Reports: 5 stand out games in the Football League

Football is a funny old game and individual results are often lost amongst the raft of results on any particular game day. Here are five that deserve to stand out from the crowd following Saturday’s games.

Sky Bet Championship

Birmingham 3 – 0 Ipswich

Birmingham and Ipswich are slugging it out like prizefighters around the last of the Championship Play-off placeswith almost identical records. With the team so evenly matched, a big scoreline would have been the furthest thing from most people’s minds as kick-off approached. As the 90 minutes dripped away, that’s what was happening as Birmingham City ran out 3-0 winners.

Birmingham were already one goal to the good, courtesy of Will Buckley (23′), when Ipswich’s Jonathan Douglas was sent off in first half stoppage time – a straight red being offered. Further goals in the second half from ex-Barcelona player Jon-Miguel Toral (54′) and Maikel Kieftenbeld (70′) gave Birmingham an easier victory than what they might have hoped for.

Bolton 3 – 1 MK Dons

At the other end of the table basement club Bolton are fighting for more than their Championship survival. Entering the game with only 17 points from 27 games, and realistically eight points from safety, Bolton faced a team they needed to beat in 20th-placed MK Dons. Nothing short of a win would do for the Trotters, thankfully the football gods were smiling over Lancashire today.

Bolton jumped out to an early lead courtesy of Rob Holding (7′) before Darren Pratley (41′) doubled the lead to give Bolton the luxury of a two-goal lead. Bolton held out for the majority of the second half before a Josh Murphy goal (89′), assisted by Daiel Powell, narrowed the lead to just the one goal. However, Bolton still had a little gas in the tank and Shola Ameobi (91), assisted by Dean Moxey, popped up with a third goal to put the game beyond doubt.

Sky Bet League One

Barnsley 6 – 1 Rochdale

It was South Yorkshire against Lancashire as 13th-placed Rochdale travelled to Oakwell to take on 17th-placed Barnsley. Barnsley entered the game on a good run of form with four wins against a single loss in their last five games; the Tykes taking 12 from a possible 15 points. Rochdale’s form was a little more sketchy having two wins, two losses and a draw in their last five games; The Dale taking only six points from a possible 15.  However, little would suggest that this game was going to be a goal fest, but a goal fest it was.

Barnsley jumped out to a rapid lead with Alfie Mawson (8′) opening the scoring in what was to prove the only goal of the opening half. Not long after the break, Sam Winnal (52′) doubled the Barnsley lead before Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (63′) pulled one back for the visitors to set up a tense final quarter-or-so of the game.

However, Barnsley had other ideas and turned the screw somewhat with Sam Winnal (69′) bagging his second of the day. This only served as an entrée for what was to come as the Tykes struck three late goals in quick succession from Marley Watkins (84′), hat-trick hero Winnall (89′) and Kevin Long (90′) to round out an impressive day at Oakwell for the home team.

Crewe 1 – Wigan 1

Life at the bottom end of the table isn’t pleasant at the best of times, even more so if you are the basement team and you are entering the game realistically seven points behind the breathing space just outside the relegation zone. In situations like these, every point counts as teams try to inch their way to safety and away from relegation.

Today the Railwaymen were up against 5th-placed Wigan, a team unbeaten in their previous five games (three wins and two draws) and a team who are well into the play-off places – they were eight points ahead of 7th place. Despite the disparity in places between the two, it was an evenly fought game and one that Crewe will no doubt see as a point gained rather than two lost.

It was Wigan who opened the scoring with ex-Manchester City defender Reece Wabara (16′) getting on the scoresheet to give the Lactics an early lead. However, just before the half, Crewe equalised through Bradden Inman (43′) to ensure that both teams went in as equals at the break. Despite both teams’ endeavour, the half time score wasn’t added to and the game ended 1-1.

Sky Bet League Two

Yeovil Town 2 – 1 Crawley

Home team Yeovil entered the game next to bottom of League Two and six points and one goal away from the relative safety of 21st place. Goalless at the half, the fortunes of the game itself revolved around a double substitution on 57 minutes that saw Jack Compton and Shaun Jeffers make way for Tahvon Campbell and Ryan Bird.

It was Bird (59′) who provided the breakthrough that the game had been waiting for, opening the scoring only two minutes after coming on. It was fellow substitute Campbell (77′) who doubled The Glovers’ lead in a quick one-two substitute double. Crawley’s Lee Barnard (83′) pulled one back to set up a terse last seven minutes but it was the home side that saw the game out to emerge as 2-1 winners.

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