League Two: Weekly Round Up 28/09

Story by Aaron Bliss

More managers coming under heavy fire as the League Two season progresses. Chris Wilder is on the managerial precipice, after his Oxford side’s sixth league defeat in a row, while Bristol Rovers fans were roaring their approval as they finally won to lift themselves a little clear of danger.


After the initial post-manager bounce last time out, Wimbledon sunk back into a familiar refrain, as Stanley picked up another excellent away day victory. The familiar figure of Padraig Amond broke the deadlock with a neat chip on 25 minutes, and Peter Murphy sealed it with a superb volley on 78 minutes. Sammy Moore scored nothing but a consolation in the last minute, and it’s back to the drawing board for the lamentable Wombles.


Dean Holdsworth is another manager who may feel the prickle of pressure on the nape of his neck, as his Aldershot side extended their barren run to one win in the last eight league matches. Craig Reid had blown a chance to fire the Shots into the lead, when his shot cannoned off the woodwork, and two goals just after half-time from the Minstermen sealed their fate. Matt Blair slid in the opener, and Jason Walker picked himself up from winning a penalty to convert it. This game ended York’s own recent four-game winless streak.


A classic backs-to-the-wall defensive performance from Micky Adams’ Valiants saw Tom Pope seize on to a mistake to seal a ground out victory at Valley Parade, ending Bradford’s perfect run of home victories abruptly. Bantams’ goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin saved well from Myrie-Williams, while at the other end Nakhi Wells and James Hanson could not convert their dominance of chances into goals. Pope’s fourth goal in three matches, pouncing on a loose back-header from Gary Jones, saw Vale climb to second place.


Ady Boothroyd described the first half as the worst since he took over at Northampton. Calvin Zola had scored inside ten minutes to give Burton the lead, and apparently the visitors suffered an ear-bashing from Boothroyd, before going 2-0 down on the hour, after an unfortunate own goal from Kelvin Langmead. The Cobblers’ manager had claimed he wished his side would ‘learn to punch before being punched’, and it was certainly true here, as the two goal deficit galvanised them into action. Within three minutes they had halved the arrears, as Langmead immediately made amends by heading in a free-kick. A scrambled equaliser from David Artell had the away following roaring their delight, but within five minutes Albion had restored their lead, with the fantastically-named Zander Diamond heading home a free-kick. All seemed lost, but once more Town rose to the challenge, despite the minimal time left, with Alex Nicholls pulling the Cobblers up by their bootstraps on 83 minutes.


Darren Carter scored at the beginning and end of the game to give Cheltenham a welcome win; in the process consigning Morecambe to their fourth game without a win. A marvellous half-volley from 25 yards broke the deadlock inside 90 seconds, and Morecambe had a mountain to climb when Kevin Ellison was red carded for headbutting Town’s Steve Elliott. The game was sealed in the last minute by a low drive from Carter once more.


Tommy Wright remains caretaker manager at Chesterfield, and he has yet to taste defeat. Both goals were scored within the six minutes after the break. Chesterfield’s Tendayi Darikwa fired across Michael Poke to put the Spireites in front, but this lead was only three minutes old when it was eliminated by who else but the prolific Rene Howe, who notched his sixth of the season for the Gulls.


Wycombe’s sacking of Gary Waddock was made to look rather foolish as Dagenham seized the chance to stake a claim for their first victory of the campaign against a listless and managerless away side. Dwight Gayle clinically dispatched a Sam Williams pass to put the Daggers ahead at the break, and a handball just before the hour mark was ruthlessly punished from the penalty spot by Michael Spillane. Wycombe had a handful of chances to work their way back into the game, but saw much less of the ball, and Billy Bingham rifled one into the top corner with a minute left to seal an impressive maiden victory for the Daggers.


The Pirates stole onto the Devon shores and plundered a first win of the season, as Exeter’s erratic season continued. David Clarkson gave the visitors a surprise lead by converting a long ball from Tom Parkes after just five minutes. Grecians boss Paul Tisdale claimed the first half display was one of the finest since he took charge, and blamed aberrant errors for the defeat. Veteran striker Jamie Cureton equalised on the stroke of half-time to level matters, but Mark McGhee’s side shivered the host’s timbers once more on 69 minutes, when Artur Krysiak let substitute Eliot Richards’ shot slide past him.


Bottom club Barnet once again tasted bitter defeat, though this time they actually took the lead, before goalkeeper Graham Stack got himself sent off, leading to a penalty equaliser and eventual defeat. Jake Hyde bundled in the opener five minutes in, and the Bees support were dreaming of seeing their demoralising run of defeats finally ended, but these hopes were extinguished when Stack was red carded and the resultant penalty dispatched by David Ball. Tom Barkhuizen headed in with ten minutes remaining to flatten the away fans, and the Cod Army also struck the woodwork from a Jamie Milligan free-kick. Barnet remain stranded at the foot of the division, and are beginning to get cut off.


Gillingham’s imperious reign at the summit was finally dented with a first defeat of the season, though they did not fall easily. An Andrew Tuttle cross-shot had put Rochdale in the driving seat, but it wasn’t until Danny Jackman was sent off for a tackle on the goalscorer that you sensed it may not be the Gills’ day. Sure enough, Dale made the man advantage count by scoring a second through Bobby Grant, and, despite a late penalty from Danny Kedwell, the away side clung on to deal out punishment untasted thus far for Martin Allen’s side.


Plymouth may well be more than pleased, despite being the home side, with this draw against a dangerous Southend side. After a goalless first half, the Pilgrims took the lead with a cute finish from Alex McDonald, but this lasted just four minutes. The prolific Britt Assombalonga turned his man expertly before running clear and finishing to get the Shrimpers on level terms. Plymouth actually came closest to a late winner, and any thoughts of a Southend winner were dispelled by a late red card for substitute Barry Corr, who fouled Darren Purse.


The Merry Millers returned to winning ways with a comprehensive slaying of a dismal Oxford, who have now lost six league games in a row, after opening the season with three wins in a row. Despite falling behind to an early goal from Sean Rigg, Rotherham soon took control and struck the woodwork twice through Ben Pringle and Lionel Ainsworth, before their giant striker Kayode Odejayi was taken down in the penalty area on the half hour. Micheal O’Connor converted the spot kick, and Rotherham never looked back. It was late on before they finally took the lead though, when O’Connor drilled in from open play. Gloss was added by a third, scored by Jason Taylor in the dying moments. The only bright spot for Oxford was the return of the injured Deane Smalley from the bench. How they need him to hit form quickly.


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