weekend League 2 round-up

All the points accounted for around League 2

The Grecians rose to fourth in the Sky Bet League 2 table as they grabbed a late away win over Northampton Town.  John O’Flynn’s last-gasp winner completed an impressive comeback for Paul Tisdale’s side, who had gone behind in the sixth minute to a goal from Jacob Blyth, the forward on loan from Leicester City.  Scot Bennett got the equaliser for the away side to ensure the sides were level at the break, but O’Flynn secured an important three points with his late header. 

The result was a far cry from last year’s 3-0 reverse at Sixfields, and the Grecians took their points tally to 14 from their seven games so far this season.  With Paul Tisdale describing Northampton as ‘the best team I’ve seen this season,’ Cobblers boss Aidy Boothroyd was dumbfounded at how his side managed to come out of the game pointless.  Speaking to ntfc.co.uk, Boothroyd said: “We will play a lot, lot worse than that and win games.  The simple fact is that Exeter were clinical and we weren’t but you look at our overall performance and there were a lot of positives.  We probably had five or six times the chances that Exeter had but you have got to take those chances.”

Sam Hird rounded off victory for the Spireites

Elsewhere in League 2, rampant Chesterfield continued their best-ever start to a league season by sweeping aside AFC Wimbledon 2-0 at the Proact Stadium.  Gary Roberts ran the show for the Spireites, as he scored their first with a volley in the first half before teeing up Sam Hird to head in during the second.  It would have been three were it not for the offside flag ruling out a Marc Richards goal in the game’s early stages.  It is 19 points at the top now for Paul Cook’s side, while the Dons sit in seventh, the league’s final play-off spot.

Home Park was the setting for the most one-sided result in the division, as another side in the play-off positions, Wycombe Wanderers, got their fourth successive victory in beating Plymouth Argyle by a 3-0 scoreline.  They left it late to start the scoring, though, as the deadlock was only broken when Sam Wood found the net in the 70th minute.  From there it took only four minutes for Dean Morgan to get his fourth strike of the season.  Billy Knott sealed the victory deep into injury time, leaving Argyle boss John Sheridan flummoxed.  “I haven’t had a go at them,” he said to the Pilgrims’ official website.  “I don’t think it’s the time to have a go.  But I’m very, very, very upset.  I don’t expect us to lose 3-0 at home.  We’ve been in a decent position and have been on a decent run.”

There were goals galore in South Wales as Morecambe managed a 3-2 victory at Newport County.  It was a day to forget for County defender Tom Naylor, on loan from Derby County, as he scored two own goals, each cancelling out a lead for the home side.  The Exiles had taken an early lead through debutant Billy Jones, before Naylor turned Kevin Ellison’s header into his own net – and he was again on the wrong side of the scoresheet, countering a Robbie Wilmott strike by again finding his own net.  The misery wasn’t over for Naylor though, as with just over 20 minutes left to play he brought down Ellison in the box, and watched on as Padraig Amond put the resulting penalty away.  Like Wycombe, the Shrimps are now also on four consecutive wins, but boss Jim Bentley thought this one could have gone either way, saying: “On another day it could have been 8-8. Luckily for us we got the third goal and the win.”

Sky viewers saw a delighted Jeff Stelling revelling in a rare win for Hartlepool United in the bottom-of-the-table clash against Accrington Stanley.  Jon Franks and Andy Monkhouse got the goals which propelled Pools out of the drop-zone – James Gray struck back but only to reduce the score to 2-1.  Meanwhile, it’s been just one point in the opening seven for James Beattie’s Stanley, who are now already three points adrift of the side in 23rd.  

Mansfield opened the scoring through Sam Clucas

That side is York City, who this weekend suffered a home defeat to Mansfield Town.  It all started brightly for the Minstermen, as Ryan Brobbel took just three minutes of his home debut to open his account, but a Sam Clucas penalty and a second-half goal from Ollie Palmer secured a 2-1 win to send the Stags up to eighth.  Both sides finished with ten men after an off-the-ball incident involving Richard Cresswell and Martin Riley resulted in the pair receiving their marching orders.

Burton Albion were dealt back-to-back defeats for the first time in 2013 when Portsmouth were the victors at the Pirelli Stadium.  Ricky Holmes and Simon Ferry were the Pompey goalscorers as Guy Whittingham’s side got their first away win of the season.  Albion boss Gary Rowett was left with a sour taste in the mouth upon witnessing the away side’s second goal, citing a foul from Holmes in the build-up, as he remarked: “I cannot for the life of me understand how that is not a foul.  He might not have intended it, but it’s a foul.”  Yassin Moutaouakil was sent off for Portsmouth after aiming a kick at Burton winger Jimmy Phillips; 2-1 to Pompey was the final score.

An Ian Henderson goal proved the difference between Rochdale and Torquay United, the former England Under-20 player dispossessing Gulls’ Krystian Pearce before beating Martin Rice via a one-two with Scott Hogan.  Torquay’s performance, which was a ‘whole lot better’ than that of last week according to boss Alan Knill, was not enough to earn them their first points of September.  

Friday’s match saw Chris Iwelumo earn three points for Scunthorpe United at Southend United.  Iwelumo’s header, which separated the teams in a 1-0 at Roots Hall, was enough for Scunny’s first win since the opening day of the season.  Antoni Sarcevic was on the scoresheet again in Fleetwood’s 2-1 home win over Bury, but this one was ‘good enough to grace any game in the world’, according to his manager, Graham Alexander.  Sarcevic’s goal was the equaliser to Tom Soares’ opener for the Shakers, while Gareth Evans scored the winner having been set up by man-of-the-match Junior Brown. 

Dave Kitson celebrates Oxford's first equaliser

Honours were even at Whaddon Road as Cheltenham Town and second-placed Oxford United managed two goals apiece.  Byron Harrison opened the scoring for the Robins, before Dave Kitson capitalised on a defensive error from Steve Elliott to equalise.  Terry Gornell, whose shot was parried for Harrison to get the first, got his own name onto the scoresheet, coincidentally as the rebound from another effort from Harrison.  Johnny Mullins made it 2-2 and salvaged a point for the U’s, who are now four points behind Chesterfield at the top.  Finally, Abu Ogogo and Luke Howell were the scorers as Dagenham & Redbridge saw off Bristol Rovers 2-0 at the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Stadium.

Weekend round-up by Oliver Roderick – @olrodlegacy