No less than eight red cards were dished out by referees this Saturday as football league fans ignored the international break and turned their attention to League One and League Two instead. It was a bad tempered weekend across the country and the top of the table clash between south coast rivals Brighton & Hove Albion and Bournemouth was no different.
Both sides were lucky to end the game with eleven men as a number of rash tackles and flailing elbows threatened to ruin the local derby. However, the Seagulls’ lead at the top of the League One table was cut after Bournemouth equalised in controversial circumstances deep into injury time.
The home side went into the game five points clear of the chasing pack having gone undefeated in their previous seven league encounters. That lead looked set to be extended after Kazenga Lua Lua’s dipping 25-yard strike early in the second half put Gus Poyet’s side ahead.
However, the home side missed a host of chances to put the fiery encounter to bed and in the end they were made to pay for their carelessness. Two minutes into injury time referee Darren Sheldrake penalised Tommy Elphick for a handball which was not only outside of the box but was in fact committed by his opposite man.
Although Sheldrake initially awarded a free-kick, his linesman convinced him that the incident had occurred inside of the box – much to the derision of the home support. Marc Pugh stepped up to coolly send Casper Ankergren the wrong way and to maintain his side’s promotion push.
Carlisle, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield and Oldham all took advantage of Brighton’s profligacy in front of goal to close the gap on the League One pacesetters.
Goal-machine Gary Madine netted his sixth goal of the season to ensure that Carlisle overcame Notts County 1-0. Meanwhile, goal-shy Lewis Buxton scored his first goal in 54 games to give the Owls a 1-0 win over Leyton Orient.
Huddersfield Town defeated Colchester 3-0 away from home to end the U’s unbeaten start to the season. Lee Novak, Anthony Pilkington and Jordan Rhodes all scored for Lee Clark’s outfit which had substitute Lee Croft sent off for two bookable offences late on.
Oldham piled more misery on Andy Scott’s Brentford side by beating them 3-1 at Griffin Park. The south Londoners, who famously dumped Everton out of the Carling Cup just a few weeks ago, had taken the lead through Myles Weston’s early goal only for the visitors to strike back through Dean Furman, Chris Taylor and Dale Stephens.
Three London sides now lie in the relegation places as Leyton Orient and Dagenham & Redbridge join the Bees. The Daggers fell 2-0 away at MK Dons to lose their four game unbeaten run. Tranmere, who lost 2-0 at Southampton, complete the four relegation spots.
Hereford picked up their first point in five games as they held League Two leaders Port Vale to a 1-1 draw despite having Sean Canham sent off. This was a far more promising display from the Edgar Street side but they remain sitting at the bottom of the football league with a meagre six points to show for.
Hereford’s caretaker boss Jamie Pitman, who was a physiotherapist under previous boss Simon Davey, saw his team take the lead through Canham’s close-range finish. However, the summer signing from Notts County was sent off just ten minutes later as he brought down Justin Richards in the box. Marc Richards levelled from the spot.
The Bulls did have the chance to regain the lead from the penalty spot themselves when Anthony Griffith was adjudged to have fouled Dominik Werling. However, Guillem Bauza, released by Swansea City in May, had his effort saved by Valiants’ keeper Stuart Tomlinson. The result leaves Hereford four points adrift of safety.
Chesterfield closed the gap on Vale to just one point as Scott Boden’s injury time goal gave the Spireites a 2-1 victory over a stubborn Southend side. Danny Whitaker had opened the scoring for the home side before the Shrimpers drew level through Anthony Grant. The visitors then cracked the woodwork twice before they were cruelly denied even a point right at the death.
Bury also displayed their promotion credentials by seeing off Accrington Stanley 3-0 in what was perhaps the most unruly game of the weekend. By the time that Michael Proctor and Jon Bateson were justly shown straight red cards for the visitors the game was already over. Ryan Lowe’s first half brace (the first of which was his 100th career league goal) and Nicky Asoje’s finish after the break secured a comfortable win for the Shakers.
At the other end of the table, Barnet lost 2-0 at home to fellow strugglers Bradford in what could fairly have been classed as a relegation battle “six-pointer” even at this early stage of the season. Debutant Leon Osborne and Tom Adeyemi secured a first win since August for the visitors. The result moves the Bantams out of the relegation zone where they are replaced by the London side.