Gillingham responded to their recent slip-ups in emphatic fashion, destroying Aldershot to leave Port Vale a marker for their Monday night game against Oxford. Meanwhile, the frankly incredible arrival of Edgar Davids at Underhill failed to inspire the rock-bottom Bees, who were once again stung by a thrashing.
AFC WIMBLEDON 1-2 CHELTENHAM TOWN
Former Wimbledon legends Vinny Jones and Wally Downes were on ‘Goals on Sunday’ last week, suggesting that the current incarnation of the club should appoint a former Wimbledon legend to take them forward. Step forward Neal Ardley, whom you may remember as a decent but hardly legendary midfielder/winger in the classic Wimbledon Premier League model. Having formerly worked at the Cardiff City Youth Academy, Ardley was appointed on Wednesday, but oversaw a narrow home defeat in his debut match in charge. Despite generally having the better of the game and pressing hard, Wimbledon succumbed to goals from Marlon Pack and ex-Don Kaid Mohamed, before scoring in injury time through Byron Harrison.
BARNET 1-4 PLYMOUTH ARGYLE
In a week of acclaimed arrivals, the biggest was surely ‘The Pitbull’ Edgar Davids’ arrival as joint-head coach at Barnet. He was left under no illusions as to the sheer scale of challenge to turn Barnet’s season around, as they were walloped at home by another perennial struggler: Plymouth. Perhaps mindful of the Dutch legend’s scrutinizing eye, Barnet went a goal down inside two minutes, after a penalty was conceded and dispatched by the Pilgrims’ Rhys Griffiths. By the eleventh-minute mark it was two, after Maxime Blanchard headed in, though the Bees finally offered resistance with a goal back five minutes later; David Stephens rifling home to stir the home crowd into life. The second period unfortunately saw to their aspirations though, as Argyle notched two more goals. Paris Cowan-Hall headed in the third just after the hour mark, and a cracking Luke Young free-kick made it 4-1 in the last minute. With the arrival of Davids, who may play at some point, also came the spectacular arrival of ex-Premier League striker Collins John, who is still only 26, but Bees fans may have to wait a while for his influence, as he was injured within 15 minutes of his debut! Barnet have now gone 14 matches without a victory, making the scoreline amusingly ironic.
BRADFORD CITY 1-1 YORK CITY
A frenetic Yorkshire derby, the first between these sides in some 16 years, ended all square, despite a superb individual goal by Zavon Hines lighting up proceedings. Ashley Chambers had reacted quickest inside the box to stick away a chance on the stroke of half-time, but Hines took it upon himself to beat three men and finish brilliantly in the second half to level the scores. The Bantams struck the post through substitute Garry Thompson, but a draw reflected the game fairly well, and will have pleased the Pools’ panel no end.
BURTON ALBION 1-1 BRISTOL ROVERS
Neither team will be too disappointed at this draw, as it extends Albion’s unbeaten run to eight games, and continues Rovers’ steady resurgence. The Pirates opened the scoring, ending a dull half-hour, after David Clarkson shot home from the edge of the box. Rovers’ goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was worked hard soon after, as Burton failed to find an immediate equaliser, though the second half saw the resistance fail to prevent a deserved equaliser, as Billy Kee, who was most denied in the first half, headed in a free-kick on 50 minutes. Albion’s Cleveland Taylor made a dogs’ breakfast of a late breakaway chance to win it, but this was a game of few chances.
CHESTERFIELD 1-2 DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE
Another very eyebrow-raising arrival in League Two is Luis Boa Morte at Chesterfield. Despite being very much in the twilight of his career, the Portuguese winger could definitely have an impact in League Two. Unfortunately his debut was not memorable, as the Spireites lost at home to a resurgent Dagenham, for whom it is now five games unbeaten, after making losing a habit at the beginning of the season. Sam Williams was the man with the plan for the away side, as he opened the scoring with a low shot a few minutes before the break, and curled in an excellent winner, just two minutes after Jack Lester had equalised for Chesterfield.
FLEETWOOD TOWN 0-1 WYCOMBE WANDERERS
The Cod Army were given a rude awakening, as Wycombe nabbed all three points to lift themselves clear of the relegation zone. As unexpected as the result was, given Fleetwood’s recent run of just one defeat in ten, they had plenty of time to respond, as QPR loanee Bruno Andrade, making his first ever league start, finished crisply on nine minutes. Despite this, Wycombe held out for a first clean sheet in 23 matches, as Fleetwood drop out of the automatic promotion spots.
GILLINGHAM 4-0 ALDERSHOT TOWN
A merciless display of finishing secured a resounding victory to extend the Gills’ lead at the top of the league. Charlie Allen opened the scoring in the 11th minute, and a Danny Kedwell penalty for handball was converted to double their advantage. By half-time the Gills were well and truly out of sight, as Kedwell set up Myles Weston to make it 3-0. The Shots must have a had a rollicking at half-time, as they put up much more of a fight after the break, having an effort cleared off the line, before Gillingham wrapped it up through a Chris Whelpdale effort that went in via the post. Dean Holdsworth was still emphasising positivity, but after four defeats in a row, Aldershot are a sorry state in second-bottom, while Martin Allen has plenty to grin about.
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 3-0 EXETER CITY
Herculean striker Adebayo Akinfenwa delivered the goods again for the Cobblers, as he opened the scoring with a 25th minute volley against Exeter for his sixth goal of the season. Emyr Huws, a loan signing from Manchester City, then conspired to set up roving centre-back Kelvin Langmead for a second, six minutes before half-time. The Grecians responded by going close through veteran Jamie Cureton and Arron Davies, but Town sealed the points in the second half, scoring a third through top scorer Alex Nicholls. Cobblers’ boss Ady Boothroyd sung the praises of Huws afterwards, claiming he will go on to become a ‘top, top player’, though whether he will eventually get the chance at City remains to be seen.
ROCHDALE 1-2 MORECAMBE
Morecambe’s erratic season continued in positive fashion, as they saw off Rochdale at Spotland. Dale have a poor home record this season, winning just once, and they were one down inside ten minutes, as Jack Redshaw helped himself. Morecambe were by far the dominant team in terms of possession and chances, and deservedly extended the lead after the hour mark, with former Rochdale player Redshaw claiming his brace. Dale gave their support something to cheer by reducing the deficit on 73 minutes with a deflected George Donnelly header, but they slip to sixth, while Morecambe move up to 16th.
ROTHERHAM UNITED 0-3 SOUTHEND UNITED
Rotherham were humiliated on their own turf by the plucky Shrimpers. The prolific Britt Assombalonga took time out from spending some wonga and doing the conga to stick two in the Millers’ net, first heading in from David Martin’s cross, then shrugging aside Ian Sharps’ challenge and finding the top corner. There was nearly a hat-trick for the strapping teenager, but Rotherham goalkeeper Scott Shearer managed to tip his header onto the crossbar, only to see David Martin finish the rebound ruthlessly. Rotherham had kept the game goalless until half-time, but the only way was Essex after the break.
TORQUAY UNITED 3-1 ACCRINGTON STANLEY
Torquay saw off Accrington at Plaimoor to move a place higher than their opponents in the table. Rene Howe converted an early penalty, for his ninth strike of the season, and it stayed that way until half-time. Stanley equalised just after the hour mark as Irish striker Padraig Amond notched his sixth of the campaign, but parity lasted just two minutes, as Welshman Nathan Craig delivered a cross for his compatriot Billy Bodin to convert. Any thoughts of a tense finish were eradicated by a late header from Gulls’ captain Lee Mansell.