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League Two Review: 7 May – The final fixture

After 46 games, League Two has reached its climax, and both Oxford United and Bristol Rovers will join Northampton Town in League One next season after they became the next two sides to gain automatic promotion, whilst Accrington Stanley will face AFC Wimbledon and Portsmouth will face Plymouth Argyle in the playoffs. It was also a season to forget for Dagenham and Redbridge and York City who both suffered relegation to the National League. Here is your League Two Review:

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Portsmouth 1-2 Northampton Town 

Having already secured promotion to League One as Champions, Northampton ended the campaign on a club record 24 game unbeaten run after Chris Wilder’s side defeated Portsmouth at Fratton Park. The Cobblers took an early lead after Nicky Adams saw his cross turned into his own net by Pompey defender Jack Whatmough, but despite losing Keiron Freeman to a straight red card after a challenge on John-Joe O’Toole, Pompey soon equalised through Kai Naismith early in the second half. But Northampton, who ended the season 13 points above 2nd place, found a late winner after James Collins bundled home his 15th goal of the season. Northampton have topped the table for large parts of the season, and end the campaign on 99 points, whilst Portsmouth will face Plymouth Argyle in the playoffs after finishing 6th in Paul Cook’s first season at the south coast club.


Oxford United 3-0 Wycombe Wanderers 

Starting the day in 3rd, Oxford United knew that a win would send them up to League One, and despite a goalless first half, Michael Appleton’s side managed to overcome local rivals Wycombe with ease in the second 45 infront of a sellout crowd at the Kassam Stadium. A header from defender Chey Dunkley early in the second half got the party started, before Chris Maguire netted his second penalty in successive games after Kemar Roofe was fouled by Aaron Pierre. With time running out, local player Callum O’Dowda then netted a third to seal the win. Oxford will play in England’s third tier for the first time since 2000/01, whilst for Wycombe, who were last season’s beaten play-off finalists, they finished in a disappointing 13th.


Bristol Rovers 2-1 Dagenham and Redbridge 

Bristol Rovers headed into their final game against already relegated Dagenham knowing that even a win may not be enough to gain automatic promotion. They had to rely on either Oxford or Accrington slipping up, and after a goalless draw for Stanley, a late winner from the Gas sent them up to League One, recording back to back promotions. Despite falling behind to a Matthew Cash effort, Billy Bodin then found an equaliser in front on a bumper crowd at the Memorial Stadium. But with time running out and a draw not enough, top scorer Matty Taylor saw his effort strike the post, only for the rebound to fall to defender Lee Brown to net a stoppage time winner. The Gas, who had lost just once in their final 14 games, secured back to back promotions and reached League One for the first time since 2011. As for Daggers, they face life in the National League after a dismal campaign.

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Accrington Stanley 0-0 Stevenage

John Coleman’s Accrington Stanley knew a win against Stevenage would send them to League One for the first time in their history. Stanley, who began the day in 2nd, were unable to find a way past the Boro, but despite hitting the woodwork three times, a draw would have also been enough as Bristol Rovers were level with time running out. But news of a late Gas goal ended their automatic promotion chances, and Stanley have to pick themselves up and face AFC Wimbledon in the playoffs. As for Stevenage, they end the season in 18th, having sacked manager Teddy Sheringham earlier in the season.


Plymouth Argyle 5-0 Hartlepool United 

Plymouth head into their play-off match against Portsmouth having defeated a lacklustre Hartlepool 5-0 at Home Park. Tyler Harvey put the Pilgrims two goals up after 25 minutes, before second half goals from Louis Rooney and Curtis Nelson made it four. Debutant Rooney then added a fifth late on as Derek Adams’s side prepare for their play-off match against Portsmouth. Hartlepool finish the season in 16th, an improvement from the previous season in which a late surge saw them avoid the drop.


AFC Wimbledon 1-0 Newport County 

AFC Wimbledon recorded another win as they prepare to face Accrington Stanley in the playoffs. It wasn’t the Dons best performance, but having already secured a play-off spot the previous week, Neal Ardley won’t be too concerned. A Toyosi Olusanya penalty ten minutes from time was enough to give the Dons all three points. Newport, who end the season on a third manager, had failed to win in their final eleven games and finish one place but nine points above the drop.


Yeovil Town 0-1 Leyton Orient

Leyton Orient end their season one place outside the playoffs in 8th after a narrow victory at Yeovil. A late Ollie Palmer strike was enough to give Kevin Nolan’s side all three points, but for both sides, bearing in mind they featured in League One last season, it’s been a disappointing campaign, particularly Yeovil who finished 19th. Kevin Nolan will be keen to improve next season, and he’ll try his best to keep hold of the league’s second top scorer, Jay Simpson.

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Mansfield Town 0-0 Cambridge United 

Two mid table sides that harboured play-off hopes just a few weeks back ended their final game in a goalless draw. Mansfield, who finished the season in 12th, came close through top scorer Matt Green, whilst Cambridge, who finished the season in 9th, had chances from Luke Berry and Ryan Ledson. Both sides showed a decent season, but will want to push that little bit further next time around.


Notts County 0-5 Carlisle United 

Notts County ended a dismal season with a disastrous defeat at home against Carlisle. Alex Gilliead gave the Cumbrians an early lead, before Danny Grainger added a second. Carlisle’s top scorer Jabo Ibehre netted a third before the break, before adding his second ten minutes into the second half. Charlie Wyke completed the rout late on, leaving Magpies boss Mark Cooper to resign after his side finished the season in 17th, leaving the club to find their seventh manager in just fourteen months. As for Carlisle, they end the season in 10th, a vast improvement from last season’s near relegation battle, but a play-off finish couldn’t be off the cards next season.


Luton Town 4-1 Exeter City 

An inconsistent Luton side smashed four past another inconsistent side in Exeter City. Cameron McGheehan saw his free kick deflected in for the Hatters opener, before Jack Marriott added a second shortly after, closely followed by a third from Joe Pigott. Jayden Stockley reduced the deficit after the break, but a Marriott second killed off the game. Luton finish the season in 11th, whilst Exeter end their campaign in 14th.

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Crawley Town 0-3 Barnet 

Like Yeovil and Notts County, relegation from League One hasn’t been kind for Crawley Town after the club end the season on eight successive defeats and finish in 20th. Barnet, who won promotion from the Conference last season, went ahead through Elliot Johnson, before a John Akinde brave saw the Bees finish their season in 15th.


Morecambe 1-1 York City

Already relegated York managed a point on the final day of the season against a Morecambe side that have been well below par this campaign. Luke Summerfield gave the Minstermen the lead in first half stoppage time, but Jamie Devitt’s fierce dipping shot earned the Shrimps a point. Morecambe end the season in 21st, whilst Jackie McNamara’s side finish bottom of the football league.



Final League Table:

1. Northampton Town 99 (promoted as Champions)

2. Oxford United 86 (promoted)

3. Bristol Rovers 85 (promoted)

4. Accrington Stanley 85 (playoffs)

5. Plymouth Argyle 81 (playoffs)

6. Portsmouth 78 (playoffs)

7. AFC Wimbledon 75 (playoffs)

8. Leyton Orient 69

9. Cambridge United 68

10. Carlisle United 67

11. Luton Town 66

12. Mansfield Town 64

13. Wycombe Wanderers 64

14. Exeter City 64

15. Barnet 62

16. Hartlepool United 51

17. Notts County 51

18. Stevenage 48

19. Yeovil Town 48

20. Crawley Town 47

21. Morecambe 46

22. Newport County 43

23. Dagenham and Redbridge 34 (relegated)

24. York City 34 (relegated)



Top scorer:

Matty Taylor – Bristol Rovers (27)

Jay Simpson – Leyton Orient (25)

John Akinde – Barnet (23)

Lyle Taylor – AFC Wimbledon (20)

Kemar Roofe – Oxford United (18)

Billy Kee – Accrington Stanley (17)

Matt Green – Mansfield Town (16)

Jabo Ibehre – Carlisle United (15)

Accrington Stanley Carlisle United Crawley Town Dagenham and Redbridge Exeter City Hartlepool United Mansfield Town Morecambe Newport County notts county Stevenage

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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