The new year got off to a frustrating start for Exeter City as the gruelling visit to Cumbria to face Barrow was postponed due to a frozen pitch. Adverse weather wreaked havoc elsewhere in Sky Bet League Two, as a further four matches were postponed and a fifth abandoned.
Carlisle United were crowned as the new league leaders for the first time this season following a 2-0 win on the road at Walsall. Omari Patrick struck in the first half to put the Cumbrians ahead before Irishman Joshua Kayode netted his fourth of the season late on to ensure the three points came home to Brunton Park.
At one point it looked as though Forest Green Rovers would top the charts. Scotsman Nicky Cadden put the Green ahead early on as they hosted Oldham Athletic, but they were pegged back on the brink of halftime by a Zack Dearnley strike deep into added time. The second half played on for only 13 minutes before the match was abandoned as a result of fog.
Leyton Orient got back to winning ways with a 1-0 win at home to Salford City. 27-year-old Danny Johnson’s first-half strike was enough to see off the Ammies. It is only Orient’s third win in seven matches, but their sixth home win in the last seven. Ross Embleton’s side sit just outside the playoffs, a solitary point behind 7th-placed Morecambe.
A busy week at Blundell Park saw 46-year-old Paul Hurst take over at the helm for his second tenancy of Grimsby Town. His first match in charge saw the Mariners fall to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Cambridge United, who move into playoff contention. League top scorer Paul Mullin netted the winning goal in the first half, which increased his tally to 18 for the term.
Stevenage threw themselves a lifeline with an impressive comeback victory at home to Scunthorpe United. After trailing to a fifth-minute strike from Devarn Green, a quickfire brace from Charlie Carter turned the tables on the visiting Iron. Scoring was rounded off in injury time by Stevenage substitute Aramide Oteh. The win lifts the Boro to 22nd on goal difference, although they will be hoping to capitalise on their two games in hand and create a chasm to the drop.
Including City’s trip to Barrow, five matches were postponed on the opening weekend of 2021. The table seems askew with so many teams falling behind on fixtures. Among those affected, Morecambe missed out on a chance to push towards the automatic promotion spots. The Shrimps have two matches to spare and sit just three points behind 3rd-placed Forest Green.