With only a month to go before the season ends for another year, teams now only have a handful of games to salvage their League One status. With up to nine teams still worrying about their fate come May, we look at the contenders who may drop into those bottom four places.
Since their first trip to Wembley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, Walsall have failed to pick up a single victory or even muster a goal and have now only won two matches since the 10th February. Walsall are currently sitting in 15th position in the table but find themselves only 2 points from the relegation zone. They have six matches still to play and face fellow relegation rivals Crawley and Crewe in a four day period on the 14th and 18th April. Walsall end the campaign away at potential champions Bristol City and their fans will hope that they have already guaranteed safety before this tricky fixture.
It was only one month ago when Port Vale were sitting two points from a Play-off spot but an alarming run of six consecutive defeats including home losses to Crawley and Colchester, have propelled Vale down the League Table and they now sit only two points from safety in 16th. A 95th minute loss to Rochdale on Easter Monday was a tough result to take and now they must face promotion hopefuls MK Dons this Saturday. Port Vale only have five matches remaining and face relegation contenders Scunthorpe on the 14th April and bottom club Yeovil on the penultimate game of the season, these in between tough games against MK Dons and Preston.
Since Tony Mowbray’s arrival on March the 7th Coventry have had an upturn in form and have only lost three in eight games since his appointment. Important wins against teams further up the table such as Doncaster, Chesterfield and Peterborough have been encouraging, but the recent home loss to bottom-four team Leyton Orient cannot be ignored and the Sky Blues find themselves just 1 point from the drop. Coventry have struggled at the Ricoh Arena since their return in November and home fixtures to Colchester on Saturday and Crewe in their final home game will have a big say in what division Coventry will play in next season. Their last game of the season away to Crawley could have a big say in what team plays in League Two next season.
A Good Friday 2-0 home victory against Peterborough stopped a nine game winless streak for Scunthorpe going all the way back to the 17th February against Chesterfield. Scunthorpe will take heart in coming from behind and salvaging a point away to Notts County and with top scorer Paddy Madden, the Iron will hope they will have the firepower to keep their heads above water. Scunthorpe’s next three fixtures could shape their season as they face a home double-header against Crawley and Port Vale and then an away fixture against Colchester, all teams fighting for survival.
Crawley had an excellent mid March picking up nine points against relegation rivals Colchester, Port Vale and Leyton Orient thus dragging themselves from relegation certs to hopeful survivors. They now sit in 19th position but are still only 1 point from the relegation zone. The goals of experienced Striker Izale Mcleod have been immensely helpful to Crawley’s cause and they need him to carry on the goal scoring form if they have a chance to stay up. Crawley have five games remaining and unbelievably four of them include teams around them putting Crawley’s fate firmly into their own hands, they face Scunthorpe on 11th April, Walsall on the 14th April, Notts County on the 18th April and finish against Coventry on the final day.
After the heights of a Promotion challenge last season and a Play Off Final defeat to Rotherham, Leyton Orient would not of expected to be 1 place above the drop (level on points with the relegation zone) with 6 games remaining. However the last 3 matches have been a real turn around for the O’s in beating Port Vale 3-1, a superb 1-0 away win at Coventry and coming from 2 goals behind to draw 3-3 with Gillingham. With only 5 home league wins all season it is no doubting why Leyton Orient are where they are, and they will be thankful to know, of their remaining 6 matches 2 are home fixtures. On the other hand Leyton Orient have a tough run in and their final 4 matches are all against Promotion chasing teams in MK Dons, Rochdale, Sheffield United and Swindon Town.
Only 2 wins in their last ten matches see Crewe occupying the final relegation place in 21st. One of the main reason for this is the amount of goals conceded by Crewe being 70, (the highest in the league) compared to Leyton Orient who sit one place above them who have only conceded 57, a -33 goal difference could also be their downfall should goal difference come into the equation. Crewe have a habit of not backing up good results against better team, none more so than recently getting an excellent win away at Sheffield United and then backing this up with an uninspiring 0-0 draw at home to Crawley. The Railwaymen face Leyton Orient this Saturday at home, where a win would give them a massive confidence boost into the final four fixtures.
After the great escape last season under boss Sean Derry, Notts County find themselves in a deja-vu situation albeit this time under new manager Ricardo Moniz. Failing to win any of their last three matches against Scunthorpe, Walsall and Coventry was a blow, however they stay undefeated with three draws. One win in ten is relegation form although a trip to bottom club Yeovil Town on Saturday could give the Magpies some much needed three points, and with only being 2 points from safety County will hope they can take the experience from last years escape into this campaign.
After March 14th 3-2 home loss to fellow strugglers Crawley, Colchester looked certain to drop into the 4th tier of English Football, a league they haven’t played in since 1998. However Colchester now have a fighting chance of survival thanks to excellent results in their last four games. Wins against Yeovil and a draw against Gillingham set up two double-header Easter victories against Port Vale and Barnsley; now Colchester firmly believe they can beat the drop. A win away at Coventry on Saturday is vital to continue the run, with two final tough games against Swindon and Preston.
As we reach the business end of the season, teams will be fighting for their lives to stay in League One this season. However, with only four points separating nine clubs it could be a nervous wait for many teams at the foot of League One.
Pl W D L GD PTS
|16. Port Vale||41||14||6||21||-10||48|
|17. Coventry City||41||11||14||16||-11||47|
|18. Scunthorpe United||40||12||11||17||-12||47|
|19. Crawley Town||41||12||11||18||-20||47|
|20. Leyton Orient||40||12||10||18||-3||46|
|21. Crewe Alexandra||41||13||7||21||-33||46|
|22. Notts County||40||11||12||17||-13||45|
|23. Colchester United||40||12||8||20||-14||44|
|24. Yeovil Town||41||8||9||24||-36||33|