League Two 2019/20 – Five key talking points from Matchday 19

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The 2019/20 League Two season is edging closer to the halfway point, and it’s still looking like one of the most evenly contested campaigns in recent memory. Who put on a five-star performance and which manager was sent to the stands inside 15 minutes? Let’s find out!

Five-star Crewe dismantle Morecambe

Crewe Alexandra were in their worst run of form this season heading into their clash with struggling Morecambe. After falling out of the automatic promotion places, they bounced back in style with a convincing display against the Shrimps.

Crewe scored three goals in just over 15 first-half minutes to effectively seal the game. Oli Finney broke the deadlock on 22 minutes and the lead was doubled nine minutes later through Tommy Lowery’s deflected effort. Morecambe captain Sam Lavelle was then shown a straight red card before Charlie Kirk extended Crewe’s advantage on 38 minutes.

The second half continued in the same vain as Ryan Wintle found the top corner with a thumping strike on 58 minutes. Finney then added his second in added time with a low finish to complete the scoring. Crewe had 33 attempts on goal in a dominant display, and perhaps the only disappointment was that they didn’t score more.

The victory ends Crewe’s winless run of three games and moves them back into third place. A disappointing defeat in Derek Adams’ second league game in charge sees Morecambe slip back to the foot of the League Two table.

Crewe’s focus turns to the second round of the FA Cup where they face a difficult tie away at National League Eastleigh. Morecambe were eliminated in round one, so their next game is in two weeks at home to Carlisle United.

Swindon continue winning streak to remain league leaders

Swindon Town continue to be the in-form team in League Two, and that’s reflected in their rise to the top of the table. They managed to continue that run but Mansfield Town gave them a tough test in a hard-fought 1-0 victory.

Paul Caddis returned to Swindon earlier this week and nearly made the perfect start to his second debut inside the opening 10 minutes but his curling effort hit the post. The hosts did open the scoring on 28 minutes when top goalscorer Eoin Doyle tapped in from close-range. Doyle nearly added a second before half-time but his effort was tipped onto the crossbar.

Mansfield hit the woodwork themselves in the second half after Nicky Maynard’s low drive was parried onto the post. The Stags improved after the interval with Andy Cook also coming close, but his header was tipped over. Swindon were perhaps fortunate to claim all three points as Maynard hit the side netting from close-range.

The result extends Swindon’s winning streak to five games and they remain two points ahead of Forest Green Rovers. Mansfield remain in mid-table as their inconsistent campaign shows no sign of improving.

Swindon were knocked out of the FA Cup by Cheltenham Town, so attention turns to their next league game the following weekend away to Grimsby Town. Mansfield are still in the competition as they travel to League One Shrewsbury Town.

Embleton sees red as Orient lose again

Ross Embleton saw the majority of Leyton Orient’s 4-2 defeat at home to Forest Green Rovers from the stands in another disappointing afternoon at Brisbane Road.

Rovers showed why they’re a promotion contender by racing into a 3-0 lead in the first half. Midfielder Ebou Adams scored the opening goal after 15 minutes, but the real story was Embleton being sent to the stands in the aftermath. Adams added his second on 33 minutes before Matty Stevens put the game beyond doubt just before the interval.

Orient battled back in the second half and looked like completing what seemed like an impossible comeback. Goals from Matt Harrold 10 minutes into the second half and Jordan Maguire-Drew on 78 minutes set up a tense finish. The visitors would seal the victory in added time after Junior Mondal curled the ball past Dean Brill.

Rovers remain second after their sixth away win of the campaign while Orient slip to 18th after picking up just one point in their last five games.

Orient are no longer in the FA Cup following their embarrassing home defeat to non-league Maldon & Tiptree, so their next game is in two weeks away at Oldham Athletic. Rovers will be looking to progress to round three of the competition when they host Carlisle United.

Northampton’s playoff charge goes from strength-to-strength

Northampton Town’s resurgence continued after a 2-0 victory at home to Grimsby Town extended their unbeaten run to six games.

After losing their opening two home games of the season, the Cobblers are starting to turn Sixfields into a fortress. Both goals against Grimsby came in the first half, with defender Scott Wharton scoring his third goal in two games on 25 minutes.

Northampton created chances to double their advantage before Vadaine Oliver managed to scramble the ball past goalkeeper James McKeown five minutes before half-time. Grimsby offered little to test the hosts in their first game since the sacking of Michael Jolley.

A fifth victory in six games sees Northampton move into fifth and two points off the automatic promotion places. Grimsby’s first and only league game in November sees them drop to 19th place.

Northampton are next in FA Cup action when they host National League Notts County. Grimsby must wait an extra week before their next game at home to league leaders Swindon Town.

Scunthorpe continue to move further up the table

Scunthorpe United moved further away from relegation trouble after an impressive 2-1 victory at home to Port Vale. After a poor start to the season, the Iron have picked up 11 points from their last five games.

Vale midfielder Jake Taylor broke the deadlock after he met David Worrall’s cross with a low finish on 30 minutes. Scunthorpe battled back quickly and equalised seven minutes later courtesy of Kevin van Veen’s close-range drive.

The Iron completed the comeback early in the second half after a mistake from goalkeeper Scott Brown allowed Kgosi Ntlhe to tap in at the far post. Scunthorpe continued to create chances to cement their victory, but had to settle for the one-goal margin of victory. Both teams were reduced to 10-men after the final whistle following an altercation between Matthew Lund and David Worrall.

Scunthorpe’s latest victory moves them up in 16th and seven points clear of the relegation zone. Vale slip to ninth after their first defeat in five games.

The Irons next game is in two weeks away at Forest Green Rovers after their early FA Cup exit. Vale, however, are in second round action as they travel to League Two rivals Cheltenham Town.

Matchday 19 results:

Carlisle United 0-0 Cambridge United

Cheltenham Town 1-1 Colchester United

Crawley Town 0-1 Exeter City

Crewe Alexandra 5-0 Morecambe

Leyton Orient 2-4 Forest Green Rovers

Newport County 0-1 Oldham Athletic

Northampton Town 2-0 Grimsby Town

Plymouth Argyle 2-1 Bradford City

Salford City 0-0 Macclesfield Town

Scunthorpe United 2-1 Port Vale

Swindon Town 1-0 Mansfield Town

Walsall 0-0 Stevenage