>Cheering on the rivals…plus League Two review…

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Finally seated in a good position next to a Soccer Saturday screen in the pub yesterday following a tough task to find a good spot (being in Southampton just before their FA Cup tie with Man United, it was always going to be a tough ask!) I surprised myself by feeling loyalty to the Football League’s bottom tier. It was strange that the teams that I hope all lose to each other every week had become my adopted sides in the competition and with no game for the Cobblers it put the focus a lot more on what was happening elsewhere.

I’m usually caught up of a Saturday watching the scores roll in about whatever we’re up to, the implications of certain results to us and what would happen if, say, we equalised, conceded scored a winner in the next few minutes. So it was a change of tack this time as we celebrated Jamie’s birthday back on one of our old student haunts as the rivals became, for one day only of course, the hopes for a League Two side in the FA Cup Fifth Round.

It wasn’t to be though and as Hereford, Stevenage, Burton (though Zola did get a debut goal) and Torquay were put to the sword. I felt, particularly, for Torquay who in the midst of national celebration that a “small non league team” had reached the fifth round, ending United’s own hopes of a first appearance in that round in their history.

There’s clearly a lot of hype around Crawley at the moment but when you look deeper then the current league they’re in you see that they’ve spent over £500,000 in building the current squad….more than League Two combined! The fact that their manager is Steve Evans also grates. A man who has been sent from the dugout endless times, been suspended for years and even been escorted from a ground at half-time to me isn’t the right man to head up what looks like being a bankroll to the Football League. The club will always be in the firing line when they do make it up here and the manager certainly won’t help them to make friends.

In any event, League Two’s fixture list will now be full again on FA Cup weekend and yesterday there was a scattering of results that saw a couple of big movements up and down the table.

Chesterfield could only extend their lead at the top by one point but a last minute equaliser against Bradford in an entertaining 2-2 draw will come more of a relief than anything to the Spireites. Bradford were on the brink of a massive result in terms of their recent form but a stoppage time goal from Jordan Bowery was to deny them.

Stockport’s goal difference fell to a massive minus 35 as they stay rock bottom thanks to a 4-0 reverse at Rotherham. The Millers had a brace from Ryan Taylor to thanks for helping them back into the top three at the expense of Crewe whose game with Accrington was called off due to a frozen pitch.

Ryan Lowe scored the only goal on Friday night as Bury overtook Shrewsbury by beating them at Gigg Lane – The Shakers now up to fifth. Port Vale’s poor run continues as they went down 1-0 at Lincoln. Loan striker Ashley Grimes netted the only goal of the game to condemn Vale to a fourth game without winning. That’s also a third game in a row in which the early league pace setters didn’t score. That win took Lincoln above Macclesfield who also fell victim to the weather at Morecambe.

Gillingham
got back to winning ways with Cody Macdonald again on the score sheet with a brace against Aldershot in a 2-1 home win while Oxford and Cheltenham shared the spoils at the Kassam Stadium, the game ending 1-1. Meanwhile, Barnet missed a chance to escape the bottom two as goals from Anthony Grant and Barry Corr earned Southend all three points at Underhill.

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