The curtain falls on football at St James Park in 2020 today as City welcome Forest Green Rovers for the final home tie of the year. Sky Bet League Two heads towards its halfway stage, and proceedings remain totally unpredictable.
Southend United put themselves within sight of an exit from the relegation zone with a late 1-0 victory at home to Scunthorpe United. Marking just the second win in the Shrimpers’ campaign, they continue to lay at the foot of the English Football League but have slashed the chasm to just four points. Arsenal loanee James Olayinka’s 80th-minute winner brought to an end Southend’s dismal streak of 48 days since their last home goal.
United were joined in the drop zone by Stevenage following their 4-0 blowout at the hands of hotly in-form Carlisle United, who rise to third following an impressive run of six wins from nine. Stevenage, who narrowly avoided relegation from the division after the curtailment of last season, have slipped towards the lower echelons of League Two after a string of unfavourable results. The Boro replaced Bradford City in 23rd position after the Bantams converted a late consolation goal on the road at Oldham Athletic to edge upwards on goal difference.
City’s defeat at Oldham spelt the end of Scottish boss Stuart McCall’s third tenure at the club in just 10 years after struggling to five straight defeats. McCall had a spell at Valley Parade as caretaker manager in 2000, before taking charge again in permanent roles between 2007-10 and 2016-18.
Cheltenham Town continue to thin the gap at the summit of the table, as they have equalled or bettered the result of league leaders Newport County in each of the last eight fixtures. County fell to their first defeat since early November with a 2-1 loss to playoff side Leyton Orient. Second-placed Cheltenham could not capitalise on the blip, however, and the Robins were held to a goalless draw on a long trip to Salford City, despite dominating in the final third. The deficit at the top now sits at only three points.
It has been a winter of woe at Abbey Stadium as Cambridge United continue their cataclysmic fall from grace. After a promising start which saw the U’s tussling for the division lead, they have failed to record a win since the opening weekend of November and picked up only two points in the intervening weeks.
Bolton Wanderers manager Ian Evatt claimed the award for November’s Sky Bet League Two manager of the month, having won five and drawn once in an undefeated month for his Trotters. Meanwhile, Colchester United’s 26-year-old midfielder Jevani Brown scooped the title for the player of the month.