After nine games in League One city fans can take some comfort in realising how tight this league still is. Only 8 points separate the playoffs and the relegation zone, however, after Saturday’s result a trip to in-form Colchester is not necessarily the greatest tonic for any suffering Bantams fans.
I’ll start at the County Ground where Colchester recorded their third straight victory ahead of City’s visit to Essex on Tuesday.
Swindon 1-2 Colchester
Colchester won for the third time in as many matches with another one goal margin on Saturday. After leaving their last victory on the road at Sheffield United quite late in the game, they got all their scoring (and conceding) done in the first half this time around. George Moncur started the scoring after he netted from Matthew Briggs’ pull back on three minutes. Swindon replied through Wes Thomas who nearly took the net off the posts, smashing in a flick on from a corner. The game was sealed in emphatic fashion through Callum Harriot, he started a brilliant passing move with Marvin Sordell and finished casually to see the Us win two consecutive games on the road for the first time in two years.
Sheffield United 3-1 Doncaster Rovers
Sheffield’s second Yorkshire derby in as many games had everything you’d expect from a Yorkshire derby – goals and a properly dodgy tackle resulting in a red card. The Blades changed around the team which started at Valley Parade last Sunday, Connor Sammon and Jose Baxter two of the 5 additions to the starting line-up. It was another of Nigel Adkins’ changes that set up the first goal, Craig Alcock crossed for Chris Basham to get the first goal of the game. Donny levelled through a Cameron Stewart free-kick which just crept in between post and Mark Howard’s glove. Connor Sammon then put United back in the lead, finishing another Alcock cross at the back post. Then came a moment of madness from the visitors: after a bit of head tennis in the Sheffield box from a Rovers’ corner Gary McKenzie channelled his inner karate kid and unleashed an outrageous high boot into the chest of Alcock, the ref had no choice but to send him to the showers. Billy Sharp spent a few seasons with Doncaster and benefitted from a number of James Coppinger assists, well it must have been a bit of nostalgia for the two of them as Sharp latched onto his former team-mates back-pass and finished the scoring.
Chesterfield 1-2 Burton Albion
Burton maintain their hold on League One’s top spot after coming behind to beat Chesterfield at the Proact. They were behind, however, after the second minute of the game through former Doncaster man Sam Hird. The Brewers hit back straight after the break when their top scorer Stuart Beavon levelled things with a close range finish. Both sides looked for a winner and both came close, Burton hit the bar through Lucas Akins and Chesterfield saw an Armand Gnanduillet header hit the post. The game very much looked as though it was headed for a tie when deep into stoppage time Chesterfield had a penalty shout waved away, during the protests Burton went up the other end and scored the winning goal; Jerome Binnam-Williams with a smart finish to seal the three points.
Barnsley 2-0 Gillingham
With their emphatic win against Swindon a couple of weeks at Oakwell Barnsley made it two victories in as many home games as they welcomed third placed Gillingham to South Yorkshire. Half way through the first half Ben Pearson who is on loan from Manchester United drilled the home side ahead. Sam Winnall scored the Tykes second goal sealing their second home win on the bounce. Gillingham miss the chance to go second after Walsall failed to claim all three points at home to Crewe.
Walsall 1-1 Crewe
After finding themselves in twenty third place after nine games, the thought of visiting second place Walsall this week would have struck fear into the hearts of Crewe fans. Walsall played City whipping boys Chelsea in midweek, and although their performance gained praise from ‘the special one’ there’s only really one side in England who’s going to make him shake hands early. Tom Bradshaw continued his blistering scoring form firing the Saddlers in front after 3 minutes. He has now scored 8 in all competitions. Walsall have impressed so far this season with their quality of football, however the defending which saw Crewe equalise was fairly poor. The failed to clear their lines after a free-kick which allowed Ben Nugent to fire home and rescue a point for the Railwaymen. Burton have a three point lead at the top of the table.
Bury 2-1 Coventry
Bury are another of League One’s form sides, this win against Coventry made it four wins on the bounce for the Shakers. Former Sky Blue Leon Clarke had a game to remember against his former side, he scored in the 19th minute to give Bury the lead. Clarke had a pretty successful time at Coventry and fans were reminded of this early in the second half, this time from the penalty spot. Clarke made a run into the right channel of the box and was hauled down by Breda Johnson. Clarke dispatched the penalty to double Bury’s advantage. Johnson went some way to rectifying his mistake when he halved the deficit with a header five minutes later. Bury held out for the win and see themselves move up to fifth place.
Millwall 3-1 Rochdale
Before Rochdale’s trip to South London, Millwall had failed to make the Den a fierce place for opposition teams to come to. They had been beaten in every home game prior to the visit of Keith Hill’s men. Despite this horrible record it was in fact the home side who took the lead, Jimmy Abdu was all alone in the box and finished well to put the Lions in front after four minutes. Millwall fans must have sensed déjà vu as Peter Vincente levelled the scores after Joel Bunney’s cross or shot fell into his path. Unlike their previous home games Millwall refused to lie down and two minutes later they were back in the lead. Shaun Williams scored from close range to ensure Neil Harris’ side went into the break in the lead. Steve Morison finished the scoring half way into the second half with a neat chip over Dale ‘keeper Josh Lillis.
Oldham 1-1 Wigan
The Latics took on the Latics at Boundary Park on Saturday with Oldham looking to climb out of the bottom four and Wigan looking to push up the table. Wigan took the lead through the aptly named Max Power; he hit a ferocious drive low into the goal to put Wigan ahead. Oldham have shown themselves to be draw specialists so far this season; they had drawn 5 of their games previous to Wigan’s arrival, that’s the most of all the teams in League One. They were to make it 6 draws in total after an eventful four minutes saw their opposition go down to ten men and an equalising goal. Last week’s hero Jordan Flores reacted to Jay Fulton’s tackle with a knee to the face. The ref showed him a straight red and it was downhill from there for Gary Caldwell’s men. Dominic Poleon scored from close range four minutes later to give Oldham a share of the points.
Fleetwood 1-2 Port Vale
Fleetwood edged a scrappy first half; Bobby Grant put the hosts in front after 14 minutes with a good bit of individual skill and a tidy finish. The game changed when Colin Daniel came off the bench and won the game for the Valients. He scored a long range effort moments after coming on to bring the visitors level. He then won a penalty which Sam Foley dispatched to give Vale the three points.
Shrewsbury 2-0 Blackpool
Shrewsbury heaped on more misery for the Seasiders as they finished their 73 minute resistance to claim a home win. The win comes as a welcome relief for Shrews fans who saw their side lose their first four home games. Shrewsbury had the majority of the chances and possession in the first half, however they could not make it count. The game changed with two strikes in five minutes from Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro (the man with the most dashes in football). His first goal was a drilled finish which ended a nice move from the Shrews. His second was a lifted finish over the despairing Blackpool ‘keeper.
Southend 2-1 Scunthorpe
Not even an absolute beauty from Gary McSheffrey could stop Scunthorpe slipping to a second 2-1 defeat in as many games. McSheffrey opened the scoring when his 25 yard half volley flew into the goal. Southend were level half an hour later through captain Michael Timlin, he finished a Ben Coker pass to square things for the Shrimpers. Coker was to have another major impact in the game, sealing all three points for his side. A good turn of pace saw him push into the Scunthorpe box and unleash a powerful finish. Scunthorpe are still looking for an away win meanwhile Southend move up to 13th.
League One Top Scorers
Adam Armstrong - Coventry City - 6
Billy Sharpe - Sheffield United - 6
Bradley Dack - Gillingham - 5
Stuart Beavon - Burton Albion - 5
Tom Bradshaw - Walsall - 5