A full programme of fixtures this weekend plus one midweek fixture to catch up on, but just a couple of things to tidy up before we look at the weekend results.  Nigel Adkins the former Southampton and Reading boss has been put in charge at the Valley, and as expected Lee Bowyer who vacated the position is now at Birmingham City. Steve Cotterill the Shrewsbury gaffer is now back home after his second spell in hospital with Covid and is expected to continue running the show in Salop via Zoom calls. Also before we press on Danny & Nicky Cowley are now in charge at Portsmouth following the sacking of Kenny Jackett and will be on the touchline versus Ipswich Town.


In the Wednesday night game a victory for the Black Cats saw them leapfrog Lincoln City and move into third place in the League 1 table and now sit just 2 points behind Posh, and in turn both have two games in hand on leaders Hull City, maximum points in those would see them both overtake the Tigers. Former Ross County striker Ross Stewart scored on his debut for Sunderland after an hour of play, you may recall we were linked with him in January, he moved to the Stadium of Light for £300K but got injured in the first day of training. An edgy game was finally sewn up 4 minutes from time when Charlie Wyke headed home a Max Power corner to score his 27th goal of the season.


In the early kick off the Cowley brothers got off to a winning start and in turn put a dent in the Ipswich playoff aspirations. It was the Tractor Boys that took the lead after half an hour James Norwood latching on  to a through ball and hammering it home. It was all square at the break when Tom Naylor found himself unmarked at a corner and confidently nodded the ball home. The match winning goal came 20 minutes from time when Marcus Harness needed two attempts to convert a Ronan Curtis cross, his first effort being blocked. The result puts Pompey in 7th just a point off the playoffs, meanwhile Ipswich slip down to 9th.


Callum Lang scored his 7th goal since joining Wigan in January after just one minute, but it wasn’t enough to deny Stanley who levelled just 2 minutes later through Cameron Burgess who got above everyone following a free kick and headed home. The turn round was complete just 10 minutes later, a McConville freekick being forced home off the post by Michael Nottingham despite the desperate efforts of the Wigan keeper Jamie Jones to keep it out. On the hour Stanley sealed the fate of the game, Dion Charles converting from the spot for his 18th goal of the season, condemning Wigan back into the relegation places.


A Jayden Stockley header in the 10th minute got Charlton on the road but Ryan Longman equalised showing great strength to hold players off and fire home past Amos in the Charlton goal. 5 minutes later Charlton were back in front, Diallang Jaiyesimi converting from 6 yards out, but 25 minutes from time the dangerous Longman made it all square as he pounced on a short pass back to Amos and fired home past the stranded keeper. In a tense finish both teams hit the post but neither could find the winning goal,  Charlton remain in the playoff spots, AFC are still in the bottom four.


In form Fleetwood slipped to a shock defeat at the hands of strugglers Swindon who with this win have earnt a tiny bit of breathing space and just eased themselves out of the bottom four and ended a run of 4 consecutive defeats. Fleetwood failed to have even one shot on target, and Swindon only two but they both hit the back of the net via a Scott Twine brace. His first came after just 4 minutes with a neat turn and shot from 12 yards after being put in by Matty Palmer. The killer punch came right on the hour, again Twine doing the damage as he needed no invitation hitting home a lose ball in the box after a Jack Payne effort had been blocked.


Within 4 minutes the Gills raced into a 2-0 lead, the first coming from Jordan Graham who reacted quickest when keeper Louis Jones spilled a Dempsey shot and knocked it right into his path, the second a spectacular goal from Vadaine Oliver as he volleyed in his 8th goal in 7 games. Donny got their act together after 20 minutes with two quick fire goals themselves. Skipper Tom Anderson getting up highest to head home a Coppinger cross, then 4 minutes later parity was restored when Coppinger jumped on some sloppy Gills defending. Both teams went close to winning with efforts cleared off both lines, but in the end they had to settle for a point each. Donny stay in 5th and Gillingham move above Ipswich who had lost earlier in the day.


The Cobblers remain in the bottom four with this home defeat although it is desperately close between six teams that are separated by just 2 points. In an even game lacking in quality and shots, just two on target for Crewe, and none from Northampton it was Crewe who broke the deadlock 20 minutes from time, Luke Murphy playing in Owen Dale who hit his shot in the bottom left corner to take all 3 points. The Cobblers face Oxford on Tuesday night then have a real six pointer on Saturday versus AFCW.


The Seasiders are still well in the hunt for the playoffs after this their third successive away win, although they are still playing catch up with as many as 4 games in hands over some of the teams above them.  Kenny Dougal got the opener after the U’s failed to adequately clear a Luke Garbutt corner, and Blackpool were good value for the win and could and probably should have won by  a greater margin, but they could only muster one final goal and that coming just before halftime from when Dan Ballard converted another chance from a corner. The win means they hurdle Oxford and move up to 10th, Oxford drop to 11th, two points in front of us.


Niall Ennis scored twice in the first half to end a five match losing spell and in doing so left Rovers hovering 5th from bottom with just goal difference saving them. Rovers gave it a good go having 22 shots at goal but the quality in the finish was in the Pilgrims favour, the first coming after a great move from Argyle, then the decisive goal just before the break seeing Ennis turn in the box and fire home.  


Dale gave high flying Posh the scare of their lives at Spotland, although at one stage it looked oh so comfortable for the second placed team. Posh lead with goals from Dembele and Szmodics going into the break. Stephen Humphrys converted from the spot to halve the deficit, then with the game appearing to be over Dale sprung into life with two quick goals in the 87th and 90th minutes from Jack Beesley and Jimmy Keohane, but heart break was to come in the 93rd minute when Arran Morley fouled Nathan Thompson in the box and Clarke Harris converted from the spot. Dale sit on the bottom of the table, Posh remain in 2nd place with two games in hand on leaders Hull City.


Leaders Hull had to settle for a point against the Shrews in a game of few chances. The Salop team took the lead with a bit of good fortune when a Nat Ogbeta thunderbolt free kick crashed off the underside of the cross bar, hit Ingram the Hull keeper and ended up in the net. It only took Hull 10 minutes to reply through former Shews player Greg Docherty with a superb long distance shot. Both teams went in search of the winner but in the end they had to settle for a point each.


The final game of the day also finished all square, meaning the top 6 teams all drew. Callum McFadzean scored a rare goal to set the Black Cats on course for 8 wins in 9 games, but on the hour Callum Morton equalised for the Imps beating Luke O’Nien to the ball and hitting the ball low into the corner of the net. That means Lincoln have won just one of their last 8 games but remain in 4th place, Sunderland stay in 3rd.

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