Mixed feelings about this weekend, on one hand we have hit form albeit with a depleted squad, and next up would have been Rochdale, and I would imagine with the frame of mind the lads are in we would have been red hot favourites to take three points. On the other hand, it’s a great opportunity for some of those injured, or self-isolating to return fresher for the slog of the next few months. Of course, Russ and the lads can relax a bit the following weekend as well as we take on Burnley at Turf Moor in the FA Cup, in what could be considered to be a nothing to lose, and everything to gain match up.
Anyway, whatever your feelings are, we can sit back and relax and watch the others squabble over the points and hopefully comeback to league action on the 16th of Jan against Peterborough if everything is ok in both camps.
Just because we are not playing, we are not going to take our eye off the ball though, so as usual here is the lowdown on this weekend’s fixtures in League 1 where we find out, who’s staking a claim in promotion, and whose getting sucked into the battle to avoid the dreaded drop.
The following fixtures were all called off with Covid in one camp or another, Rochdale v MK Dons, Peterborough v Doncaster Rovers, and Shrewsbury Town v Crewe Alexandra.
Accrington v Portsmouth and Swindon v Wigan both failed pitch inspections in the morning due to frozen ground.
AFCW 1 LINCOLN 2
With both teams having confirmed Covid cases a request was made to the EFL to cancel this fixture which was denied so both were forced to carry on, and it took just 8 minutes for table topping Imps to take the lead, a Jorge Grant corner found Tayo Edun who smashed a low shot in the bottom corner to give Lincoln a dream start. AFC responded well and on the half hour it was all square as Ollie Palmer on the back post powered his header past the Imps keeper. With time running out Lincoln took the lead in a game of extraordinarily little quality from either side, Tom Hopper striking home just outside the six-yard box after some shoddy defending by AFC giving the Imps all three points and extending their lead at the top of the table, meanwhile AFC are teetering above the relegation places in 20th.
BRISTOL ROVERS 2 BLACKPOOL 1
Another early got Blackpool off to a flying start following a Grant Ward cross and Gary Madine tapped home from close range. Brandon Hanlan completed a sweeping move for the home team to level the scores hitting it first time from just inside the box past the outstretched arm of the Seasiders keeper and just two minutes later Rovers turned the game on its head as Sam Nicholson smashed one into the roof of the net with the keeper only able to watch it go in. The win eases the Tisdale side three points clear of the drop zone.
BURTON 1 OXFORD 5
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was appointed new manager of Burton on New Year’s Day the club he left in the 2014/15 season to manage QPR after about a year in charge which included promotion to League 1, and at the time of his departure Burton were top of the league. But it was 33 consecutive games that Burton had conceded, and it was soon 34 with prolific scorer Matty Taylor seizing on a ball over the top of the defensive backline and lobbing the advancing keeper on the edge of the area after just 9 minutes to give Oxford the lead. 34 quickly became 35 as Olamide Shodipo engineered a shooting opportunity of the edge of the box and stuck it emphatically into the top corner, and on the half hour he doubled his tally by firing home loose ball in the Burton box. Burton pulled one back just before half time with Kane Hemmings having the easiest of tasks as the ball rebounded off the post from long range shot and there he was 1 yard out to side foot it home for his 8th goal of the season. Ten minutes after the break the O’s once again extended their lead, this time Josh Ruffels hitting the mark making it 18 goals conceded by the Albion defence in five games. Very soon after it was that man Ruffels again making it a terrible start for JFH, and you have to fear for Burton with them firmly in bottom place and points adrift with an atrocious goal difference.
HULL 2 CHARLTON 0
Hull who have been stuttering lately took 18 minutes to take the lead through Hakeeb Adelakun, a parried shot by the Charlton keeper putting it right in his path and he couldn’t miss. On the hour, the Charlton task of getting back into the game got all the harder when Darren Pratley got his marching orders, his 5th of his career for foul and abusive language aimed at the linesman. Hull extended their lead with 15 minutes to go just as Charlton were starting to get back into it but were caught out on the counterattack, Greg Docherty smashing home from about 8 yards out.
NORTHAMPTON 0 SUNDERLAND 0
The Black Cats were red hot favourites to win this despite some questionable results lately and will probably look at this as points lost, alternatively Northampton will be grateful of the point to try and get something to build on.
PLYMOUTH 1 GILLINGHAM 0
Argyle hitman Luke Jephcott made it five in five as he hit a first time shot after some great approach play by Plymouth, that’s 14 for the season for Jephcott and it was good enough to take the points.