League Two Review – Season 2, Week 9

Sky Bet League Two clubs returned to league competition last week after taking a break to contest the first round of the Emirates FA Cup.

With league leaders Forest Green Rovers out of action due to multiple international call-ups, second-placed Port Vale had a chance to take the top spot as they welcomed Bradford City to Vale Park. After taking the lead through James Wilson shortly before the hour mark, Vale were pegged back 20 minutes later by a fabulous, glancing header from Lee Angol.

Forced to settle for the solitary point, the Valiants closed the gap to just two points at the top, while losing significant ground to Exeter City behind them, with the points level. Bradford have drawn five of their last eight outings in all competitions.

On the opposite end of the table, Scunthorpe United earned a valuable 1-1 draw with Salford City. While the margin to safety remains at a single point, United move level on points with Oldham Athletic after they were beaten by Exeter. Carlisle United stand between Scunthorpe and safety, having kept out of the drop zone following a goalless draw with Barrow. Just five points separate the bottom eight clubs.

Northampton Town suffered their first loss in five after falling to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bristol Rovers. The travelling Cobblers took the lead from the penalty spot shortly before the break but found themselves behind within 15 minutes of the restart as 23-year-olds Josh Grant and Anthony Evans netted five minutes apart to turn the tie on its head.

Rovers were reduced to 10 men in the 67th minute as veteran midfielder Glenn Whelan was given his marching orders for a second yellow card. Despite the personnel advantage, Northampton failed to make it count and slumped to their first league defeat in a month. Town previously boasted the best form in the division, having won each of their last four games before hitting the road on Saturday.

Harrogate Town got back to winning ways after a run of four games without victory. Town beat Walsall 3-1 at Banks’s Stadium, with Kieran Phillips’ late strike for the hosts a mere consolation. Harrogate continue to sit in fifth place, five points off the lead but only in the playoff places on goal difference. Four clubs are tied on 26 points.

Port Vale’s Darrell Clarke swooped the Manager of the Month award for October last week, having racked up a remarkable 13 points and scoring 17 along the way. Dom Telford brought the Player of the Month trophy to Wales, having found the net eight times and assisted once throughout the month, propelling the 24-year-old up the top scorers charts to joint-first.

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