EDITORIAL: League Two’s strugglers as bad as ever before

The bottom four teams in League Two have conceded 76 goals between them, won just three times and are locked in a battle to be the very worst versions of themselves.

Whilst Notts County have 24 goals conceded already, they are perhaps the one side that look capable of climbing away from the bottom. there’s no secret they were terrible under Kevin Nolan and, despite failing to win a game this season, they’re improving with every kick.

The promotion challenge many expected isn’t coming, not to the effect that it was hoped, but with 89% of the season still to play, there’s every chance they’ll soon find themselves on the fringes of the play off race.

The same can not be said for Morecambe, Macclesfield and Grimsby, three sides who should all be better than they are. Morecambe have a fighting spirit which seems to save them every season, but they’re already in dire straits. That being the case, their win against Macclesfield at the weekend may prove to be crucial, as it lifted them to 21st.

If salvation lies in beating the teams around them, then they can take another big step this weekend as they visit Blundell Park, the scene of yet another appallingly bad start to the season. Grimsby were big losers in last season’s campaign, starting well but collapsing completely under Russell Slade.

Michael Jolley came into the side and looked to have added steel and resolve to a side low on both. John Welsh could, and should have pushed them on but they’ve failed to score in over a month. They’re not just bad up front either, they conceded four against Bury and three against Oldham. This weekend they let in one against Stevenage, but when you can’t score one is enough.

Macclesfield are currently rock bottom and they’re bucking the trend of National league winners doing well upon promotion. They should be riding the crest of a wave, but with John Askey leaving they’ve taken a hit they can ill-afford. The loss against Morecambe at the weekend underlined the appalling luck they’ve had, as did the defeat to leaders Lincoln City a week or so ago.

Against Morecambe they lost a man to a deserved red card early, leaving them at a disadvantage, whereas against Lincoln they forced a late equaliser, only to lose to a last-minute goal. Those three sides look set for a titanic battle to be the third worst side in the division.

If Notts County are going to leave the trouble behind them, then their place at the bottom could well be taken by Crewe Alexandra. They’re 18th currently with eight points and an even goal difference, which doesn’t suggest any serious danger, not to the level of their rivals.

However, when you consider they won one game 6-0, the figures start to look much worse. In fact in nine games they’ve failed to hit the net in all but two, the 6-0 win against Morecambe and the 3-0 victory against Macclesfield. They might have the beating of the worst teams in the league, but they’ve failed to score against Carlisle, Cheltenham, Port Vale and Newport.

They were relying on good home form, but Port Vale inflicted their first defeat of the season on them at Gresty Road. Away from home they’re goal less and have drawn once, 0-0 as well as losing three times, conceding eight goals.

It doesn’t bode well for David Artell’s side and they might just be the final team to make up a quartet of strugglers facing a grim season.

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