THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Saturday 13 September ~

It was always going to be a strange season in League Two, where three teams started with a combined total of minus 64 points. After five games the positions clearly remain the same at the bottom, to the benefit of Paul Fairclough's Barnet, who have lost five out of five with a goal difference of minus 11. Just as the three clubs with points deductions need to do exceptionally well to stay up – Luton need something approaching play-off form to have any chance of surviving – Barnet could have a dreadful season yet remain comfortably out of the bottom three.

Today they take on Morecambe, opponents who despite a fairly poor start themselves, beat high-flying Shrewsbury last weekend. Rotherham, who have won three out of five, are now only seven points behind them. Another club the Millers will catch if they remain in this form is Macclesfield who until beating Luton last weekend were the only club with a worse record than Barnet. This afternoon, in the pick of of the games at the bottom, Macclesfield are away at Bournemouth, now on minus 14 points after three draws in their first five games. New manager Jimmy Quinn, who replaced Kevin Bond on Monday, will know that if his team don't start to pick up points soon, survival hopes will fade. With the comfort zone of three sub-zero teams below him, opposing manager Keith Alexander is approaching the game with optimism: “Hopefully we can start going on a little run now because a lot of things that have been said have been unfair” while recognising his side's main handicap: “They can pass the ball very well. The problem has been the decision making – when to make the pass and when not to.”

Luton have clawed back seven of the 30 points they need to get back to zero but the loss to  Macclesfield was an important one. At Kenilworth Road today they play last season's Conference winners Aldershot, who sit in a group of five teams with ten points. Anything can seem possible with only five games played but such a large points deduction will be exceptionally difficult to overcome. It remains to be seen to see how a demoralised team, sensing relegation looming up from November onwards, will react to the rest of the season. Barnet may have cause to feel relieved.

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