Friday, 31 May 2013

League One & Two 2012/13: Season Review

It has come to that time of the year again where we have completed yet another season in League's One and Two.

We begin in League Two where it was Barnet and Aldershot Town who were relegated and ends their time in the Football League, as they now face at least a season in the Blue Square Bet Premier. Barnet, now under Edgar Davids, have escaped relegation numerous times over the past few seasons, but not this year. The former Dutch midfielder has vowed to continue as manager at Barnet as they play in the non-league for the first time in eight years. Aldershot, another former non-league side join Barnet in the top tier of non-league, as they make a return to the BSBP for the first time since 2008. The Shots entered administration in early May with players being unpaid. The situation has yet to be resolved with 13 players being made redundant as they begin to prepare for the up and coming season in the non-league. Replacing Barnet and Aldershot will be Mansfield, who won the BSBP title, and Welsh side Newport County who were promoted after beating Wrexham in the Conference play-off final.

At the other end of the table, it was Gillingham who claimed the league title and made a return to League One alongside Rotherham and Port Vale who also achieved automatic promotion. Perhaps the surprise of the season was Northampton Town who finished in a play-off position. The Cobblers had escaped relegation the previous season and under Aidy Boothroyd this year, finished in sixth. Unfortunately it wasn't their year as they were beaten by Bradford City in the play-off final 3-0 at Wembley. Cheltenham Town and Burton Albion were the other two teams who made it to the play-offs but were beaten in their respective semi finals.

Player of the season: Tom Pope
Port Vale striker Tom Pope finished the season with an excellent 31 goals in League Two. Voted League Two player of the year, Pope's excellent goal scoring was one of the main reasons Vale earned automatic promotion to League One. His excellent exploits didn't go unnoticed by other clubs, but Pope was rewarded by Vale with a new contract during the season that will see him stay at Vale Park till 2015. Having played in the non-league, Pope will have another step up next season as he looks to prove himself at League One level. At 6ft 3' Pope is excellent in the air, and as a target man brings others into the game. As well as this he is a natural finisher and certainly knows where the goal is.

Port Vale's Tom Pope
Moving onto League One, and the final day of the season proved to be as dramatic as football can get. With seconds to go, Brentford were awarded a penalty in the dying moments of their final game of the season against promotion rivals Doncaster. A draw or win for Brentford would've seen them go up automatically. But having seen Marcello Trotta crash the penalty against the bar, Doncaster went up the other end to score and win the game, meaning they made an immediate return to the Championship at the expense of Brentford. The Bees made it to the play-off final but were beaten 2-1 by Yeovil Town, meaning more play-off heartache for Brentford and their fans. Sheffield United and Swindon were beaten in the semi-finals and face another season in League One. Bournemouth were the final team to go up to the Championship as they finished second to gain promotion automatically.

At the bottom of the table, four teams made the drop to League Two. Relegated from the Championship last year, Portsmouth were deducted ten points at the start of the season making it very difficult for them to remain in League One. It was exactly that, and the South Coast side finished rock bottom of the league and will play League Two football next season. They were joined by Hartlepool, Scunthorpe and Bury who were also relegated. 

Player of the season: Patrick Madden
The Yeovil striker from Ireland ended the season as the leading goal scorer in League One. With 25 goals to his name, Madden helped his side achieve promotion to the Championship. His exquisite finish with the outside of his boot in the play-off final summed up what a clinical season the forward had. Madden only joined Yeovil in October 2012 in a one month loan deal which saw him score once in three appearances. The one month loan was extended a further two months and on January 1st, Madden made his loan spell permanent by signing a two and a half year deal to stay at Huish Park. 

Paddy Madden
Fixtures for the 2013/14 season for League's One and Two will be released on 19th June 2013 at 9am

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