The Battle for Football League survival
With less than 9 games left in League Two, we here at 24/7 football decided to look at the final games for every club in the fight to retain their Football League status. This season has thrown up a few surprises and looks to keep that trend going into the final 8 or 9 games.
24. Notts County
Currently sat at the foot of the League Two table are Nottinghamshire based side, Notts County. County, who were preseason favourites for promotion, currently find themselves on the verge of entering the Non-League for the first time in their history. The oldest Football League club are also having a nightmare off the pitch with the club currently up for sale.
Notts County’s recent form – LDLWD
The Magpies head into the final 8 games in a slight rejuvenation of form with 4 points being acquired in their last two games. However, County have only picked up 5 points in their last 6 games and have struggled to string a prolonged run of form together all season. To add further salt to their wounds, County have been dire at Meadow Lane in recent weeks, with the Magpies having only picked up 7 points in their last 8 home matches.
Notts County’s final 8 games
Exeter City (H) 23/03/2019
Stevenage (A) 30/03/2019
Northampton Town (H) 06/04/2019
Crewe Alexandra (A) 13/04/2019
MK Dons (H) 19/04/2019
Crawley Town (A) 22/04/2019
Grimsby Town (H) 27/04/2019
Swindon Town (A) 04/05/2019
County have a fairly balanced final 8 games with Notts having to face 2 promotion-chasing sides in MK and Exeter. County also have to play an inform Northampton side and a playoff-chasing Stevenage. A tough easter weekend awaits on the horizon with the Magpies facing MK on the Friday before a long away trip to mid-table Crawley on the Monday which could be a deciding factor in Notts’ survival.
Newly promoted Macclesfield town currently sit 23rd place under the guidance of former Arsenal and Spurs defender, Sol Campbell. Since Campbell’s arrival, the Silkmen have seen an improvement in their fortunes, picking up 7 points in his first 4 league games. However, Campbell’s men have slumped back into their old habits over the recent weeks with Macclesfield winning just one of their last five league games.
Macclesfield Town’s recent Form – DDLLW
The Silkmen head into their final 9 games in good spirits after defeating 22nd placed Yeovil Town, 2-0. The victory over Yeovil ended a 7 game winless streak and has left Macclesfield only 3 points away from safety with the Cheshire-based side also having a game in hand on Yeovil.
Macclesfield Town’s final 9 games
Stevenage (H) 23/03/2019
Lincoln City (A) 30/03/2019
Morecambe (H) 06/04/2019
Forest Green Rovers (A) 13/04/2019
Northampton Town (A) 19/04/2019
Newport County (H) 22/04/2019
Port Vale (A) 27/04/2019
Cambridge United (H) 04/05/2019
*Exeter (H) Date to be confirmed
Macclesfield arguably have one of the toughest final 9 games out of all the teams facing relegation with the Silkmen facing 3 of the top 7 teams. Furthermore, Macclesfield have to face both Stevenage and Northampton who will be hoping they can sneak into the playoffs. Macclesfield finally have two huge games at the end of the season facing 20th and 21st placed Port Vale and Cambridge who will be hoping to seal their futures as Football League clubs before the final two games. However, if the Silkmen can get results against the teams around them they can pull away from the drop zone.
In 2014, Yeovil Town were battling relegation from the Championship. Fast forward 5 years and Yeovil currently find themselves ominously facing relegation to the National League for the first time since they were promoted to the Football League in 2003. Yeovil, who had started the season in encouraging form, soon fell away and have subsequently been dragged into a relegation battle.
Yeovil Town’s recent form – WWLLL
Yeovil’s recent form makes for vexatious reading for Glovers fans, with the Somerset-based side sitting bottom of the League 2 form table. Yeovil have only picked up 9 points in there last 12 games and to add to their problems, have failed to win in their last 4 away games with the Glovers only scoring one goal in those 4 away trips.
Yeovil Town’s final 8 games
MK Dons (A) 23/03/2019
Newport County (H) 30/03/2019
Swindon Town (A) 06/04/2019
Crawley Town (H) 13/04/2019
Crewe Alexandra (A) 19/04/2019
Colchester United (H) 22/04/2019
Northampton Town (A) 27/04/2019
Carlisle United (H) 04/05/2019
Yeovil arguably have one of the toughest finishes in the League with the Somerset-based side face 3 playoff-chasing teams in their final 3 games. With Macclesfield facing Port Vale and Cambridge, it could be crucial that Yeovil stop the rot and pick up points earlier and secure their survival.
Cambridge United currently sit 8 points clear of the drop, however could still get sucked into a relegation battle if the U’s fail to pick up points in their final 9 remaining games. United will be hoping to seal their fate as a Football League club and play a sixth straight season in League Two.
Cambridge United’s recent form – LLWDD
Cambridge have managed to pull away from the bottom two with a burst of positive results. The U’s have managed to pick up 18 points in their last 12 games, allowing them to pull away from the drop. Cambridge have also improved their home form, picking up 15 points in their last 8 league games at the Abbey Stadium.
Cambridge United’s final 9 league games
Carlisle United (A) 23/03/2019
Colchester United (H) 30/03/2019
Mansfield Town (A) 06/04/2019
Newport County (H) 13/04/2019
Swindon Town (H) 19/04/2019
Forest Green Rovers (A) 22/04/2019
Morecambe (H) 27/04/2019
Macclesfield (A) 04/05/2019
*Bury (A) date to be confirmed
With the U’s facing 3 promotion chasing teams in their next three games, Cambridge could get dragged into a relegation battle if Notts County, Macclesfield and Yeovil all pick up points. Furthermore, Cambridge have to face both Morecambe and Macclesfield on the final two games of the seasons both of which might be must-wins if the U’s are dragged into a relegation battle.
Sat 8 points clear of the drop are Staffordshire-based side, Port Vale. Vale have been dragged into the relegation battle following poor on-field performances and off-field issues that have plagued the club this season, similar to the situation at Notts County. If Vale were to be relegated, it would be the first time the side has played outside England’s top four divisions for 100 years with The Valiants last playing Non-League football in 1919.
Port Vale’s recent form – LDWWD
Port Vale have enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance of form over the past few weeks with the Valiants picking up 8 points in their last 6 games which has allowed Port Vale to create a sizable gap between them and the bottom two. However, Vale’s home form has been horrific with the Staffordshire based side only winning 2 of their last 8 home games.
Port Vale’s final 8 games
Forest Green Rovers (H) 23/03/2019
Northampton Town (A) 30/03/2019
Crewe Alexandra (H) 06/04/2019
Exeter City (A) 13/04/2019
Stevenage (H) 19/04/2019
MK Dons (A) 22/04/2019
Macclesfield Town (H) 27/04/2019
Bury (A) 04/05/2019
Vale have a gruelling final 8 games to play, with 7 out of the 8 still having something to play for. However, if Vale can put together a successful run in, the Valiants should secure their Football League status.
Morecambe appear to have retained their Football League status for 12 seasons in a row and have the astute guidance of Jim Bentley to thank for that. However, the Red and White army still could get sucked into a relegation dogfight if the Shrimps fail to pick up points in their final 8 games.
Morecambe’s recent form – LLWDD
Morecambe’s resurgence of form has seen the Seasiders pull away from the bottom two with the Shrimps now having a 9 point gap between them and 23rd placed Macclesfield Town. Morecambe have picked three wins in their last six league games ranking them as one of the inform sides in League Two. Morecambe in recent weeks has picked up impressive results against MK Dons and playoff-chasing Forest Green.
Morecambe’s final 8 games
Swindon Town (A) 23/03/2019
Crawley Town (H) 30/03/2019
Macclesfield Town (A) 06/04/2019
Grimsby Town (H) 13/04/2019
Mansfield Town (A) 19/04/2019
Cheltenham Town (H) 22/04/2019
Cambridge United (A) 27/04/2019
Newport County (H) 04/05/2019
The Shrimps on paper appear to have one of the easier run-ins with the Red and White army only facing two teams in the top half of the table. The rest of Morecambe fixtures are against mid-table sides and fellow relegation candidates. Arguably looking at Morecambe’s final run in it is safe to predict that the Shrimps will be playing League Two football for a 13th straight season.
Who do you think will be relegated from League Two?