Promotion & Relegation Watch – League Two – Version 3

Note: With yet another international break at the top of English football, we have decided to take a look at the promotion and relegation picture in the top four leagues in England. You can find the Premier League version here, the Championship version here, and the League One version here.

Like League One, League Two is not participating in the international break this week, with most of the teams in action this weekend (Yeovil Town and Lincoln City has been postponed until later in the season due to international call-ups). Only two clubs have yet to play 17 matches on the season, and all the clubs have played at least five matches since the last time we looked at these standings.

As a reminder, in League Two, the top three teams are automatically promoted to League One, with the fourth- through seventh-place teams competing for promotion via a playoff. After the 2017-2018 season, Accrington Stanley (1st), Luton Town (2nd), Wycombe Wanderers (3rd) and Coventry City (playoff winner) earned promotion.

The top of the league table currently looks like this:

League Two Promotion 20181111

Eight of the ten clubs listed here were in top box last time as well, and Lincoln City has maintained their grasp on the top thanks to a 2-2-1 stretch over those last five games. They’ve been locked into first place in the league since Matchday 5, though their gap has narrowed a bit recently due to the strong play of the Milton Keynes Dons. The Dons were relegated from League One after last season, so their strong play this season was not unexpected. However, I don’t think anyone was expecting their current nine match unbeaten streak (6-3-0) since their lone loss on the season, nor surrendering the fewest goals in the league. That stingy defense has allowed them to find success despite scoring the fewest goals among teams in the promotion zone, though they currently boast the third-highest goal differential.

Colchester United made the biggest move among the teams in the last snapshot, moving from one point out of the playoff to one point clear of the playoff and in automatic qualification territory. They did so despite losing one of their five games in the interim, while also handing Lincoln City their one loss during that time. They have also managed to add four goals to their goal differential, moving into second place in that metric as well, which could help should promotion come down to tiebreakers at the end of the season.

At the other end of the table. only two teams face relegation to the National League. Last year, Barnet (because of point differential) and Chesterfield went down to the National League. Barnet is holding their own, currently in 12th, while Chesterfield currently sits outside the relegation zone on goal differential alone.

The bottom of the League Two table currently looks like this:

League Two Relegation 20181111
The bottom of the table has two new members, with Cheltenham Town joining Macclesfield Town in the red zone. Cheltenham Town hasn’t won a match since 8 September, accruing a 0-4-5 record since that victory against Northampton Town. Luckily, they are one of two clubs in the league that has only played 16 matches, so they will have one extra match sometime over the next few weeks to try and elevate themselves ahead of Notts County.

Macclesfield Town did manage to win their first match of the season over the past month, but they still have the worst goal differential in the league (five goals worse than Notts County) which isn’t doing them any favors. Scoring the third-fewest goals hasn’t helped, but more troubling is the second-most goals allowed. Being four points behind the next club up is quite a gap to overcome, and playing the MK Dons this weekend will most likely lead to an extension of their current three match losing streak. Despite inning promotion from the National League last year, they just don’t appear ready to compete with the clubs of League Two.

Until next time…

As of matches played through 11 November 2018

 

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