The battles at the top and the bottom of the table are becoming fascinating, and although we are currently in what is amusingly described as midtable obscurity, which I might add is pleasing, but after weeks and months of uncertainty, I’m still intrigued to see how it all plays out, hopefully you are as well, and that’s why we include this as one of our weekly features.
For the record I think the battle to avoid relegation is going to go to the very last weekend, with the possibility of a team relegated on goal difference, like I said fascinating and thankfully we won’t be caught up in it.One to clear up from Friday night first then the rest of the Saturday afternoon kick offs.
Oxford 2 Lincoln 1
This loss against Oxford means 3 defeats in their last 4 games for the Imps, and no win in their last 5 games. Two Lincoln players tested for positive for Covid prior to kick off forcing officials to move where the Imps players changed and reducing the subs bench to just 5 players. Despite this the former long-time league leaders went ahead after just 4 minutes, Tayo Edun cutting the ball back for Anthony Scully to side foot it into the net. After 30 minutes it was all square, Anthony Forde coming on for the injured Josh Ruffels and scoring with his first touch as Lincoln failed to clear a corner. Matty Taylor completed the turnaround on the hour mark hitting a sweet volley past Imps stopper Alex Palmer. The win means Oxford have hurdled 4 teams to jump up to 7th place overnight, Lincoln meanwhile are anxiously looking over their shoulder at teams around them having as many as 3 games in hand.
AFCW 1 Northampton 0
The big match of the day in the relegation battle looked to be fading into a 0-0 draw then it burst into life with minutes to go. 2 minutes from time AFC got a corner and Joe Pigott from the centre of the penalty acted quickest and fired home. 7 minutes came up on the injury time board and the Cobblers went full tilt at equalising and with seconds to go Luke O’Neil fouled Peter Kioso in the box, up stepped the normally reliable Sam Hoskins but Tzanev was the hero for AFC saving at the foot of the post. A valuable 3 points for AFC but they remain in the bottom 4 on goal difference, 1 goal behind the defeated Cobblers.
Blackpool 2 Plymouth 2
A massive hike for the Plymouth team, in what is possibly their longest trip of the season. The Seasiders stumbled into the playoff spots courtesy of us defeating Donny, but it could have been much better as Plymouth equalised in injury time. Argyle got the scoring going early in the 1st half, Ryan Hardie hitting it left footed from inside the area into the bottom corner. Shortly after the break Sullay Kaikai made it all square firing straight down the middle from just inside the box. Then the comeback was complete on the hour when Adam Lewis brought down Demetri Mitchell in the box and Jerry Yates converted from the spot to keep Pool playoff bound. But it was not to be as Argyle snatched a late equaliser, Joe Edwards firing home following a Conor Grant cross.
Bristol Rovers 0 Sunderland 1
Not the most convincing win for the Black Cats but they wont care. In a fairly even game a goal 6 minutes before the break proved to be the decider. In a training ground corner routine that teed up Aiden McGeady to lay the ball off to Aiden O’Brien who fired it home into the bottom corner. The win keeps the Black Cats on the pace in what is slowly becoming a three horse race for the top spots. Meanwhile a battling performance from Rovers left them fruitless and in trouble second from bottom and having played more games than most teams.
Hull 1 Gillingham 1
The Tigers had a slight hiccup in their title push drawing with the unpredictable Gills. Hull got off to a flying start scoring after 7 minutes, Tom Eaves heading home a Malik Wilks cross for one of the few headed goals of the day. With about 20 minutes to go the Gills pulled level with their only shot on target all game. Jack Tucker headed on a corner which fell kindly for Olly Lee and he planted it straight into the top corner. With 10 minutes of injury time to play Hull tried everything to get the winner but it was Gillingham who came closest in the 9th minute, Dominic Samuel hitting the post from just inches out, when it looked easier to score.
Peterborough 7 Accrington 0
Own up who upset Posh as after failing to win their last two games they went to town on Accrington smashing them for 7 goals. I’d be here all night describing the goals, so the role of honour goes like this, a hattrick for Jonson Clarke-Harris who feels like he has scored about 50 so far. Regular with the assists Sammie Szmodics weighed in with a brace, and one each for Mason & Burrows. It wasn’t just the score line in this game but the total quality Posh showed blew Stanley away, recording 19 shots, 12 of which were on target, and I should think the Stanley players couldn’t wait to hear the final whistle and get on the coach home. Posh stay in 2nd and although Stanley are only a handful of points off the playoffs with games in hand, their confidence will be shot to bits.
Shrewsbury 1 Portsmouth 2
A gutsy win for Pompey as they had to play the last 20 minutes with 10 men when John Marquis was shown a straight red for a bad foul on playmaker Harry Chapman. Marcus Harness got Pompey off to a good start after 25 minutes after Callum Jackson had set him up to shoot. Shortly before the break Marquis made it 2-0 seizing on a lose ball into the box and scoring from just inches out. Early in the second half Nathanael Ogbeta halved the deficit with a cracking shot from just outside the box. Both teams changed personnel in respect of the sending off, the Shrews becoming more attack minded and Pompey going defensive, but there were no more additions to the score. This result moved Pompey up to 5th spot after hurdling 4 teams that were above them at kick off.
Wigan 0 Ipswich 0
A welcome point for Wigan, and possibly an unwelcome one for the Tractor Boys, a win would have put them level on points with 6th placed Blackpool. This result leaves Wigan in the bottom four.