With a third of the 2021-22 Sky Bet League Two season now in the history books, proceedings are still tight at both ends of the table and the outcomes are looking tough to call.
Forest Green Rovers’ cushion at the top of the league shrunk to just three points after stumbling to a 1-1 draw with Bradford City, while the five clubs on their tail all won. Rovers dominated the possession of the ball but failed to make it count as they were held to their second draw in three games. Bradford were ahead within 10 minutes when Andy Cook notched up his seventh goal of the season with a towering header from a corner.
The Green had to fight back into the tie, and it was 19-year-old Jake Young who pulled level just before the hour-mark. With the point-rescuing goal, Young moves onto 10 contributions in his time in Gloucestershire. Derek Adams’ Bradford are without a home win in more than a month.
Mansfield Town got back to winning ways with a 2-0 defeat of Tranmere Rovers, after an unenviable run of 13 without victory. The win pushed the Stags out of the relegation zone, which they had occupied for much of the season. Mansfield are only two points clear but have a favourable run of fixtures to look forward to over the next few weeks.
Free-scoring Leyton Orient moved into the playoff positions with an authoritative 5-0 win over Hartlepool United. Aaron Drinan netted a hat-trick and assisted the other two goals in what must be amongst the most well-rounded performances of the season. The Irishman doubled his contribution tally for the season, now boasting six goals in 11 league appearances.
Following the defeat, Hartlepool manager Dave Challinor was relieved of his duties, despite the club sitting 10th on their return to the division. At the time of writing, no replacement has been found.
There was also a 5-0 thrashing across the border, as Newport County duly dispatched visitors Stevenage at Rodney Parade. Midfielder Dom Telford racked up a hattrick in an unruly display which brought his tally up to a remarkable seven goals in his last three appearances. Newport’s victory saw the Welshmen leap up to eighth, just outside the playoffs.
County are level with seventh-placed Harrogate Town on points and goal difference but are being held out of the playoffs on goals scored, in which they face a two-goal deficit.
Away from the pitch, Scunthorpe United parted ways with manager Neil Cox and his assistant, Mark Lillis after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Colchester United. Days later, the Iron announced former Plymouth Argyle centre-back Keith Hill as the new, permanent boss.