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League Two Review: Easter Weekend

When it’s Easter, it’s a football frenzy in League Two with games on both good Friday and bank holiday Monday. Were there to be any more twists and turns at either end of the table? Well here is your League Two Review:

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Good Friday – 25 March 

Northampton Town 1-0 Newport County 

Northampton kept their superior lead at the top of League Two with a narrow victory at home against Newport County. In a game of few chances, John Marquis’s first half strike was enough to send the Cobblers thirteen points clear of 2nd placed Oxford and seventeen points clear of 4th. The closest the Exiles came to an equaliser was when Medi Elito struck the bar, but Chris Wilder’s side held firm to deny the visitors a share of the spoils.


Oxford United 1-1 Stevenage

Stevenage picked up a vital point at ten man Oxford. The U’s, who lost midfielder John Lundstram early on following a rash challenge, also missed a first half penalty as Liam Sercombe saw his effort saved. But Sercombe made amends in the second half as he put the U’s ahead, but Byron Harrison’s equaliser earned the Boro a vital point in their bid to avoid the drop this season.


Bristol Rovers 3-0  Cambridge United 

Bristol Rovers kept their automatic promotion chances alive and kicking with a comfortable home win over Cambridge. Two goals in the opening twenty minutes from Billy Bodin – first a 25 yard strike before a header from Daniel Leadbitter’s cross – gave the Gas a positive start, and top scorer Matty Taylor added a third in the second half. The result keeps Rovers 3rd, whilst the U’s play-off hopes took a slight knock as they’ve dropped to 11th.

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Morecambe 0-2 Plymouth Argyle

Plymouth remain level on points with Bristol Rovers after a victory on the road at strugglers Morecambe. Chelsea loanee Jordan Houghton gave the Pilgrims a first half lead, before Shrimps midfielder Alex Kenyon was dismissed on the stroke of half time after a foul on Carl McHugh. Plymouth made the extra man count and added a second early in the second half through Jamille Matt’s tap in, from which the Shrimps were unable to find a way back into the game.


Accrington Stanley 1-0 Leyton Orient 

Accrington kept their promotion chances alive, whilst denting Leyton Orient’s in the process, with a narrow victory at the Crown Ground. Despite a goalless first half, Scott Brown opened the scoring for Stanley from twelve yards, before O’s midfielder Ollie Palmer saw an effort saved as the visitors searched for an equaliser. Stanley held on and remain 5th, whilst Kevin Nolan’s side drop out of the playoffs.


Portsmouth 4-0 Notts County 

Portsmouth recorded a comfortable win over strugglers Notts County in Mark Cooper’s first game in charge of the Magpies. Kyle Bennett gave Pompey the lead just before the break, and he added a second shortly after the restart. A Christian Burgess header and Mark McNulty lob sealed the win for the hosts to leave them five points behind Bristol Rovers, whilst the Magpies have now lost seven of their last eight games.


Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 Mansfield Town 

Wycombe remain in the playoffs after they recorded another 1-0 victory, this time at home against Mansfield. Chris Clements and Matty Blair were both off target for the Stags in a goalless first half, before Michael Harriman created space with some clever footwork before curling the Chairboys in front. Wycombe have now moved back into the playoffs, whilst the Stags hopes of a top seven finish are beginning to look slim.

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Hartlepool United 1-0 AFC Wimbledon

Hartlepool boosted their survival hopes with a victory over promotion chasing Wimbledon at Victoria Park. Adam Jackson headed the Pools into the lead, before Luke James also hit the post for the hosts. Lyle Taylor came closest for the Dons but Hartlepool held on to extend their unbeaten run to five games.


Yeovil Town 0-0 Carlisle United 

Carlisle recorded their fourth successive draw as they were held at Yeovil. In a game of few efforts, Cumbrians forward Jabo Ibehre came close but his header was off target. Yeovil have picked up some vital points recently and relegation is looking less likely as a result, but Carlisle’s hopes of a play-off finish is beginning to look unlikely.


Exeter City 1-1 Barnet 

Exeter extended their unbeaten run to six despite being held at home against Barnet. Jayden Stockley headed the Grecians ahead, but Curtis Weston leveled soon after from ten yards. Stockley also hit the post from a free kick, before Bees striker John Akinde saw his penalty saved.


York City 2-2 Crawley Town

Strugglers York came from behind twice to earn a point at home against Crawley. Matt Harrold put the visitors ahead after five minutes, but after Lewis Alessandra was fouled in the box, Luke Summerfield leveled from twelve yards. Liam McAliden restored the Red Devils advantage after the break, but Michael Coulson’s curling effort from fifteen yards restored parity to earn York a point. Despite the point however, York remain seven points from safety.


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Easter Monday – 28 March 

Mansfield Town 2-2 Northampton Town 

Northampton extended their unbeaten run to seventeen games after Chris Wilder’s side came from two goals down to earn a point at Mansfield. Two Matt Green headers from a Malvind Benning and Chris Clements free kick respectively gave the Stags a two goal advantage, but the hosts were reduced to ten men on the stroke of half time after Jamie McGuire received a second yellow. Ricky Holmes reduced the deficit from the spot after James Collins was fouled, before John Marquis leveled shortly after. Sam Hoskins could have completed the comeback late on but his effort was off target.


Cambridge United 0-0 Oxford United

Cambridge and Oxford played out a goalless draw at the Abbey Stadium. Cambridge midfielder Luke Berry headed over, before Oxford forward Kemar Roofe saw his header sail wide. Oxford claims for a penalty after Berry handled Liam Sercombe’s cross were waved away, but both sides were pleased with the point.


Plymouth Argyle 3-2 York City 

Plymouth moved back into the automatic promotion places with a win over relegation threatened York. Jamile Matt’s effort opened the scoring for the Pilgrims, before Reuben Reid doubled their advantage from the spot after Matt was fouled. A Will Boyle own goal before the break gave Derek Adams’s side a three goal advantage, but Russell Penn reduced the deficit early in the second half. A late Luke Summerfield penalty made it a nervy finale for the hosts, but they held on, leaving the Minstermen seven points from safety.

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Newport County 0-2 Accrington Stanley 

Accrington kept their pace with thefrontrunners with a victory at Newport. Billy Kee opened the scoring ten minutes before the break, before Josh Windass converted Piero Mingoia’s cross two minutes later to double Stanley’s advantage. The defeat for the Exiles was their third in succession, but the remain clear of danger.


Carlisle United 3-2 Bristol Rovers 

Bristol Rovers dropped out of the automatic promotion places with a defeat at Carlisle. Jack Stacey’s 20 yard effort gave the Cumbrians the lead, before Billy Bodin leveled for the Gas. Charlie Wyke restored Keith Curle’s side’s lead after the break, but Matty Taylor leveled again for the visitors. But Jason Kennedy lifted a late effort over the goalkeeper to give Carlisle the win, in doing so keeping their play-off hopes alive.


AFC Wimbledon vs Portsmouth (postponed due to waterlogged pitch) 


Notts County 0-0 Wycombe Wanderers

Notts County ended a run of four straight defeats by holding play-off hopefuls Wycombe to a goalless draw at Meadow Lane. Adam Campbell saw an effort saved while Jon Stead saw his effort blocked as the Magpies pressed for the opener, before Paul Hayes saw his 20 yard volley saved for the Chairboys. Wycombe remain in play-off contention, whilst Notts now look all but certain to avoid the drop.


Leyton Orient 0-2 Hartlepool United 

Leyton Orient saw their promotion bid take a hit as they lost at home against a resurgent Hartlepool side. Billy Paynter gave the Pools the lead after the break, before Nathan Thomas’s low drive doubled the visitors advantage. Trevor Carson denied Jay Simpson and Blair Turgott as the O’s looked to reduce the deficit but Hartlepool held on to extend their unbeaten run to six games.

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Crawley Town 0-2 Exeter City

Exeter recorded a comfortable away win at Crawley thanks to goals from Jake Taylor and Ollie Watkins. Taylor and Lee Holmes both came close for the visitors early on, before Taylor netted his second goal in three games. Grecians keeper Bobby Olejnik then denied Liam McAlinden, before Watkins found a second to kill the game off.


Barnet 2-1 Luton Town 

Barnet all but ended Luton’s play-off hopes as the Bees took all three points at the Hive. Despite a goalless first half, Luke Gambin curled home the opener from 20 yards to give the hosts the lead, but the Hatters leveled five minutes from time when Cameron McGheehan pounced onto a rebound. But six minutes into stoppage time, Scott Cuthbert handled in the box, and John Akinde struck home the winner from twelve yards.


Stevenage vs Yeovil Town (postponed due to waterlogged pitch) 


Accrington Stanley Dagenham and Redbridge Hartlepool United

About Dale Ventham

Dale Ventham is an editor at The Sports Lowdown. He writes on the lower leagues of English football and Speedway in particular.

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