League Two took centre stage this week and there was plenty of excitement at both ends of the table. We saw new league leaders for the second consecutive week and one team claim their first win of the campaign. Elsewhere, in one of the most eventful games of the season, which team had two players sent off in the same minute? Let’s find out!
Nine-man Oldham suffer humiliating defeat at Mansfield
Oldham Athletic had a day to forget as they were reduced to nine-men in a 6-1 defeat against Mansfield Town. The big talking point was that Tomas Egert and Felipe Morais were sent off in the same minute for two different challenges in the same passage of play.
The game at Field Mill had everything: Goals, hat-tricks, red cards and goalkeeping howlers. Nicky Maynard would open the scoring on 31 minutes before quickly doubling his tally three minutes later. The 37th minute is where the complexion of the game would change.
Morais went in late on Neal Bishop, only for advantage to be played which lead to Egert sliding in with an awful challenge on Mal Benning. Egert was immediately shown a straight red before Morais was then shown a second yellow for the initial tackle.
The visitors somehow reduced the deficit on 43 minutes when goalkeeper Conrad Logan failed to deal with a cross allowing Tom Hamer to get on the end of the loose ball. The Latics were immediately brought back to earth when Maynard completed an 18-minute hat-trick deep into added time.
As expected, the second half was dominated by the hosts. A David Wheater own goal on 56 minutes compounded Oldham’s misery, but there would still be more goals to come. A quick counter saw Maynard set up Dapo Afolayan to tap-in from close-range on 66 minutes. Afolayan won a penalty with seven minutes remaining which was converted by teenage substitute Jimmy Knowles for his first senior goal.
The 6-1 victory is the biggest in League Two this season and sees Mansfield move into 15th while the Latics remain 21st. The Stags next travel to Forest Green Rovers while Oldham host Macclesfield Town.
Stevenage finally claim first win
Oldham will be looking over their shoulders after Stevenage secured their first win of the campaign at home to Grimsby Town.
The hosts took the lead on 17 minutes when Luther James-Wildin’s low cross met Kurtis Guthrie who deftly backheeled the ball. Wildin provided another low cross on 43 minutes to Charlie Carter who was given enough time and space to turn and fire the ball into the top corner.
Even with the two-goal advantage, there were still nerves around the LAMEX Stadium in the second half. Grimsby didn’t reduce the deficit until the final 10 minutes as a powerful drive from Ahkeem Rose set up a tense finish.
The hosts managed to hold on and claim that elusive first win of the season. The victory also sees Stevenage off the bottom of League Two at the expense of Morecambe. The Mariners lose ground on the playoff places as they slip to tenth.
Stevenage will be hoping for a first away win of the campaign against Port Vale, while Grimsby host Leyton Orient.
League leaders drop out of automatic promotion places after loss at Exeter
The big game of matchday 13 was at St James’ Park as second place Exeter City hosted new league leaders Forest Green Rovers. Not for the first time this season with Rovers, one goal proved decisive but it wasn’t in their favour on this occasion.
Exeter were intent on reclaiming top spot and that showed as they won five corners in the opening seven minutes. The Grecians had a host of chances before Ryan Bowman’s 11th-minute volley which would end up being the winning goal.
Exeter goalkeeper Jonny Maxted proved to be the hero in the second half. The debutant made a superb diving save on 76 minutes to deny Aaron Collins’ goal-bound header. That save was crucial as the visitors rarely threatened afterwards as they fell to their first defeat in seven games.
The Grecians remain second despite the win, with the new leaders pipping them on goals scored. Forest Green have slipped to fourth as their stay at the top of League Two comes to an immediate halt.
Exeter will be hoping to extend their unbeaten away form when they visit Cambridge United while Forest Green host rejuvenated Mansfield Town.
Crewe soar to the top of League Two after six-goal thriller
Despite Exeter’s victory over Forest Green, it’s Crewe Alexandra that are the new League Two leaders, but only on goals scored. Crewe extended their unbeaten run to five games after a 4-2 win away at Carlisle United.
The visitors took the lead inside seven minutes when Nicky Hunt capitalised on some poor defending to tap-in a rare goal. Crewe doubled their lead 20 minutes later after Daniel Powell unleashed a thunderous drive from 18-yards.
The momentum of the game shifted in five minutes midway through the second half. Hallam Hope reduced the deficit on 59 minutes with a close-range finish before Christie Elliott completed the comeback with a volley.
Crewe were in danger of throwing everything away until Chris Porter struck on 78 minutes. The victory was sealed five minutes later when Gethin Jones diverted a cross from Perry Ng into his own net.
The nature of the victory highlights Crewe’s credentials as promotion contenders, something very few people would’ve predicted before the season started. Carlisle continue to struggle under Steven Pressley and have dropped down to 20th.
Crewe host playoff-chasing Swindon Town in the big game of matchday 14. Carlisle must deal with the longest trip in the EFL this Saturday as they visit Plymouth Argyle.
Bradford take advantage of other results to move into third
With Forest Green losing and the game between Cheltenham Town and Newport County postponed, Bradford City had the chance to move into the automatic promotion places. They managed to do so, but struggling Morecambe didn’t make it easy.
The first half was an even affair with chances at a premium. That changed early in the second half when Hope Akpam managed to poke the ball into the bottom corner.
The struggling hosts then sparked into life, with Kevin Ellison hitting the crossbar during a goalmouth scramble. Bradford sealed the victory on 79 minutes when Aramide Oteh found enough space to slide the ball past Barry Roche.
Morecambe scored a consolation deep into injury time, but it was too little too late. The result sees Bradford move into the automatic promotion ahead of Forest Green Rovers on goals scored. Without a home win and just one victory all season sees Morecambe drop to the bottom of the EFL.
Bradford can go top of League Two with a win at home to Crawley Town and other results go their way. Morecambe face an uphill task to get a rare victory when they travel to Colchester United.
Matchday 13 results:
Carlisle United 2-4 Crewe Alexandra
Cheltenham Town P-P Newport County *
Crawley Town 2-1 Colchester United
Exeter City 1-0 Forest Green Rovers
Leyton Orient 3-1 Walsall
Macclesfield Town 2-1 Port Vale
Mansfield Town 6-1 Oldham Athletic
Morecambe 1-2 Bradford City
Salford City 1-0 Cambridge United
Scunthorpe United 3-0 Northampton Town
Stevenage 2-1 Grimsby Town
Swindon Town 1-1 Plymouth Argyle
*Postponed due to international call-ups