League Two Round-Up: 11/08/2018

League Two Round-Up: 11/08/2018

Following last weekend’s round of opening matches, League Two enters matchday two of the new season on Saturday. Check out our round-up of this week’s fixtures below, complete with our recommended bet for all 12 games.

Colchester vs Port Vale

Colchester will be looking to build on a respectable opening day away point at Notts County on Saturday as they play hosts to Neil Aspin’s Port Vale side. The U’s could easily have left Meadow Lane with all three points last weekend, with new boy Frank Nouble coming agonisingly close in the first half with a good header that ganced just wide, while Tom Eastman curled a fabulous effort against the crossbar with just 15 minutes left on the clock. Head coach John McGreal gave debuts to summer signings Nouble, Harry Pell, and Aaron Collins who all impressed with their respective displays away from home. The point on the road to Kevin Noble’s Notts County will encourage McGreal and his players that they can build on last season’s 13th place finish and push for the play-off places.

Port Vale enjoyed a dominant opening day, defeating Cambridge United by three goals to nil at Vale Park. Tom Pope netted a second half double, including a confident penalty to make the score 3-0, however it was debutant Ricky Miller who gave his new side the lead at the brink of half time with a fantastic free-kick from 20 yards out. The Valiants have now gone 14 opening day games without defeat, in what looks to be the start of an exciting campaign for Neil Aspin. After flirting with relegation for much of the 2017/18, Vale made 16 signings this Summer in order to compete at the right end of the table, and it appears they may be ones to watch this season.

Recommended bet: Colchester win at 23/20 with SkyBet – BET HERE

MK Dons Vs Bury

Seventh meets eighth this weekend as MK Dons play host to Bury at Stadium MK. After relegation from League One last season, The Dons made the perfect start to life in League Two with new manager Paul Tisdale guiding his side to a 2-1 win away at fellow droppers Oldham Athletic, also under new leadership. Tisdale’s starting eleven last weekend included just two debutants, despite making a number of signings this summer. Jordan Moore-Taylor started at centre back, as well as Jordan Houghton who set up at the foot of the midfield to protect the back four. It was a timely return for Alex Gilbey who started competitively for the first time since a nasty injury in January. Two first half goals will have pleased Dons fans, however the performance of the defence, Moore-Taylor in particular, will please supporters as their side bid to return to League One.

Bury were involved in one of the opening days more dramatic fixtures last weekend, defeating nine-man Yeovil Town by a goal to nil. It did take the hosts until the 89th minute to break down Town, but three points were the most important thing when substitute Gold Omotayo’s strike saw the roof come off Gigg Lane. A winning start to life in League Two was paramount for The Shakers who suffered relegation last season. It was manager Ryan Lowe’s first game in charge since becoming full time manager, and he named five players in the starting line up to make their debuts; Will Aimson, Chris Dagnall, Nicky Adams, Tom Miller and Chris Stokes. Once Yeovil had two men sent off within a 15 minute second half period in Tom James and Jordan Green, only one team was going to win the game, although Bury did have to work to find the breakthrough via Omotayo.

Recommended bet: MK Dons win at 10/11 with Betway – BET HERE

Morecambe vs Exeter City

After a devastating 6-0 defeat at Crewe on Saturday, Morecambe return home to face in-form Exeter City this weekend. The Shrimps started five debutants against Crewe, but they couldn’t prevent the club from suffering their heaviest ever opening day defeat. It was a disastrous performance from Jim Bentley’s side who found themselves two goals down inside the first ten minutes, before conceding four more in the second half, including three in the last 18 minutes. Bentley says that the performance was “as bad as it’s been” as a player or a manager, but the result could have been much closer, had they taken their chances at 2-0: Rhys Oates had two good chances to get his side back into the game. For a team that only held their EFL status through goal difference, it is a worrying sign that Morecambe fell to such a heavy defeat in game-week one.

Exeter enjoyed a much more successful opening weekend to their opponents this Saturday, beating Carlisle 3-1 as the Matt Taylor era got off to the perfect start. The Grecians quickly took the lead through debutant Nicky Law, and fellow summer signing Jonathan Forte doubled the lead on 26 minutes. Their Cumbrian visitors hit back before the break however, and dominated the second half for large spells. There were nerves at St James Park, until Tristan Abraham’s scored on his debut with just seconds remaining in the third minute of injury time. The success of the debutants performances will ease the pain of last season’s play-off final defeat to Coventry City, and it appears Exeter will be up there again challenging for promotion to League One.

Recommended bet: Draw at 12/5 with Betway – BET HERE

Macclesfield Town vs Grimsby Town

After leading for the majority of their opening game away to Swindon, English Football League new boys Macclesfield can feel slightly hard done by not to have at least a point to their name so far. The Silkmen twice led at Swindon, with Kory Arthur scoring the club’s first goal in over 2100 days away from the Football League with a powerful strike that found the bottom right corner, before an audacious chip saw his side regain the lead after a Michael Doughty equaliser. It took two stoppage time penalties from Doughty to prevent Macclesfield taking anything from their first game, however the fact that they took promotion chasing Swindon to the very death will give them a huge boost ahead of what is set to be a challenging season for Mark Yates and his side.

Grimsby Town were shocked by Forest Green Rovers last weekend, as they suffered a 4-1 defeat at home to the side that survived relegation by just a point last time out. The Mariners were a goal up at half time thanks to a Mitch Rose penalty on half an hour, but a second half onslaught by Rovers meant Michael Jolley’s side could not treat their fans to a home win. The goal which gave Forest Green the lead will need to be quickly forgotten ahead of this weekend’s game at Macclesfield, with Danny Collins’ attempted pass back to James McKeown trickling into his own net, with the goalkeeper nowhere to be seen. Another mistake gifted Rovers their fourth, and it is clear that Town need to eradicate these errors from their game if they are to push on from last season’s average finish.

Recommended bet: Macclesfield win at 31/20 with Bet365 – BET HERE

Carlisle vs Northampton

Eight new faces travelled from Carlisle to Exeter last weekend, with five new arrivals given their debuts by new manager John Sheridan. Despite the game ending in a 3-1 defeat, the game was closer than the score line suggests, with Exeter’s final goal coming in the final minute of injury time. Interestingly two academy graduates made the bench for Carlisle too with Sam Adewusi and Jack Egan named in the squad- it will be good to see them gain minutes as the season progresses. Carlisle attacked well on Saturday, Richard Bennett and Jerry Yates often caused problems for the Exeter defence, with Bennett opening his account for the season with a good header in off the post. Kelvin Etuhu looked sharp throughout and it appears he will be an outlet this season, charging at defences up and down the country.

Northampton managed a respectable 15 shots on the weekend, with eight on target against Lincoln, but they just could not finish past an inspired Josh Vickers in goal for the visitors. It was a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to The Imps, who in truth owe the victory to their goalkeeper and some poor finishing from The Cobblers. When through on goal both Sam Hoskins and Daniel Powell lacked the conviction to finish past Vickers. The points were lost towards the end of the second half however, with two massive chances falling to Andy Williams who was denied twice by Lincoln’s impressive goalkeeper. It would be more worrying for Dean Austin had his side not created the chances, but there were plenty of goal scoring opportunities, which will please the manager ahead of the trip to Carlisle.

Recommended bet: Draw at 12/5 with Bet365 – BET HERE

Yeovil Town vs Mansfield

Yeovil were involved in a fiery match with Bury last weekend: both Tom James and Jordan Green were sent off in the second half before Gold Omotayo broke Town hearts with an 89th minute header to win the game 1-0. Yeovil were dominated for the opening 45 minutes by their hosts, before growing into the game in the second period, they could have taken the lead in fact, had Francois Zoko’s chipped effort not been well saved by Joe Murphy. Ten players had arrived at Huish Park ahead of the new season, and manager Darren Way started five debutants in Greater Manchester including goalkeeper Nathan Baxter who, for the most part, was a spectator with his defence in fine form particularly once his side was down to nine men. Despite the defeat, the performance will convince Town fans that they can compete this season.

Mansfield were one of the opening weekends more convincing performers, with a comfortable 3-0 home win over Newport County. The Stags finished just three points outside the play-offs last season, but with their summer signings immediately settling in and looking sharp for 2018/19, they can believe in going one step further this year. Tyler Walker took just 12 minutes into his competitive Mansfield career to give his side the lead after pouncing on some pinball in the box. The performance was spectacular from David Flitcroft’s men, and the second half brace from debutant Otis Khan wrapped up the victory easily. The Stags were superior all over the pitch, and they look rather strong going into this weekend’s game on the road at a flustered Yeovil.

Recommended bet: Mansfield win at 21/20 with William Hill – BET HERE

Tranmere vs Cheltenham

Newly promoted Tranmere battled back from two goals down to draw at Stevenage to celebrate their return to League Two. James Norwood was Rovers’ star man, and not for the first time, with two goals to bail his side out of trouble and claim a valuable away point. The alarming thing for Micky Mellon to assess was how his side conceded twice in quick succession, with both Stevenage goals coming in a seven-minute spell in the first half. Their response however will please the manager, with Norwood netting ten minutes before, then ten minutes after the break. Tranmere could have completed the turnaround in the final fifteen minutes as full-back Johnny Hunt saw red for a second bookable offence after a late challenge on Ben Tollitt. It will be a battle for Tranmere to stay in the division this season, but with the attitude they showed on Saturday, and with the talent of Norwood, they are proving they have a good chance.

Cheltenham haven’t won on the opening day since 2014/15 and it was clear from the first whistle that they wouldn’t be claiming three points against Crawley on Saturday. Without Scott Flinders in goal, The Robins could have been five or six down before half time. Gary Johnson, however, will be pleased with the impact of his substitutes, especially Kalvin Kalala on his English football debut. The Frenchman won a penalty for his side who could have snatched an undeserved point had Kevin Dawson not smashed the crossbar with his spot-kick. A switch to 4-5-1 made the afternoon more comfortable for Johnson, who opted for a 4-4-2 to start with, leaving his side much to open at the back. It seems if Kalala starts against Tranmere, Cheltenham may pose more of a threat at the right end of the pitch.

Recommended bet: Tranmere win at 21/20 with SkyBet – BET HERE

Forest Green Rovers vs Oldham Athletic

Forest Green Rovers return home to The New Lawn on the back of an incredible 4-1 win away at Grimsby Town on the opening day. The Rovers found themselves a goal down after half an hour, and didn’t score any of their four goals until the second period. While they may have been fortunate with a couple of their goals, Mark Cooper will be pleased with how his side have begun their campaign, considering how they stayed in League Two by just a point. The Eco friendly club has seen plenty of money been pumped in over the past few months and confidence is growing around the area that they can challenge at the top of the table. Mr reliable Christian Doidge netted a brace for his side, who will need him to be at his best all season if they are to continue their growth within English football and climb up the leagues.

After relegation from League One last season, Oldham got off to the worst possible start to their League Two campaign last week. The Latics fell to a 2-1 defeat at home to MK Dons, who were also relegated from the third tier of English football in 2018. Dan Gardner’s goal was well taken for Oldham, with the build-up play from Ishmael Miller fantastic. Daniel Iverson kept the score line down at times for his side, with his save from Connor McGrandles one of the highlights of the match. While they pushed for the equaliser in the second half, Oldham could not stop defeat in their first game in the bottom league since 1971. Since the loss, the club has sacked Anthony Gerrard after certain social media posts brought his team into disrepute. Oldham will be looking to get over their opening day defeat quickly, but will be up against it, facing one of the in-form sides.

Recommended bet: Draw at 9/4 with Betfair – BET HERE

Lincoln City vs Swindon Town

The Imps are left without many leaders in their squad following Luke Waterfall’s decision to join League one side Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday. Many are backing Michael Bostwick to take the armband as the fans’ favourite replacement. Not only have they lost a captain, they have also lost an impressive defender and he will need replacing soon, before the League Two games come thick and fast. Danny Cowley has had a busy transfer window with Lincoln, with some notable singings including John Akinde, who he has backed to score 25 goals come the end of the season, and Bruno Andrade to bring much needed pace and width to the side that came so close to reaching League One via the play-offs. Although Lincoln survived on Saturday with a clean sheet and a 1-0 win against Northampton, the defence looked rather ragged at the back at times, and often gifted chances to their hosts, who on another day would have tucked them away. It is clear they need to cut out these sloppy errors that could have cost them a good victory on the road.

Phil Brown’s Swindon that faced Macclesfield on Saturday consisted of several new faces, with Martin Smith, Jermaine McGlashan, Steven Alzate and Elijah Adebayo were all given the opportunity to start in front of their new home fans. Hero Michael Doughty also made his debut, although he has featured in previous seasons on loan at Swindon. Alzate dazzled in midfield for his new club, which will please his manager, as it seems he is settled in and ready to help with the seemingly inevitable promotion push that is expected. Although Town were 2-1 down entering injury time there was an expectation around the ground that they could turn the game on its head, with momentum now set to build as the season continues. The fact that Town have come from behind so early in the season, in such dramatic fashion, will leave them in good stead for the rest of the campaign, as they look to push on from ninth place last time out.

Recommended bet: Lincoln win at 5/6 with Coral – BET HERE

Crawley vs Stevenage

Harry Kewell will be delighted that his Crawley side managed three points on the road last Saturday, as it was something they managed just eight times last season as they finished in 14th place. It was debutant Ollie Palmer who secured the victory for his new side on the road, with a powerful header just after the hour mark. Had the Red Devils been more clinical then perhaps the score line would have flattered them more against a below average Cheltenham side who struggled to create much in the way of clear cut chances. With this being said, Crawley could have been denied victory, had Kevin Dawson scored from the penalty spot. It was shrewd business from Kewell over the summer, and it appears he has the team he wants in order to challenge at Crawley for the season ahead. Palmer is an exciting name along with Romain Vincelot and Filipe Morais among others; expectations are slightly higher this time around on the south coast,

Stevenage must have thought they had the three points confirmed after just half an hour on Saturday, as they cruised into a 2-0 lead over promoted Tranmere. The fightback however from The Rovers will be alarming for Dino Maamria who saw Johnny Hunt sent off for two yellow cards in the second half. The overall performance however will have pleased Maamria, with nine new new players starting the match- only Alex Revell and Ben Kennedy were part of the squad for the 2017/18 season. The important thing to take from the game on Saturday remains that they can score goals, and have a strong chance of finishing higher than last year’s disappointing 16th place. Stevenage will have to learn how to control games as the season progresses, as a 2-0 lead really should have seen them take all the three points into this week’s challenging fixture at Crawley.

Recommended bet: Crawley win at 29/20 with BetVictor – BET HERE

Cambridge United vs Notts County

Cambridge fit the mould of a team, that with the right momentum, could finish within the play-offs, but their lack of forward prowess is a worry for the club. Barry Corr and Jabo Ibehere’s fitness has been an issue for a while now – while they have both proven that they can score goals, their problems with injuries is a dilemma for Joe Dunne to tackle. United fans have been desperate for a new striker for the best part of a year, however the only offensive signing to date this summer has been wide midfielder Reggie Lambe from Carlisle. Conceding two set piece goals just before and after the half time whistle on Saturday seemingly lost Dunne’s side the game, with the newly improved Port Vale stealing momentum at the right time on the opening weekend. The visitors did have chances to get back into the game, but their lack of clinical finishing meant they could not get anything against a team that flirted with relegation for so long last season.  United’s away form was a problem last year too, picking up just four wins on the road, and it appears that there are still issues for Dunne to ponder for the 2018/19 campaign.

County were praised for their business over the Summer, as it was sorted rather early, with notable signings including Enzio Boldewijn and Kristian Dennis adding new firepower to the attack. The acquisition of David Vaughan from neighbours Nottingham Forrest was an incredible, yet crucial bit of business after the departure of Liam Noble. The Welshman has controlled games at Championship level over the past few years, and it was clear to see that once his fitness improves over the coming weeks, he will play a key role in Notts County’s League 2 campaign. New winger Boldewijn had an exciting first half, which saw fans get to their feet and applaud attacking football, which has been a common theme over the last couple of seasons at Meadow Lane. There is a sense that once the new players have bedded in with The Magpies, there is something exciting just around the corner for Kevin Nolan and his team.

Recommended bet: Notts County win at 31/20 with BetVictor – BET HERE

Newport County vs Crewe Alexandra

Newport were comfortably despatched by Mansfield on the opening day, falling to a 3-0 defeat without showing much of a fight away from home. Manager Michael Flynn was first to admit his side were second best all over the pitch, and a big improvement is needed ahead of Saturday when they face top scorers, Crewe. Joe Day, in goal, made a fine double save in the first half, but couldn’t prevent Tyler Walker giving the hosts an early lead, from then, it was simple enough for Mansfield to carve open Flynn’s side. Of his ten Summer signings, Flynn named five debutants at the One Call Stadium. The 3-5-2 looked as if it would be a defensive based performance from County, but it was a fast attacking start until Mansfield took the lead. Joe Day will have to be on fine form again if he is to stop a free-scoring Crewe side.

It was an emphatic win for Crewe on their opening fixture against Morecambe, netting six goals in front of their home fans. Their start was frantic, and The Railwaymen found themselves 2-0 up after ten minutes. It was Alex Nicholls on his Crewe debut who stole the show, with a fabulous brace to sink Morecambe. Midfielder James Jones also netted twice, with two long ranged efforts beating a tired Paddy Roche as the game dragged on. The finishing was slick from David Artell’s men, who will be excited by his sides ability to glide up the pitch and comfortably pick the right pass and split a defence. The win was Crewe’s first opening day victory since 2007, which is difficult to see why with the performance provided. Admittedly Morecambe were not a real test for the hosts, with their heads down after the second goal had nestled in. Newport will pose more of a threat to Artell and his side, however they will be low on confidence following an abject showing on the road. Crewe have plenty to build off.

Recommended bet: Crewe win at 2/1 with Bet365 – BET HERE