Story by Aaron Bliss.
Force of nature Adebayo Akinfenwa scored a cracking treble to help Northampton see off a spirited Accrington, whilst the struggling Daggers delighted their fans with a five-star performance at home to Rotherham.
ACCRINGTON STANLEY 2-4 NORTHAMPTON TOWN
Stanley thought they had earned a fantastic comeback win, only for the irrepressible Adebayo Akinfenwa to notch a brutal hat-trick and win the game for the Cobblers. A typical Akinfenwa header had put Northampton into the lead in the 17th minute, but George Miller and Rommy Boco either side of half-time struck to put the home side into the lead, and dreaming of a crucial victory. However, they reckoned without the intervention of the hulking forward who plays like he’s dragging a fridge behind him. Jake Robinson had promptly equalised for the away side, before the big man headed in his second, and completed his hat-trick with an accomplished volley. This game was a fabulous spectacle that outstripped the two team’s dour midweek draws.
ALDERSHOT TOWN 0-2 BRADFORD CITY
Bermudan hotshot Nakhi Wells shot Bradford to victory again, to leave Aldershot marooned at rock bottom of League Two. Each team had endured a goalless draw in midweek, but Wells’ quickfire first-half brace saw to this contest. He dominated the game in fact, also striking the post with a bicycle kick on his hat-trick. Dean Holdsworth, dead man walking to some, still kept up the positive talk after the game, while the Bantams’ steady promotion push sees them sitting snugly in fourth.
BRISTOL ROVERS 3-2 CHESTERFIELD
Bristol Rovers followed a midweek 3-2 reversal at home to Southend with a 3-2 victory over Chesterfield. The Pirates had Tom Eaves to thanks, as he grabbed two assists, as well as the winning goal. Just five minutes had elapsed when Eaves’ cross was turned into his own net by Chesterfield defender Sam Togwell, though Mark Randall levelled the game fifteen minutes later with a free-kick that Neil Etheridge will not be proud of letting in. Joe Anyinsah notched to put Rovers back in front on the hour mark, but just five minutes later the game was back on a knife edge, as Brighton loanee Brennan Dickinson equalised for the away side. As time ticked away, it looked every inch a pulsating draw, but Eaves had the last laugh, seeing his twenty-yarder deflected into the net for an 80th minute winner.
CHELTENHAM TOWN 1-0 BURTON ALBION
A scrambled 86th minute Chris Zebroski goal was enough to see Cheltenham Town build on their excellent midweek point away at leaders Gillingham. Three wins and a draw in the last four have seen them rise to third place, while Albion just hang on inside the play-off zone.
DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE 5-0 ROTHERHAM UNITED
An inexplicable demolition of Rotherham by the formerly struggling Daggers thrilled their fans, and followed on from an excellent midweek away win at Oxford. Dwight Gayle opened the scoring after just five minutes with a thunderous effort, and it was added to before half-time by Luke Howell, who claimed his brace on 75 minutes. Medy Elito and a second from Gayle sealed the rout, which Millers’ manager Steve Evans described as ‘a shambles from start to finish’.
EXETER CITY 2-2 FLEETWOOD TOWN
Steve McNulty headed in Dean Howell’s free-kick just before the quarter-hour mark to give the Cod Army the lead in this first fixture between the sides, but veteran Jamie Cureton squared things eleven minutes later with a classic finish. Barry Ferguson set up his namesake Barry Nicholson to finish as Fleetwood took the lead again before the break, but the Grecians rose again to share the spoils through a John O’Flynn penalty just before the hour mark. Exeter will be pleased at their comeback on the back of a midweek victory over Wimbledon.
MORECAMBE 4-1 BARNET
The Davids revolution stalled somewhat as Barnet were crushed by Morecambe. The Bees had come off the back of a ground-out midweek win against Torquay, but were brought crashing back down to earth as Kevin Ellison and Andy Fleming put the home side into control inside ten minutes. The Shrimps were always in control, and made the scoreline resounding with another couple of quickfire strikes in the 81st and 86th minutes, through two Richard Brodie penalties, for foul and then handball, before Barnet scored a late late Jon Nurse consolation.
OXFORD UNITED 0-0 TORQUAY UNITED
Oxford fans suffered through another mediocre display of finishing to leave manager Chris Wilder once again staring into the abyss. Peter Levin and James Constable were among the worst offenders as the U’s drop to 17th. The Gulls meanwhile will simply be glad to grind out a point after losing at Barnet in midweek.
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 2-2 GILLINGHAM
Gillingham showed all their fighting spirit by scoring at the death to claim a point when all looked lost, and though this followed a midweek draw, their closest challengers Port Vale have matched their results, and thus gained no ground. Curtis Nelson and a superb Luke Young goal put the Pilgrims ahead twice, only for Ben Strevens to level first, and Adam Barrett to score a dramatic equaliser seconds before the whistle. Plymouth nudged up to 19th with the point, while the Gills still lead the way.
SOUTHEND UNITED 0-0 PORT VALE
The Valiants missed another opportunity to close the gap on Gillingham, as they drew a blank in Essex. Vale goalkeeper Chris Neal kept the away side in it with an accomplished display, denying Gavin Tomlin more than once. Tomlin was cursing his luck, as he also struck the woodwork twice, while late on Vale forced a double save from Paul Smith.
WYCOMBE WANDERERS 1-2 ROCHDALE
A rapid counter-attack saw Dale take an early lead through Ashley Grimes, before Wycombe struck back through Joel Grant on 25 minutes. In a game littered with bookings and chances, it seemed as if it may end in deadlock, but in the 92nd minute, Bobby Grant fired in a shot that deflected agonisingly in off a Wanderers’ defender for a priceless win; firing Rochdale into the play-off places as a result.
YORK CITY 0-3 AFC WIMBLEDON
Wimbledon claimed an unexpected but hugely welcome away day victory, ending York City’s six-game unbeaten run in the process. Neal Ardley’s side were superior in every aspect, and took the lead through Byron Harrison, before Stacy Long doubled the advantage. Charlie Strutton was brought down late on to allow Jack Midson to dispatch a penalty; adding gloss to a fine triumph for the Wombles.