League Two Review – Week 19

Gaps finally began to appear at either end of the Sky Bet League Two table last week as the season heads into its final 10 games.

A crucial clash at the top saw Cambridge United edge a 1-0 win over fellow title contenders Forest Green Rovers. Uncharacteristically, the division’s top scorer, Paul Mullin, did not feature on the score sheet after squandering a spot-kick less than 20 minutes into the match. Ex-Norwich City midfielder Wes Hoolahan made the difference on the brink of halftime with an exceptional effort from an acute angle.

Cambridge remained in touch with Cheltenham Town at the top of the standings, separated by just a single point. Forest Green will start looking over their shoulders after losing ground on the three clubs behind them. A difficult run-in could see the Green’s battle for automatic promotion boil down to the final day.

On the opposite end of the league, Southend United missed out on an opportunity to capitalise on Colchester United’s defeat after leaking a late equaliser on a trip to Scunthorpe United’s Glanford Park. The Shrimpers led through substitute Ashley Nathaniel-George’s first goal in 28 games but were left distraught by a last-gasp effort from Alfie Beestin, which rescued a point for 10-man Scunthorpe. Had Southend held onto the lead, they would be looking to build upon a surmountable five-point deficit to Colchester.

Barrow snuck away from imminent relegation threat after a valiant duel with Crawley Town chalked up their fourth win in succession. The Bluebirds opened the scoring 10 minutes in through Tom Davies and it set the precedent for what was to become a ding-dong battle. Barrow led 2-1 at halftime but looked to have scuppered their streak when Jack Powell equalised for the visitors six minutes from time. The stars had aligned for Rob Kelly’s man, however, as 34-year-old Chris Taylor turned home the winner five minutes into added time.

Morecambe got back to winning ways after a 1-0 victory over Harrogate Town pushed the Shrimps up to sixth. Having struck a blip in form with a draw and a loss in their last two, Derek Adams’ team scored the only goal of the game within a minute of kick-off as 22-year-old defender Will Smith turned the ball into his own net. Nathaniel Knight-Percival was sent off but Morecambe held on.

Away from the pitch, Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt swooped the honours of February’s Manager of the Month. Wanderers were unbeaten in the six matches played throughout the month, winning five and drawing just once.

The Player of the Month award also headed back to Lancashire as Wanderers centre-back Ricardo Santos claimed top prize. The Portuguese kept four clean sheets throughout February.

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