With the exception of City’s home tie against Grimsby Town, a full complement of fixtures was played out in Sky Bet League Two last week as things tightened at the top of the table.
Just nine points separated the top nine clubs at the close of play, with Cambridge United continuing to lead the way with 52 on the board. Just a solitary point ahead of second-placed Forest Green Rovers, the U’s kept their noses in front with a 3-0 away win against Mansfield Town.
The deadlock had yet to be broken by halftime and United looked to be on the back foot until league-leading goal scorer Paul Mullin netted twice soon after the restart to bring his tally for the term up to 22. An injury-time strike from substitute Harvey Knibbs rounded off a stunning 45 minutes for the visitors.
Forest Green extended their unbeaten run to five with a 2-0 win at Newport County’s Rodney Parade in a Sunday lunchtime kick-off. Despite seeing only 38% of the ball, a goal in either half ensured Mark Cooper’s side remained within touch of Cambridge’s benchmark tally. The Green will be rubbing their hands with glee as they look forward to a string of four fixtures against bottom-five sides over the next two weeks.
Southend United missed out on an opportunity to push themselves further from the relegation zone as they slumped to a 1-0 loss at home to Bolton Wanderers. The Shrimpers’ first loss in three came late in the tie as substitute Shaun Miller found the net eight minutes from time. A draw would have seen United move two points clear of the drop as Barrow too were beaten on home turf. Bolton have won four of their last five after a difficult Christmas period saw them winless in six.
Contrastingly, Stevenage enjoy a 10-point chasm to the relegation zone which they once inhabited after a 1-1 draw with 10-man Walsall. The visiting Saddlers led within a minute through Northern Irishman Caolan Lavery, who deflected a wayward clearance into the net for his second goal in as many appearances. Elliott List equalised for the Boro in the second half, fifteen minutes after Liam Kinsella was given his marching orders.
Salford City have made a fortress out of the Peninsula Stadium as they remain the only side in the division yet to suffer a home defeat. The fifth-placed Ammies chalked up their 15th consecutive unbeaten home fixture with a 1-1 draw with Carlisle United. The visitors led early in the tie through defender George Tanner but were pegged back almost 70 minutes later by James Wilson’s seventh goal of the season, just four minutes after his introduction from the bench.