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The League One Review

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Football League Two The League One ReviewA great second week to League One has seen 31 goals scored in the 10 fixtures this week and plenty of incidents and action to get ourselves stuck into.

As we will do regularly we start with the League One news:

  • The football world was saddened by the news of 2 deaths this week. The Exeter striker Adam Stansfield, aged 31, and Southampton owner Markus Liebherr, aged 62, have both left huge voids not only at their clubs but in football and I’m sure you will all be wishing the friends and families of both your condolences. For those unaware of the two in question I refer you to a moving blog about Adam here and for Markus here is a link to the fans and players views.
  • A mixed weekend for League One clubs in the Carling Cup during midweek the two stand out results were the defeat of Bristol Rovers 6-1 by Oxford and on a brighter note for League One the upset caused by Hartlepool against Sheffield United.
  • The Johnstone Paint Trophy draw was made this week and it goes as follows.

JOHNSTONE’S PAINT TROPHY – FIRST ROUND DRAW

Northern section (west): Macclesfield v Morecambe, Oldham v Shrewsbury, Port Vale v Rochdale, Tranmere v Accrington.
Northern section (east): Hartlepool v Northampton, Rotherham v Lincoln, Sheffield Wednesday v Notts County, Walsall v Chesterfield.
Byes in northern section: Bradford, Burton, Bury, Carlisle, Crewe, Huddersfield, Peterborough, Stockport.
Southern section (west): Aldershot v Oxford, Bournemouth v Torquay, Southampton v Swindon, Yeovil v Exeter.
Southern section (east): Brighton v Leyton Orient, Charlton v Dagenham & Redbridge, Southend v Gillingham, Stevenage v Brentford.
Byes in southern section: Barnet, Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham, Colchester, Hereford, Milton Keynes Dons, Plymouth, Wycombe.

Ties to be played week commencing 30 August.

And so we move onto this weeks reports, we start at Dean court where newly-promoted Bournemouth face the challenge of a visiting Peterborough looking to add to their win at home to Bristol Rovers on opening day.

Bournemouth 5-1 Peterborough
A Brett Pitman hat-trick was the catalyst of Peterborough boss Gary Johnson describing his teams performance as ‘pathetic’ and ‘embarrassing’ and its hard to disagree with the damning comments. The hosts were dominant in the first half and went in at the break at 2-0 thanks to goals from Marc Pugh and Anton Robinson. The cherries didn’t let up and by the 57th minute were 4-0 to the good.

Pitman firing a shot into the corner before capitalizing on a Charlie Lee error, Kevin Langmead grabbed a goal back for the hosts but the day was to be Bournemouth and Pitman’s as he completed his hat trick with a smart finish from 18 yards out.

Next fixture – Bournemouth: Tranmere(a); Peterborough: Huddersfield(h)

Brentford 1-2 Walsall
Walsall earned their first points of the 2010/2011 season with a hard-working but undeserved victory. Brentford had much of the game but paid for poor finishing and key defensive errors. Walsall took the lead in the twelfth minute with their first attack of the game. Thanks, in most part, to hesitation in the Brentford back line allowing Alex Nicholls to convert a long ball.

It didn’t faze Brentford too much and carried on as the better of the two teams and got just rewards. Gary Alexander grabbed his first goal since his summer move from Millwall by heading in a cross from Robbie Simpson on 44 minutes and the teams went in level.

Parity lasted nine minutes into the second half when poor defending allowed Darren Byfield to cross for Julian Gray to score what proved to be the winner. Brentford tried to get back on terms but a mixture of Walsall organisation and poor finishing allowed the visitors to hold on.

Next Fixture – Brentford: Swindon(a); Walsall: Plymouth(h)

Brighton 2-2 Rochdale
10-man Brighton were left frustrated as Gary Jones equalized deep into stoppage time to give the visitors a share of the spoils. The first half went by without much incident and didn’t provide any inclinations to the drama that would follow in the second.

It started when Glenn Murray, once of Rochdale, headed in after being quickest to react to his own header hitting the crossbar. The drama then began to unfold when Gordon Greer punched Anthony Elding to be sent off and concede a penalty. Gary Jones leveled the game up from that penalty but still the hosts pressed and pressed with the lack of a man hardly seeming to effect them.

Reward was gained when Elliot Bennett scored in the 67th minute and this seemed as if it would be the winner until Gary Jones’s lob from 20 yards shared the spoils.

Next fixture – Brighton: Sheffield Wed(a); Rochdale: Colchester(h)

Bristol Rovers 2-1 Yeovil
Byron Anthony was the Rovers hero as his stoppage time goal which earned the hosts victory. The goal came four minutes into stoppage time and was only five minutes after Adam Virgo had volleyed in what everybody thought would earn 10-man Yeovil an unexpected point but Anthony unleashed a rocket of a shot to send the Memorial Stadium into rapture.

Jo Kuffour had put Rovers into the lead on 45 minutes when he headed powerfully past John Sullivan in the Yeovil goal. The second half seemed to be passing away without much note until JP Kalala picked up two bookings inside six minutes and meant Yeovil played the last ten minutes with 10 men and the late goal drama gave Rovers a deserved win.

Next fixture – Bristol Rovers: Exeter(a); Yeovil: Hartlepool(h)

Colchester 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday
For the second week in a row Colchester drew when in a winning position. The game was a tight contest and up until the 50th minute Wednesday had the better of the chances with Clinton Morrison hitting a post and just shooting wide. The game changed though on that 50th minute as Andy Bond scored a spectacular goal on his home debut.

The goal galvanized the hosts and David Mooney was guilty off missing two great chances to extend the lead. The hosts looked to have done enough to gain all three points only for Neil Mellor to score a wonderfully taken goal. After bringing the ball down on his chest, he got himself past two defenders and shot home to equalize and give Sheffield a share of the spoils.

The result was probably a fair one on reflection of the whole game but Colchester will feel they should of hung on for three points.

Next Fixture – Colchester: Rochdale(a); Sheffield Wednesday: Brighton(h)

Hartlepool 2-2 Swindon
Hartlepool threw away a two goal lead in this enthralling encounter. Hartlepool raced out of the blocks and were two up inside 12 minutes of the game. Adam Boyd, fresh off scoring his first goal since February in the midweek cup game, scored again having the simple task of tapping home from eight yards and the second came from Anthony Sweeney pouncing on a poor back pass from Lescinel Jean-Francois.

Given the bad start it showed immense character for the visitors not to fold in front of jubilant home fans and a home team smelling blood. Swindon began to have lots of possession and created half chances as Hartlepool refused to let their grip on the scoreline go.

Then in three mad second half minutes Swindon were back on level terms substitute Thomas Dosevvi powered in a first-time strike and then Charlie Austin finished well when a defensive mix up provided him with the chance. Swindon were rewarded for persistence but Hartlepool will be kicking themselves at letting the opportunity go!

Next fixture – Hartlepool: Yeovil(a); Swindon: Brentford(h)

Huddersfield 0-0 Tranmere
The only 0-0 of the week and by far the worst game for a neutral in this division. Tranmere set their stalls out and invited Huddersfield to attack them and the home team were unable to do so, missing the tempo and industry we have come to know from Huddersfield of the past season.

Joe Collister in the Rovers goal had to be alert to save from Jordan Rhodes and Gary Roberts but apart from that he had a quiet day. Rovers rarely threatened but did have a long distance effort comfortably saved by Alex Smithies in his only action of the game.

To add to Huddersfield frustrations Gary Naismith was sent off late on for his second booking and capped a fairly forgettable afternoon for Lee Clarks men. All credit to Tranmere they got the point there organisation and labor deserved.

Next fixture – Huddersfield: Peterborough(a); Tranmere: Bournemouth(h)

Oldham 3-0 Notts County
Newly promoted Notts County found life hard again and succumbed to successive 3-0 defeats. County although having more shots and corners than their opponents never had a guilt edge chance and manager Craig Short revealed after the game he had a ‘heart to heart’ with his players asking for ‘25%’ more from each of them.

In truth Oldham have gained a ruthlessness under Paul Dickov and many teams will lose games at Boundary Park. Dean Furmans opener from 25 yards was the pick of the goals with the others scored by, Sunderland loanee, Ournare Tounkare and Kieran Lee.

An impressive afternoon’s work by Oldham and they sit as deserved leaders of the League One table.

Next fixture – Oldham: Charlton(a); Notts County: Dagenham & Redbridge(h)

Plymouth 1-1 Carlisle
Rory Patterson was the Plymouth savior as his last gasp goal salvaged a point where it was scarcely deserved after an impressive Carlisle away performance. Ian Harte had given the visitors the lead when he headed in midway through the second half. The game was void of clear cut chances and, up until Harte opened the scoring, the closest we had come was a 25 yard shot going close from Harte himself.

Plymouth’s obvious nerves in front of their home crowd made Carlisle’s job easier as misplaced passes were breaking down promising Argyle moves. Carlisle were looking comfortable until Patterson four minutes into injury time swept in from eight yards out.

Harsh on the Cumbrians but Plymouth will look to the cliché of the best teams in leagues avoid losing when not playing well.

Next fixture – Plymouth: Walsall(a); Carlisle: Mk Dons(h)

Leyton Orient 1-3 Charlton
In Fridays game, Counter attacking Charlton made the most of Orient’s profligate shooting to register successive wins in the league despite being reduced to 10 men. Charlton took the lead, thanks to Alan McCormack’s header in the 28th minute and missed Orient chances meant the half time score was 1-0.

The lead didn’t last too long inside the second half, however, with Scott McGleish drilling home from inside the six yard box five minutes in. Two minutes later Charlton were reduced to 10 men, Christian Dailly received his second yellow and suddenly Orient were looking certainties to go on and win the game.

The home team flooded forward with wave and wave of attack with numerous half chances but the numbers flooding forward allowed Charlton to hit Orient with a sucker punch. Lee Martin picked out Scott Wagstaff on a brisk counter attack and he finished with ease to give Charlton an unlikely lead.

The home teams dominance continued but they couldn’t force an equalizer and it was Charlton on a brisk counter again made the points safe in stoppage time as Wagstaff turned provider to give Chris Solly the easiest of tap ins. Orient had 20 shots in total in this game and will wonder how exactly they let this game slip from their grasp but all credit to Charlton, who were down to 10 men, defended stoutly and counter attacked with great pace and skill.

Next fixture – Leyton Orient: Southampton(a); Charlton: Oldham(h)

A fantastic weekend of games (apart from at Huddersfield) where neutrals would have been able to enjoy the pace and skill of England’s 3rd division.

Performance of the week came from Bournemouth and if they can continue the attacking displays shown this weekend it would take a brave man to say they couldn’t achieve back to back promotions.

Next week’s fixture provide us with an early first versus second battle as early pace setters Oldham and Charlton face off at the Valley. Other notable things to look out for will be Peterborough’s response to the drubbing they received this week and whether Notts County can give manager Craig Short the ’25% more’ he is asking for.

For the gamblers out there it is a hard week with teams with similar starts battle one another for this reason I would only be having small bets on draws at Sheffield Wednesday, Peterborough, Charlton and throw in Bournemouth to carry on where they left off this weekend next weekend at Tranmere.

As always I welcome fans’ questions and opinions on the division and their own teams displays.

Until next weekend this is goodbye.

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