League Two Review – Week 12

Exeter City were again stripped of a road trip last weekend as treacherous weather put a stop to a visit to Harrogate Town. Sky Bet League Two was ravaged by ice and snow once more as the season reached its halfway stage.

League leaders Carlisle United retained their spot at the summit despite their trip to Mansfield Town being postponed. It was announced just days before the tie that the Cumbrians’ next three matches – against the Stags, Leyton Orient and Forest Green Rovers – would be postponed as a result of a number of positive coronavirus tests being returned from squad members.

Four clubs were presented with an opportunity to leapfrog Chris Beech’s side in their absence, but each faltered to a draw on Saturday. Second-placed Newport County hosted fifth-placed Salford City at Rodney Parade. Sat just a solitary point behind United, the 10-man Exiles struggled to a goalless draw, leaving them behind on goal difference alone.

Leyton Orient snuck into the playoff spots with a dominant 2-0 win at home to Morecambe. The O’s boasted just shy of three-quarters of the ball possession throughout the game but were held in a stalemate until the 88th minute when they took the lead through an own-goal by Nathaniel Knight-Percival. Ross Embleton’s side doubled their advantage in added time through Lee Angol. The win dumped Crawley Town from the final playoff position after the Red Devils’ visit to Bradford City was called off due to dangerous weather.

On the opposite end of the table, a relegation battle between the two lowest-placed sides in the division also rendered a goalless draw. Freefalling Grimsby Town hosted bottom-of-the-league Southend United, and the point apiece went some way to closing the gap to Scunthorpe United. The Iron fell to a 1-0 defeat on the road at Barrow, and the lost ground sees the relegation zone looming just two points below them.

December’s manager of the month was awarded to Morecambe’s Derek Adams. The ex-Plymouth Argyle boss has instilled a fresh lease of life in the Shrimps since his arrival in November 2019 and has his side fighting at the top this season. Morecambe won five of their six matches in their busy December schedule, including all four home fixtures.

The players’ award went to Crawley striker Max Watters. The 21-year-old bagged six goals in six games throughout the month, including a hat-trick against Barrow. Watters is the third top scorer in League Two, and his 13 goals in 15 matches have earned a move to Championship side Cardiff City for a fee believed to be worth up to £1 million. The youngster departs after just three months at Broadfield Stadium.

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