The 2019/20 League Two campaign took yet another twist with plenty of last-minute drama plus a first ever EFL away win. The biggest talking point though was the new leaders at the top of League Two for the first time since matchday five. But who have replaced Exeter City? Let’s find out!
Exeter knocked off League Two summit after draw at Crewe
Exeter City were looking to bounce back from their unbeaten start ending at home to Grimsby Town last week. They couldn’t have asked for a tougher test as they travelled to second place Crewe Alexandra at Gresty Road.
The Grecians took the lead after just 2 minutes when defender Dean Moxey met a Nicky Law delivery and smashed the ball from close-range. The league leaders were in control in the first half, but Lee Martin and Ryan Bowman missed chances to improve their tally.
The second half was more of an even affair, with the hosts battling back to match their promotion rivals. The visitors still looked threatening with Martin again coming close with a 25-yard drive which was saved by Will Jaaskelainen. The introduction of Daniel Powell and Chuma Anene would signal the revival for Crewe.
Powell would force goalkeeper Lewis Ward into making a fine save and the equaliser followed just minutes later. Norwegian striker Anene collected the ball from Charlie Kirk and then turned and fired the ball past Ward on 76 minutes.
The result sees Exeter lose their place at the top of League Two, while Crewe have slipped to fourth. The games don’t get any easier for the Grecians, who have now only won one out of their last five, as they next host new leaders Forest Green Rovers. Meanwhile, Crewe will hope to move back into the automatic promotion places when they travel to Carlisle United.
Forest Green lead the way for the first time ever
Forest Green Rovers have gone from only scoring seven goals this campaign to now scoring seven in their last two games. A 3-1 win at home to Crawley Town also means that Rovers are top of League Two for the first time in their history.
Forest Green took the lead on 24 minutes when Joseph Mills was brought down by Crawley goalkeeper Glenn Morris. The penalty from Mills was saved, but he managed to get his foot on the rebound. Aaron Collins doubled Forest Green’s lead with a low finish on 52 minutes to put the game beyond doubt.
Mills had another chance to convert from the spot when Ebou Adams was tripped by Panoutche Camara less than three minutes later. Mills made no mistake this time to add insult to injury for Crawley.
The visitors added a consolation on 58 minutes with Mason Bloomfield’s curling finish from inside the six-yard box. That proved to be the only negative for Forest Green as they extend their unbeaten run to six games. After a promising start, Crawley are now winless in four and have slipped into the bottom half of the table.
Forest Green face a tough test when they travel to the team they replaced at the top of League Two, Exeter City. Meanwhile, Crawley host in-form Colchester United.
Newport leave it very late to move into top three
This week saw Newport County manager Michael Flynn sign a new contract. With the Exiles improving every season since avoiding relegation in 2017, this was the best possible news for those connected with the club.
Newport sat in fifth as they hosted struggling Carlisle United at Rodney Parade. Chances were at a premium in the first half, with Padraig Amond firing high above the crossbar for the hosts. Carlisle dominated the second half, with Hallam Hope coming close with a powerful, looping shot that just shaved the crossbar.
The game was destined to finish goalless until substitute George Nurse stuck superbly from 25-yards deep in the sixth minute of added time. The strike was Nurse’s first goal for the Exiles since joining on-loan from Bristol City.
Consecutive wins see Newport move back into the automatic promotion places. Carlisle continue to struggle near the bottom of the division, but are nine points clear of the sole relegation place.
Just three points separate first and sixth going into matchday 13. Newport could go top if they beat Cheltenham Town away from home and Forest Green draw with Exeter. The struggling Cumbrians host Crewe, who themselves can move to the top of League Two.
Salford finally secure first EFL away win
Pre-season favourites Salford City have not enjoyed life so far in their debut EFL campaign. Just two wins has seen the Ammies struggling in 18th as they travelled to in-form Walsall. A tough task then to get their first-ever away win in the EFL, but that run ended emphatically.
Salford took lead on 21 minutes when a mistake from Walsall goalkeeper Liam Roberts allowed Luke Armstrong to score his first goal for the club. Both teams had plenty of chances, but the score remained 1-0 until just after the interval.
A poor attempted clearance from Dan Scarr allowed Armstrong the chance to double his tally, only for his attempt to be parried by Roberts. Salford striker Jake Jervis was able to power a left-footed rebound to extend their lead. That goal from Jervis was also his first for the club since joining on loan from Luton Town.
The Saddlers still created chances, with Josh Gordon’s effort crashing against the post on 72 minutes. The hosts would be punished seven minutes later when left-back Ibou Touray drilled the ball past Roberts after being played through by Jervis.
The form-book was certainly ripped up with this result, with Walsall’s run of three consecutive wins coming to a halt. The first ever EFL away victory sees Salford move into 17th and suddenly just six points off a playoff place.
The Ammies will be looking to secure consecutive wins for the first time this season when Cambridge United visit this Saturday. Walsall will be looking to bounce back away at struggling Leyton Orient.
Northampton & Leyton Orient pay emotional tribute to Justin Edinburgh
Northampton Town and Leyton Orient paid tribute to Justin Edinburgh before their match at Sixfields. Edinburgh spent eight months in charge of Northampton in 2017 from January to August before joining Orient three months later. Last season saw Edinburgh guide the O’s to the National League title last season before he passed away in June aged 49.
Both sets of fans, players and officials paid tribute to Edinburgh by having a minute’s applause before the game. Orient had the first big chance of the game when Conor Wilkinson’s close-range effort struck the post. The 24-year-old striker came close again when he responded quickest to a defensive mistake, but goalkeeper Dean Brill parried his left-footed effort.
The subsequent corner saw a downward header from Marvin Ekpiteta tipped onto the crossbar by goalkeeper David Cornell. The hosts would hit the woodwork themselves in the second half after Sam Hoskins’ low drive beat the ‘keeper but not the post.
The only goal of the game came on 57 minutes when James Brophy met Matt Harrold’s pass before charging towards goal and slotting the ball past Cornell. The Cobblers came close to an equaliser, but Matthew Warburton’s low effort went the wrong side of the post.
The victory sees Orient go eight points clear of the relegation zone as they next host Walsall. Northampton are now without a win in three games and travel to struggling Scunthorpe United this Saturday.
Matchday 12 results:
Bradford City 2-1 Swindon Town
Cambridge United 2-2 Macclesfield Town
Colchester United 3-1 Stevenage
Crewe Alexandra 1-1 Exeter City
Forest Green Rovers 3-1 Crawley Town
Grimsby Town 0-1 Mansfield Town
Newport County 1-0 Carlisle United
Northampton Town 0-1 Leyton Orient
Oldham Athletic 1-1 Cheltenham Town
Plymouth Argyle 2-2 Scunthorpe United
Port Vale 3-1 Morecambe
Walsall 0-3 Salford City