League Two Review – Week 23

The curtain falls on Sky Bet League Two this week as the 46th round of fixtures commences.

Cheltenham Town are the only club in the top half coming into this weekend with their future confirmed after they secured automatic promotion to League One with a draw at home to Carlisle United. The Robins lead the way in the division on 79 points but missed an opportunity to be crowned champions last time out after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Newport County. Joss Labadie found the net after just four minutes, and a resolute display of defending kept the league leaders at bay.

Second-placed Cambridge United faltered in a Friday night clash with Harrogate Town. United had a chance to put some pressure on the leaders but were beaten, 5-4, at the EnviroVent Stadium. Six goals were on the board by halftime, with midfielder Brendan Kiernan notching up his first hattrick of the season.

League top scorer and newly-crowned Player of the Season, Paul Mullin, netted twice in the second half to draw the match level at 4-4 with 15 minutes still on the clock. Mullin’s tally now sits at 31 for the campaign. Harrogate won the tie in the 84th minute through Kevin Lokko, who was making just his second appearance in his side’s league season. Cambridge’s promotion is yet to be made official.

On the opposite end of the table, Southend United’s relegation to the National League was confirmed. Southend did all they could, coming from behind to beat Barrow 1-2 after conceding within 20 minutes of kick-off, but it was Scunthorpe United’s goalless draw with Bradford City that sent them down. Had Scunthorpe lost, the fight for survival would have gone down to the final day, but the draw built a four-point cushion to the drop zone for the Shrimpers.

Morecambe kept in touch with the automatic promotion spots after recording a 2-0 win against Walsall. Cole Stockton opened the scoring in added time at the end of the first half with a strong finish off the post after catching a defender in possession. The lead was doubled late in the second half when Yann Songo’o capitalised on an error from Walsall goalkeeper Jack Rose. It was Songo’o’s sixth goal of the season.

The Shrimps sit just a point shy of the promotion places after Bolton Wanderers were beaten by a sublime comeback from Exeter City. Morecambe will host 14th-placed Bradford today, while Bolton must pay a successful visit to Crawley Town’s Broadfield Stadium should they wish for an immediate return to League One.

Cheltenham boss Michael Duff swooped the honours for League Two Manager of the Season after guiding the unlikely contenders from Gloucestershire to the top.

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