Nationwide Second Division - Season 2002/03 Review (Part Two)

Last updated : 13 May 2003 By
Blackpool fell away rather in the last two months of the season, after at one stage looking a good bet to challenge strongly for a play-off spot.

Always strong at Bloomfield Road, Steve McMahon's talented squad need to improve on the 13 defeats suffered on their travels to acquire a play-off position next term. EXCELLENT FOOTYMAD WEBSITE.

(H) 5-0 (A) 0-1

Carlton Palmer's Stockport County narrowly avoided succssive relegations and indeed in all probability it was only the goals of the prolific Luke Bennett that enabled the Hatters the comfort of a 14th place finish.

County fans will be hoping for less anxious times next season, especially should Beckett leave Edgeley Park.

(H) 1-2 (A) 3-2

Notts County flirted with relegation, but survived reasonably comfortably thanks in the main to their good form at Meadow Lane.

The free scoring and much travelled Mark Stallard scored goals for fun and Billy Dearden's men will now hope for a play-off push next term, but the Magpies will need to greatly improve upon their away form which saw them triumph only three times on the road all season. BEST FOOTYMAD WEBSITE IN THE DIVISION.

(H) 1-1 (A) 2-2

An acceptable season for Brentford, considering a change of chairman, manager and a number of senior playing personnel within the last twelve months.

New manager, Wally Downes acquitted himself extremely well on limited resources although goal scoring became a major cause for concern in the latter half of the season.

Brian Horton's unfashionable Port Vale finished too close to the relegation places for comfort, just five points clear of relegated Cheltenham Town.

Another side who may find the going tough next season unless funds are made available to the experienced manager.

(H) 1-1 (A) 0-1

Lawrie Sanchez's Wycombe Wanderers had a disappoiting season, and a campaign that started with hopes of a play-off push quickly evaporated and the year ended in near disaster.

Big money signing from Nationwide Third Division Club, Wrexham, Craig Faulconbridge, failed to deliver the expected goals and the experienced front pairing of Sean Devine and Andy Rammell moved on. This being said, only Bristol City netted more goals at home than the Chairboys.

However, the straight talking Sanchez will expect far greater consistency from the Adams Park men next time around.

(H) 1-0 (A) 0-4

A desperately close call for cash strapped Barnsley. Manager Glyn Hodges found the going incredibly hard throughout and the Tykes, who have recently sampled life in the Premiership nearly ended up in the basement division of the Nationwide Football League.

The South Yorkshire club only secured their survival with a 1-0 victory over Brentford, in their penultimate game of the season.

Given the voicerous support given to them by their fans, expect an improvement from the Tykes next term, whether it will result in a play-off position remains to be seen.

(H) 1-2 (A) 0-1

Poorly supported Chesterfield, enjoying a mid table place in February, endured a horrific slump in the season's final third, a run which cost manager Dave Rushberry his job and the Spirities, almost their second division status

Caretaker boss, Lee Richardson presided over the last two games, where four crucial points were obtained, ensuring a final day escape for the Derbyshire outfit.

More nail biting for the Saltergate faithful can be expected next time around.

(H) 2-1 (A) 2-0

After clinching promotion from the Nationwide Third Division last season, Cheltenham Town were dealt a massive blow ahead of their first campaign at this level, when their incredibly successful and much sought after manager, Steve Cotterill, left to join Nationwide First Division outfit, Stoke City, before ultimately joining Barclaycard Premiership club, Sunderland.

Graham Allner arrived but seemed unable to inspire the Gloucestershire side and left in January with the Robins propping up the table.

The experienced and wily old campaigner, Bobby Gould was drafted in and an immediate improvement in results followed and resulted in the ex-Wimbledon and Wales manager nearly pulling off an unlikely escape, only a last day defeat at Medow Lane against Notts County condemning the West Countrymen.

(H) 2-2 (A) 0-1

From the Nationwide Second Divison play-offs to relegation in twelve months, sums up a disasterous period for Yorkshire outfit, Huddersfield Town.

The removal of experienced manager, Lou Macari appeared to outsiders at least, a massive error of judgement in the last close season and although new incumbent, Mick Wadsworth and his restyled team battled gamely, a total of 16 defeats away from home proved to be the Terriers' undoing.

Likely to have the best stadium in the Nationwide Third Division next season, alongside Hull City.

(H) 1-0 (A) 2-0

A year after promotion, Mansfield Town returned to the Nationwide Third Division.

The Stags never really recovered from a disappointing start and manager, Stuart Watkiss paid the price when he lost his job and ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers central defender was given his first mangerial role.

A brief upsurge in form briefly took the Nottinghamshire outfit out of the relegation places, but they were soon to return.

Goal scoring was never a problem, but Curle was unable to shore up a leaky defence that ultimately conceded 97 goals throughout the campaign.

(H) 1-0 (A) 0-0

Northampton Town endured a miserable campaign and finished at the bottom of the table, following a season of only ten victories and three managers.

Kevan Broadhurst started the season in the hot seat, but with the Cobblers threatened by relegation, he was relieved of his duties mid term, to be replaced by ex-Queens Park Rangers star, Terry Fenwick.

However, Fenwick's tenure was not to last too long, and without registering a single victory during his reign, he was replaced by Martin Wilkinson.

Much as Wilkinson tried to arrest the slide, the die had been cast and the Northamptonshire club duly finished bottom, eleven points adrift of safety when the season was came to an end.

(H) 3-0 (A) 2-1

You can find part One of the club by club season review elsewhere on this website, The Bee Hive, the unofficial voice of Brentford Football Club.

nb. This review has been compiled by the editor of the Bee Hive, and does not necessarily reflect the views of BrentfordFC.

Should you have any opinions as to the content of the above, please feel free to air them on the
Bee Hive Messageboard.