A goal-laden League Two weekend produced some superb displays. The top two enjoyed resounding home wins, while Oxford ensured at least a stay of execution for Chris Wilder, after they destroyed Accrington 5-0 at the Kassam.
ALDERSHOT TOWN 0-3 ROTHERHAM UNITED
The time may have come for the Shots board to seriously contemplate a difficult decision, after they had their seventh consecutive loss inflicted on them by the Millers. This was a bruising home defeat, following goals from Lee Frecklington, a cracking Bob Harris free-kick, and Alex Revell. The more serious matter was the complete dearth of passion or urgency from the home side. Their own fans gave ironic cheers as their only shot on target came with just seven minutes left, with the game already resoundingly lost. Dean Holdsworth claimed some harsh words were exchanged in the dressing room, but it’s hard to see where he can go from here, as the Shots are now being cut adrift at the bottom.
BARNET 4-0 NORTHAMPTON TOWN
Cometh the hour, cometh the Pitbull. Despite reports that he demands players call him ‘Mister’ or ‘Sir’, and making himself captain for his first start in nearly two years, Edgar Davids certainly proved he is worth any and all deference, as he made a tenacious debut, dominating midfield and guiding the Bees to a long, long, long-awaited first win of the season, and a sparkling one at that. Barnet fans were rubbing their eyes in disbelief as their formerly hapless players pulled together to crush the Cobblers underfoot, with second half goals from Krystian Pearce, Andrew Yiadom, John Oster and Anthony Edgar sealing a stupendous win; the last two goals coming in the last minute and stoppage time. This was not enough to lift Barnet off of the bottom, but closed the gap to a very reachable four points. The only way is up for the Bees who have finally found their wings.
BRADFORD CITY 3-1 CHELTENHAM TOWN
Nakhi Wells grabbed a brace to see off Cheltenham, and propel Bradford up to fifth. Cheltenham had actually broken the deadlock just before the half-hour, after Jermaine McGlashan was fouled by Andrew Davies. Marlon Pack dispatched the spot-kick to give the away support something to cling to, but Wells equalised in first half injury time with a penalty of his own, following a Sido Jombadi handball. The Bantams seized the initiative in the second half, and Wells converted from close-range on 68 minutes, before left-back James Meredith made the game safe on 83 minutes. The result saw Bradford move to within a point of Cheltenham in the play-off zone.
BRISTOL ROVERS 3-2 TORQUAY UNITED
The Pirates cut down the Gulls, despite a brave second half comeback from two down for the away side. Bolton loanee Tom Eaves chipped Rovers in front on the quarter-hour mark, and two minutes later it was two, with Matt Lund firing home a free-kick. United’s Joe Oastler was even sent off for a second bookable offence, but this did not prevent an unlikely comeback, as top scorer Rene Howe halved the arrears, and Aaron Downes headed in the equaliser six minutes later. With Torquay fans sensing a momentous comeback, they were cut down in their prime, as Wayne Brown set up Eaves again for a clinical winner.
EXETER CITY 0-1 CHESTERFIELD
A 32nd minute Chris Atkinson header saw the Spireites snatch another excellent win for caretaker boss Tommy Wright, who is fast accruing a record a permanent manager would be proud of. Chesterfield, having garnered just four points from their opening five matches, have now added a further fourteen points from eight, and the board must be tempted to keep Wright in limbo, such is the effect his current stewardship seems to be having. Grecians boss Paul Tisdale laid into his team after this defeat, calling the performance succinctly: ‘not good enough’.
FLEETWOOD TOWN 1-1 AFC WIMBLEDON
Neal Ardley collected his first point as Wimbledon manager, as his side showed some of the former Wimbledon’s spirit to fight back from a goal down. A classy counter-attack finished by Steven Gillespie put Fleetwood into the lead, but the Dons’ Byron Harrison nodded home just after the hour to nab a much-needed point for Ardley’s army which nudged them three points clear of the drop zone, and left the Cod Army in third only by virtue of goal difference.
GILLINGHAM 4-1 BURTON ALBION
Another imperious display from the leaders saw off a Burton side who had previously been eight games unbeaten. Tom Flanagan rattled one into the top corner to set the tone, and his defensive colleague Matt Fish made it two before half-time. Albion’s resistance saw an early second-half inroad made, when Zander Diamond converted from close range, but Myles Weston scored a lovely individual third, and the game was finished off impeccably by a wonderful Joe Martin half-volley just after the hour mark. Albion boss Gary Rowett said afterwards that the Gills were confortably the best side they had faced all season, and he expected them to go up as champions. Hard to see who could disagree with that statement at the moment.
MORECAMBE 1-0 SOUTHEND UNITED
Morecambe boss Jim Bentley heaped superlatives on hot young striking prospect Jack Redshaw, who made the crucial difference with two minutes to go. Redshaw clinically finished for his third goal in two games, leaving Bentley to say that Redshaw looks ‘a real goal threat’, something he claimed they had been missing until his interventions. It’s back to the drawing board meanwhile for Shrimpers’ boss Paul Sturrock.
OXFORD UNITED 5-0 ACCRINGTON STANLEY
Chris Wilder lives to fight another day, after his Oxford side blew away an abject Accrington at the Kassam. Striker Tom Craddock wrote his name into the history books in the process, bagging four goals; the first Oxford striker to do so since John Durnin some twenty years ago. Craddock had his hat-trick within the first 36 minutes, adding a fourth late on, and the game was polished off by an Alfie Potter goal. As poor as Oxford’s recent run had been, this resounding victory sees them now just three points from the play-off zone.
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 3-1 ROCHDALE
The Pilgrims earned a third consecutive win to dispel some of the gloom that had been squatting around Home Park. The game was a tale of three penalties. Two awarded to Argyle at the beginning and end of the match, both duly converted by Guy Madjo, and one to Rochdale, which Bobby Grant saw saved by Jake Cole. Andres Gurrieri headed in Plymouth’s second three minutes after Madjo’s first penalty, and, despite the missed penalty, Dale stole a lifeline through a Dale-y, sorry, Dele Adebola. The Pilgrims did not allow any resurrection though, and the second Madjo penalty was almost on the whistle.
PORT VALE 4-1 WYCOMBE WANDERERS
An early penalty from Joel Grant did see Wycombe hold a lead until the second half, though they were reduced to ten men after Jo Kuffour’s second booking. The additional man saw the Valiants put the Chairboys to the sword in the second period, with Ben Williamson tucking away an equaliser just on the hour mark. League Two’s top scorer Tom Pope then inevitably helped himself to a brace of headers, before Ashley Vincent wrapped up the scoring. Wycombe were under siege in the second half, and may feel grateful to escape with just a minor rout.
YORK CITY 3-2 DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE
A thrilling game saw the Minstermen just edge out the Daggers at Bootham Crescent. An Ashley Chambers brace was added to by Matty Blair, cancelling out an initial equaliser from Dagenham’s defender Luke Wilkinson, who also claimed a brace in the last minute to set up a tense finale. York manager Gary Mills suggested afterwards it was a struggle to deal with the Daggers’ uncompromising style, but lauded his team’s efforts to earn the victory, after two successive draws had left them somewhat marooned in midtable. Dagenham remain six points clear of the relegation zone.