Nine games into the 2013/2014 season and Accrington Stanley sit 92nd out of 92 teams; certainly an unenviable position. Former England international, James Beattie, has so far been unable to steer Stanley to safer waters and, the way things are going, the club will be playing non-league football next season. They opened their campaign by being thumped 4-1 by new boys Newport County and, despite their next two results ending in a shock Capital One Cup victory against Middlesbrough and a solid 2-2 draw versus Portsmouth, the Lancashire club went on a run of defeats lasting six games, which included defeats to Burton, Chesterfield and Rochdale. A hard fought 0-0 draw away to Plymouth broke the run, but it hasn’t stopped the rot and they are still yet to record a win and have only accumulated two points.
Just above them are last season Play-Off finalists, Northampton Town. The Cobblers have only picked up one win so far and are stranded in the relegation zone on just four points. Aidy Boothroyd has spoken of hard work being key to kick-starting their season, but Northampton lack a proven goalscorer which has meant their start to the season has been frustrating. They have not yet scored away from home and with upcoming trips to Wimbledon and Oxford their form is unlikely to improve for a little while yet.
In 22nd place are recently relegated, Hartlepool United who started the season with a run of four matches in which they did not score. This run included home defeats to Southend and Fleetwood and away draws against York and Torquay. Hartlepool scored their first goal of the season in the 90th minute against Wycombe, before beating bottom place Accrington 2-1. A 2-2 away draw against Bristol Rovers followed but Oxford crushed any hopes that the County Durham club held of going on a run, with a 3-1 win.
Bury and York sit in 20th and 21st place respectively. Bury signed 25 players over the summer and so far they have failed to gel as a unit and their start to the season has been less than impressive. Their only wins have come over Accrington and Cheltenham and they are currently on a five game winless run in all competitions. York began the season with a win over Northampton and their latest game finished in a 4-2 victory over Portsmouth, but in between those two win they failed to win any of their seven matches, despite striker Ryan Jarvis sitting joint top of the goalscoring charts with five goals.
One of last year’s Play-Off semi-finalists, Cheltenham Town, are another team to have endured a difficult start to the season and sit 19th. A late Jamie Cureton winner against Wimbledon in their most recent game could signal an upturn in results but prior to that win, Cheltenham had won just one game and lost four. One place above Cheltenham is Torquay who have won and lost the same amount of matches as Cheltenham and have lost three of their last four.