D3D4 Correspondents give you their match reports from the matches in League One and Two this weekend…
MATCH REPORT: Walsall 1-1 Shrewsbury Town
In truth you can’t be too disappointed with a point at the Biscuit Tin. History tells us that Salop rarely come away with much, in fact not since the glorious 93/94 season have Town grabbed all three points at the motorway service station.
Walsall were compact and organised against Towns Wing threat and Jon Nolan was subdued in a creative sense, the game though, hinged on a baffling decision by the match officials in the twentieth minute, a short while after Agyei had put the hosts ahead with a delicious curling, dipping effort that the back peddling MacGillivray couldn’t keep out.
Town woke from their slumber and when Payne’s goal bound header was stopped by Guthrie’s flailing hand, Referee Salisbury instantly pointed to the spot from a great vantage point, but from that point things went dark for the normally card happy official. He consulted his helpers face to face, they were about as much use as Santa’s little helpers on Christmas eve after the jolly man had taken to the skies, he had a chat with everyone it seemed on his radio, but astonishingly none of the dream team could identify the culprit….let’s hope they never have to take part in a police ID parade, because the idiots wouldn’t know where to start. Payne buried the spot kick in front of the travelling Salopians but you couldn’t help but feel very hard done to by the officials.
Payne had the main chances to seal the points having one cleared off the line by the impressive Roberts, before his crisp volley was ruled out for offside. In the second period his long shot failed to test and then he was left grinning when an offside flag spared his blushes as he fluffed his lines on a golden opportunity.
Craig MacGillivray was at his best late on to deny current Salop Young Player of the Season Tyler Roberts’ downward header to ensure Salop’s unbeaten run extended to twelve games.
Gillespie; Wilson, K Roberts, Guthrie; Devlin, Morris, Edwards ©, Oztumer, Leahy; Agyei (T Roberts, 68), Bakayoko
Subs not used: Roberts (gk), Flanagan, Ismail, Kouhyar, Shorrock, Candlin
MacGillivray, Bolton, Nsiala, Sadler, Brown, Godfrey, Rodman (Whalley, 75), Nolan, Ogogo ©, Dodds (C Morris, 75), Payne (Gnahoua, 89)
Subs not used: Gregory (gk), Riley, Beckles, Adams
words Ian Evans, D3D4 Shrewsbury Town Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Notts County 1-1 Forest Green Rovers
Notts County’s impressive Meadow Lane stadium for me today for the League 2 leaders home game with bottom club Forest Green.
A massive 13,200+ crowd packed into the ground & from the kick off Notts responded, winning a corner after 16 seconds. The early part of the game wasn’t for the purists & there were some full blooded challenges coming in on both sides with three yellow cards issued by referee Lee Probert in the first 16 minutes (Notts 1, FGR 2 yellow).
A Carl Dickinson free kick which went close early on but there was little goalmouth action of any note in the early stages of the game & proceedings were looking scrappy however on 23 minutes Notts almost took the lead when Rovers defender Roberts almost scored a 20 yard own goal, heading narrowly wide attempting to find his own goalkeeper. Forest Green gained the advantage three minutes later against the run of play when Christian Doidge was allowed to get in a unhindered cross for the unmarked Bugiel to tap home. Buoyed by the goal FGR grew in confidence & in the next action a good save by Adam Collin in the Notts goal prevented James putting Rovers two up. Notts almost got back on level terms when striker Jon Stead had an effort saved well by Russell in the Rovers goal.
HT Notts 0 FGR 1
The second period started with Notts on the offensive but they were having difficulty creating any clear cut chances. Torrential rain started early in the second period which hindered the play of both sides & on the hour mark Notts were indebted to Collin again when he kept out a goalbound Charlie Cooper effort. Despite a raft of substitutions by both sides the game became untidy again & seemingly petering out for a Forest Green victory until in the 96th minute Notts full back Matt Tootle managed to put in a cross where midfielder Robert Milsom to head in to gain County an unlikely point.
words Ian Bradley, D3D4 Rotherham United Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Barnet 0-0 Coventry City
This was the first ever meeting between these two clubs, and a game that failed to excite the fans in the Hive stadium, or those watching it live on TV.as it was a boring 0-0 match. So nobody was “buzzing” when they left the Hive, pardon the pun.
An impressive away support of 1,390 in a crowd of 4,041was Barnet’s highest home gate so far this season, but sadly the fans watching on had to endure a poor and dour encounter. I don’t think the Sky Blues ever play well in front of the cameras for some reason, we get nervous and fail to show the viewers what we are capable of. But once again we came away with yet another clean sheet, that’s now eight in twelve matches. Our defence is a mean machine and hardly gives much away, but the strikers just aren’t clinical enough upfront and its a good job we’re solid at the back, or their timidity in banging in goals could be our undoing as this campaign trundles on.
Mark Robins wants strikers to step in when Duckens Nazon isn’t playing, as was the case at Barnet as Nazon was on international duty for Haiti, but try as hard as they can it looks like we rely far too much on the Haitian player, which is a bit of a worry. Yet we have got young Jordan Ponticelli who has banged in loads of goals for our youth teams, and who should be given a good run out in the first team, as the saying goes in football : ” if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. “
He has to be satisfied at the moment with a substitute place on the bench, but for some reason Robins wants to wrap him up in cotton wool, and thinks he’s not yet ready for a whole 90 minutes.
Yet this is League Two football not Premier League division so come on Mark Robins give the lad a few games, as he is already a fans favourite.
But we’re still in a healthy fifth spot in the table with 23 points only 5 points off the leaders Exeter City.
Up next for the Sky Blues is a tricky away fixture at Accrington Stanley on Saturday. But with our tight fisted defence not willing to give much away, and surely we will soon be putting away chances created in a game, this should be a winnable game ?
What was that iconic advert years ago on the telly.
“Accrington Stanley, who are they ? Exactly ! ”
(Spoken in a Scouse accent of course.)
words Kevin Halls, D3D4 Coventry City Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Carlisle United 0-1 Exeter City
Carlisle United and Exeter City seemed almost tired of playing each other this weekend. That was due to the fact the two sides surprisingly met three times back in May of this year in both the league campaign and play-offs. The Grecians ran out winners in the play-off matches on aggregate but both sides ultimately had suffered heartache by the end of the season.
That’s made even worse by the fact these two clubs are the furthest two teams apart geographically in League 2. This one was a much less competitive affair on paper and the two teams were far apart in the table prior to the match. Keith Curle’s men were near the bottom of the table and Paul Tisdale’s men nearer the top before kick-off.
The Cumbrians had to deal with the suspensions of both Richie Bennett and Tom Parkes, who were both shown straight red cards a week prior for violent conduct.
The match was devoid of clear-cut chances in the early stages. Both sides were cautious of their opponent’s threat and with two leaky defences facing off against each other, it wasn’t surprising. Nothing came off consistently for either side and the home side’s best chance came when Danny Grainger played a one-two with Nicky Adams on a corner, and the full-back fired a venomous shot across goal.
Exeter’s Rueben Reid forced a good save from Jack Bonham, who seems to be back as first choice for Carlisle, after Jayden Stockley’s bicycle-kick came off the post. Hallam Hope and Shaun Miller had half-chances too but Christy Pym was confident between the posts for the away side. The first-half fizzled out in an extremely dull fashion and the whole of Brunton Park was hoping for a better second-half after the break. The match so far, though, did show that it was certainly more competitive on the pitch than it was on paper.
There was soon a goal to kick-start the half and it was for Tisdale’s team. Pierce Sweeney headed in with ease after fellow defender Troy Brown headed across goal with Bonham blocked off. Jeers rang around the ground and frustration was vented towards Curle – but the travelling fans were in delirium. That clearly impacted the tone of the affair and some excitement was injected into the match, welcomed severely by all.
For the remainder of the half, the pressure was on Exeter as Carlisle pushed for an equaliser. Luke Joyce had a shot saved well by Pym, who also saved excellently from Clint Hill. Miller had a header cleared off the line by Dean Moxey and time-wasting strategies were utilised by the Grecians. Jamie Devitt, Reggie Lambe and a long-awaited return for Jason Kennedy gave fresh legs from the bench but the trio couldn’t make a significant impact as Brunton Park urged their side on with the Grecians up against it.
Hill’s centre-back partner Gary Liddle, back into the Cumbrian’s defence, had arguably his best match since arriving at the club with calm & composed play added with some much-needed aggression at times and was shown appreciation from fans who had been critics of him as of late. He had to clear the ball off the line after Stockley’s shot on the counter attack towards the conclusion. His efforts were ultimately in vain though, when the full-time whistle blew and Exeter came out on top.
That win sent the Grecians top of the league but the Cumbrians still sit just above the depths, hoping for a turnaround sooner rather than later. These sides met last season in the fixture at Brunton Park when Carlisle were pushing for an automatic promotion place and grabbed a last minute winner, leaving Exeter at the bottom of the table. Faith was shown in Paul Tisdale back then by the Devon club’s board and have clearly had the better ride over the period of time that has since followed.
With many fans wanting a managerial change for the Cumbrians, there’s no better shining example of how sticking with a manager who knows the club well early in the season can reap good fortunes, than their, now well-known, opponents.
words Nathan Ridley, D3D4 Carlisle United Correspondent