The start of another three-game week in League Two saw plenty of late drama and shocking results. Whose unbeaten away record ended in a convincing manner and which team needed two injury-time goals to remain top of League Two? These are just some of the big talking points from another exciting weekend, so let’s dive in!
Morecambe shock Colchester to move off bottom of League Two
If there was a game in League Two that was a formality on paper it would’ve been Colchester United vs Morecambe. The U’s had only lost once at home all season, while Morecambe had only won one game all season and sat at the foot of the EFL. This game only had one outcome but try telling that to the struggling visitors.
Despite being without a win in nine games, Morecambe matched their playoff-chasing hosts in an even first half. Striker Frank Nouble had the best chance for Colchester, who fired a powerful shot at an angle which was parried by Barry Roche. The closest the visitors came in the opening exchanges came from Lewis Alessandra whose effort was tipped over the bar.
The Shrimps took the lead on 66 minutes when Cole Stockton’s glancing header deflected past goalkeeper Dean Gerken. The hosts stepped up a gear and Courtney Senior’s long-range effort was saved superbly by Roche. The visitors managed to hang on and claim a ‘coupon-busting’ victory, their first since a 1-0 win away at Macclesfield Town in August.
With other results going their way, Colchester missed an opportunity to move into the playoff places and instead drop to 11th. A priceless win for Morecambe moves them out of the sole relegation place at the expense of Stevenage who drew away at Port Vale.
The three-game week see Colchester travel to league leaders Crewe Alexandra in midweek before hosting in-form Newport County. Morecambe will be hoping for their first home win against Forest Green Rovers before travelling to Stevenage in a crucial six-pointer.
Crewe leave it very late to remain league leaders
Crewe Alexandra have been one of the surprise packages in League Two this season. Tipped by many to be in the lower end of the table, David Artell’s side are top of the division and unbeaten in their last six league games. They had to come from behind once again to beat Swindon Town 3-1 at Gresty Road, but they left it very late to do so.
The visitors took the lead on 37 minutes when Eoin Doyle scored his ninth goal of the season with a low strike. The goal came against the run of play in a half that was dominated by Crewe, with Harry Pickering coming closest before the opener. The second half would see the rewards for their domination but in dramatic circumstances.
Chris Porter equalised on the hour mark getting on the end of a Tommy Lowery cross with a header from close-range. Crewe piled on the pressure and they finally took the lead in the last minute of normal time when Porter poked the ball past goalkeeper Steven Benda at the second attempt. Charlie Kirk capitalised on a defensive mistake to slide the ball into the bottom corner to seal the victory.
That victory was the eighth time this season that Crewe have conceded first and then have a comeback and claim at least a point (W6 D2). Swindon were second-best throughout and the defeat extends their winless run to four games. The Robins are still in a playoff places but are three points clear of Port Vale in 16th place.
The Alex are now two points clear of the chasing pack heading into games at home to Colchester United and away to Forest Green Rovers. Swindon will be looking over their shoulder in games at home to Stevenage followed by a trip to Crawley Town.
Cambridge produce superb performance to hammer Exeter
Exeter City last tasted defeat away from home in League Two in April, a 3-2 loss against Macclesfield Town. The Grecians would’ve fancied their chances ahead of their trip to Cambridge United, who have only won once at home this season. What followed was arguably the most surprising result of the season so far.
Ryan Bowman came closest in the first half with a glancing header for the visitors. That miss proved costly as Cambridge took the lead on 37 minutes when Luke Hannant’s effort took a big deflection which looped the ball over goalkeeper Jonny Maxted.
The second half proved to be a nightmare for the promotion-chasing Grecians. Cambridge would double their lead on 57 minutes when Jack Roles slotted the ball from the edge of the box off the inside of the post. The Exeter goalkeeper then parried Elliott Ward’s 72nd-minute effort into the path of George Taft who volleyed home. Maxted was the hero last week but became the villain after failing to deal with Hannant’s looping effort allowing Andrew Dallas to score his first senior goal.
Cambridge move into 10th place despite securing only their second home win of the season. The Grecians have dropped out of the automatic promotion places after just one win in their last five games.
Cambridge could move into the playoffs after games at home to Grimsby Town and away at Northampton Town. This week could prove to be crucial for Exeter’s promotion credentials as they travel to Scunthorpe United before hosting bitter rivals Plymouth Argyle.
Leyton Orient impress at Grimsby in-front of new manager Fletcher
Leyton Orient announced the appointment of Carl Fletcher as new head coach last Wednesday. The former Plymouth manager replaces Ross Embleton, who had been in temporary charge since Justin Edinburgh’s tragic passing in June. Fletcher was in the stands to watch his new players emphatically beat Grimsby Town 4-0.
Orient opened the scoring after 11 minutes when defender Daniel Happe fired the ball home at the second attempt. Fellow defender Josh Coulson superbly volleyed the ball into the far corner to double Orient’s lead 10 minutes later. The second half saw Orient’s domination reflect in the scoreline.
Grimsby forced Dean Brill to make two fine saves either side of half-time, but Orient would wrap the game up in the latter stages. James Alabi was a one-man counter as he broke past the Grimsby defence before slotting past McKeown. Midfielder Josh Wright ended proceedings with an 88th-minute penalty after Alabi was tripped by Luke Waterfall.
The result sees Orient move into the top half of League Two after their third consecutive win. Grimsby have also three consecutive games with the same outcome – only those being defeats as they slip to 14th.
Fletcher’s first game in charge of Orient will coincidentally be away to Plymouth before hosting Carlisle United. Grimsby will be looking to bounce back with games away at Cambridge and at home to Cheltenham Town.
Is time running out for Pressley at Carlisle?
Carlisle United are a team that have challenged for promotion in recent seasons, only to come up short. This season suggests that Steven Pressley’s side will be experiencing a battle at the other end of the league table. The last thing the fans would’ve wanted was the longest trip in the EFL as they faced Plymouth Argyle.
The game wasn’t enjoyable for the 139 travelling fans as the Cumbrians created very little in a 2-0 defeat. Argyle controlled the first half and striker Joel Grant scored his third goal in three games with a close-range volley.
The first 10 minutes of the second half saw Carlisle’s brightest spell in the game. Jack Iredale’s speculative cross and Byron Webster’s towering header both hit the crossbar. Plymouth controlled the remainder of the half without creating many chances. Midfielder Antoni Sarcevic unleashed a curling left-footed strike to seal a comfortable victory for Argyle.
The victory for Plymouth moves them into eighth place and one point off the playoff places. Ryan Lowe’s side have recovered from a poor September and are now unbeaten in four league games. Three consecutive defeats sees Carlisle remain in 20th place with the pressure mounting on Pressley.
Plymouth could move into the playoffs with victories at home to Leyton Orient and away at Devon rivals Exeter City. Carlisle, on the other hand, need a win quickly as they also face Orient after a trip to Northampton Town.
Matchday 14 results:
Bradford City 2-1 Crawley Town
Cambridge United 4-0 Exeter City
Colchester United 0-1 Morecambe
Crewe Alexandra 3-1 Swindon Town
Forest Green Rovers 2-2 Mansfield Town
Grimsby Town 0-4 Leyton Orient
Newport County 2-1 Scunthorpe United
Northampton Town 2-0 Salford City
Oldham Athletic 0-1 Macclesfield Town
Plymouth Argyle 2-0 Carlisle United
Port Vale 1-1 Stevenage
Walsall 1-2 Cheltenham Town