Football League: Portsmouth win five-goal thriller while Bradford slip up

Kevin Nolan of Notts County congratulates Shola Ameobi after the Sky Bet League Two match between Notts County and Forest Green Rovers at Meadow Lane on October 7, 2017 in Nottingham,...

• Bloomfield Road started the day at the centre of increased attention and by full-time, it was much the same after Portsmouth ran out victorious from a five-goal thriller.

League One

It has not been a dull week at Blackpool. On Monday, the club’s owners, the Oyston family, were ordered to pay £31m at a high court ruling, and four days later, they put the club up for sale. In between all of that, the EFL removed the referee, Ben Toner, from the fixture, citing heightened scrutiny around the match-up.

The game itself did not come alive until the second period, with all five goals coming inside 34 second-half minutes. Brett Pitman, the striker, captain and lifelong poacher poked home from close range before Viv Solomon-Otabor levelled with 16 minutes to play. Then Ben Close, the Portsmouth academy graduate, hammered home his first goal for the club, and what he must have felt was the winner, with 10 minutes to play. But Blackpool levelled when Oliver Hawkins sent his headed clearance beyond his own goalkeeper, Luke McGee. It was Pitman, though, who had the last laugh, peeling off at the back post before slotting home his 11th goal of the season. “We gave it away cheaply and the manner of the goals was not acceptable,” Gary Bowyer said.

The numbers are not just adding up for Pitman. Another forward full of goals at the moment, Kieffer Moore, secured Rotherham United a point in the early kick-off at Doncaster Rovers. Moore, the Ipswich Town loanee who arrived at the club via Truro City and a stint in Norway, popped up with a timely 96th-minute equaliser for Paul Warne’s side. Moore has scored 13 league goals this season, more than any other player in England’s top four tiers.

• Remi Matthews is unlikely to forget Plymouth Argyle’s November trip to Valley Parade in a hurry. The Norwich City goalkeeper, making just his third start for his loan club, superbly denied Tony McMahon from the penalty spot, to condemn Bradford City to consecutive home league defeats for the first time since 2015. Jake Jervis put Argyle, who move off the bottom with this win, ahead after 35 minutes before Matthews’s second-half heroics. Bury replace them after they were pegged back late on by Gillingham, Josh Parker rescuing a 1-1 draw at Priestfield.

• Things went from bad to worse for Bristol Rovers manager Darrell Clarke at Scunthorpe United. Clarke had spoken bullishly in the week, adamant he would see a reaction from his side after three straight defeats. His team are now winless in four matches after Neal Bishop bagged a 94th-minute winner at Glanford Park. “We have copped a lot of flak,” Clarke said. “But we will keep going as a group, put the shutters up and we want to get back to winning football matches.” Bishop, whose team move up to fifth, said: “They came and put 11 men in their own half but we kept probing and believing a winner would come.” Elsewhere, MK Dons beat Fleetwood Town 1-0 while Northampton Town beat Oxford United 2-1 at the Kassam Stadium, with Chris Long the match-winner.

Results: Blackpool 2-3 Portsmouth, Bradford City 0-1 Plymouth Argyle, Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Rotherham United, Gillingham 1-1 Bury, MK Dons 1-0 Fleetwood Town, Oxford United 1-2 Northampton Town, Scunthorpe United 1-0 Bristol Rovers.

PosTeamPGDPts
1 Shrewsbury 16 14 37
2 Wigan 16 20 36
3 Charlton 15 7 30
4 Bradford 17 6 30
5 Scunthorpe 17 6 29

League Two

• At least the travelling Yeovil Town supporters making the 660-mile round trip to Carlisle United had a free pie and pint, courtesy of Darren Way and his squad upon arrival. But for the second time in two seasons, such generosity was matched by the Glovers’ defence. Danny Grainger’s unstoppable strike from 30 yards opening the scoring after seven minutes, before he slotted home a mysteriously awarded penalty from the spot to make it 3-0. In injury-time, Shaun Miller completed the rout for Keith Curle’s side, who are up to 14th.

• Late goals were all the rage, with Swindon Town and Cheltenham Town both scoring in stoppage time. Luke Norris slotted home from 12 yards to earn Swindon a draw in the 96th minute at home to Chesterfield, while Gary Johnson’s side snatched a point against free-scoring Luton Town at Whaddon Road, with Will Boyle bagging a 97th-minute equaliser. “The boys really, really worked hard,” Johnson, whose team are 16th, said. “I think it has got us a point nearer the play-offs, so people are telling me, and we have stopped Luton running away with it.”

• A point was ultimately enough for Notts County to retain top spot, although they made hard work of it at Stevenage. Danny Newton put the hosts in front before Elliot Hewitt struck an equaliser, after good work by Nottingham Forest loanee Jorge Grant.County’s shirts bore the name of the Nottingham-born singer Jake Bugg, who has sponsored their shirts for November. Exeter City continue to breathe down their necks after a routine 2-0 win over Grimsby Town, in which Jayden Stockley scored his seventh goal of the campaign.

• A stunner from Alex MacDonald was the difference at the Ricoh Arena as Mansfield Town beat Coventry City 1-0. Lincoln City came from behind to thrash Crewe Alexandra 4-1, with Harry Anderson starring at Gresty Road while Morecambe beat in-form Wycombe Wanderers 2-1. Elsewhere, Crawley Town earned a 1-1 draw with Forest Green Rovers, Cambridge United played out a stalemate with high-flying Accrington Stanley and Colchester United beat Barnet, with Rossi Eames’s side now winless since 9 September.

Results: Barnet 0-1 Colchester United, Cambridge United 0-0 Accrington Stanley, Carlisle United 4-0 Yeovil Town, Cheltenham Town 2-2 Luton Town, Coventry City 0-1 Mansfield Town, Crawley Town 1-1 Forest Green Rovers, Crewe Alexandra 1-4 Lincoln City, Exeter City 2-0 Grimsby Town, Morecambe 2-1 Wycombe Wanderers, Newport County 1-1 Port Vale (Friday), Stevenage 1-1 Notts County, Swindon 2-2 Chesterfield.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Ben Fisher, for theguardian.com on Saturday 11th November 2017 18.15 Europe/London

PosTeamPGDPts
1 Notts County 17 12 34
2 Accrington Stanley 17 11 33
3 Exeter 17 7 33
4 Luton 17 19 32
5 Swindon 17 6 29

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