EFL League Two 2019/20: Five key talking points from matchday eight

The League Two season is starting to take shape, and another three-game week started on Saturday. Who’s still unbeaten and which team finally secured their first win on matchday eight?

Exeter remain league leaders thanks to late penalty

Exeter City maintained their unbeaten start to the season but left it very late to share the spoils in a thrilling 2-2 draw at home to Leyton Orient.

The hosts took the lead on 41 minutes when Pierce Sweeney’s wild attempt on goal managed to squeeze past goalkeeper Dean Brill. Despite dominating the first half, the league leaders were pegged back three minutes later when Lee Angol slotted the ball past Lewis Ward after capitalising on Dale Gorman’s scuffed shot.

The visitors started the brighter in the second half and were rewarded on 51 minutes when Louis Dennis 25-yard effort took a deflection before landing in the back of Exeter’s net. The remaining 40 minutes consisted of attack after attack from the home-side that were desperate to stay at the top of League Two.

Youngster Ben Seymour was brought on in added time and he made an immediate impact by forcing Josh Coulson into committing a rash challenge in the penalty box. Nicky Law converted from the spot to maintain Exeter’s unbeaten start but their lead over Swindon Town is a single point.

The Grecians are at home again on Tuesday night as they host Port Vale while Leyton Orient face Crewe Alexandra.

Newport’s unbeaten start ended by Northampton

Newport County were also unbeaten going into their clash with Northampton Town at Sixfields. A win would’ve seen them go to the top of League Two, but Northampton had other ideas.

The Cobblers took the lead after five minutes when Andy Williams slotted home from close range. The hosts were in complete control in the first half and should’ve been ahead by more.

The second half followed the same trend, with Sam Hoskins sealing the victory on 72 minutes following a defensive mix-up. A miserable afternoon for the Exiles was compounded when striker Jamille Matt was sent off in added time. The victory sees Northampton move up to 14th while Newport slip to fourth.

The defeat saw the end of Newport’s 17-match unbeaten run in League Two stretching back to March. The team that last defeated them over 90 minutes? Northampton Town with a 1-0 victory at Sixfields.

Both teams are away from home on Tuesday night, with Newport travelling to Macclesfield Town and Northampton facing Stevenage.

Scunthorpe finally secure first win of the season

Paul Hurst finally got his first league win in charge of Scunthorpe United as they comfortably beat Morecambe 3-0.

All of Scunthorpe’s goals came in a dominant first-half performance at Glanford Park. Striker Jamie Proctor opened the scoring after 25 minutes tapping in a rebound after goalkeeper Barry Roche saved his penalty.

The lead was doubled eight minutes later after Kevin van Veen’s powerful strike from a tight angle. Scunthorpe’s victory was sealed on 41 minutes when Mitchell Lund drove the ball home from inside the six-yard box.

Morecambe created chances in the second half but were never going to mount a serious comeback. The visitors had a penalty of their own in added time, but Rory Watson denied Adam Buxton from the spot.

The victory was the first success for Scunthorpe since March, a 4-1 victory at home to Southend United in League One. The Iron move off the bottom of League Two and were replaced by Stevenage.

Matchday nine sees two early six-pointers as Scunthorpe host Oldham Athletic and Morecambe entertain Walsall.

Plymouth’s away troubles continue

September is looking like a bad month for pre-season promotion favourites Plymouth Argyle. A draw last week at home to Oldham Athletic saw the Pilgrims drop out of the playoff places ahead of their visit to Port Vale.

Argyle had the better of the first-half, with Byron Moore coming closest after his effort was parried by goalkeeper Scott Brown. The hosts used all of their substitutions within 35 minutes after David Amoo, Tom Conlon and Callum Evans all went off injured.

Vale controlled the second half with Cristian Montano forcing a fine save from goalkeeper Alex Palmer. The only goal of the game arrived after 76 minutes when defender Nathan Smith headed in from close range for the hosts.

The result sees Vale go about Argyle into 10th place in the League Two table. Ryan Lowe’s side have now failed to win away from home since their 3-0 thrashing of Crewe Alexandra on the opening day.

Argyle face a tough task on Tuesday night as they travel to in-form Crawley Town while Vale travel to league leaders Exeter City.

Cambridge edge out five-goal thriller at high-flying Crewe

Two teams on different ends of the form scale met at Gresty Road as Crewe Alexandra hosted Cambridge United.

The visitors took the lead on 12 minutes when Sam Smith scored his first goal since joining on loan from Reading. Crewe were dealt with a setback on 41 minutes after midfielder Paul Green was shown a straight red for a dangerous challenge on Samir Carruthers.

The numerical disadvantage didn’t affect the hosts as Eddie Nolan poked the ball from close range just after the hour. This would spark a crazy nine-minute spell that saw three more goals.

Crewe were ahead on 67 minutes when striker Chuma Anene drove the ball past Dimitar Mitov. The game was level almost immediately after a downward header from Paul Lewis before Smith completed the comeback on 72 minutes from the penalty spot.

The visitors ended a run of three straight defeats to move into the top half of the table, while Crewe slip to fifth. Both sides face away trips on Tuesday night, with Cambridge facing Mansfield Town and Crewe travelling to Leyton Orient.

Matchday eight results:

Crawley Town 1-0 Mansfield Town

Crewe Alexandra 2-3 Cambridge United

Exeter City 2-2 Leyton Orient

Forest Green Rovers 1-0 Colchester United

Northampton Town 2-0 Newport County

Oldham Athletic 2-2 Grimsby Town

Port Vale 1-0 Plymouth Argyle

Salford City 0-2 Cheltenham Town

Scunthorpe United 3-0 Morecambe

Stevenage 2-3 Carlisle United

Swindon Town 3-0 Macclesfield Town

Walsall 0-1 Bradford City