Yorkshire sides have been struggling across the board this campaign, but some are finally putting form together. Both Bradford City and Doncaster Rovers have had momentum on their side in recent weeks, continuing good runs with solid victories.
Sheffield United continue to struggle for wins, once again drawing at home. They fell behind early on against Southend United, but managed to fight back for a 2-2 draw.
Meanwhile, Barnsley’s struggles continued with another home loss, this time against Port Vale.
Below, The Yorkshire Post looks at the best performers from the weekend’s action:
1. Ben Williams (Bradford City). Bradford may not be the most proficient attacking outfit in League One, but hard work on the training ground has led to them keeping four clean sheets in a row in all competitions. That is worth commending, and a good defence tends to start with a goalkeeper. Williams played well as the Bantams beat Crewe Alexandra 2-0 on Saturday.
2. Stephen Darby (Bradford City). Again, it is worth commending a solid, if unspectacular, display here, as Darby continued his recent good form to keep the third tier’s bottom side at bay. If Bradford can keep building on what is clearly an increasingly impressive defensive unit, a successful season could be on the cards.
3. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (Doncaster Rovers). Rovers have been resurgent in recent weeks under Darren Ferguson, and showed it again on Saturday, beating struggling Blackpool 2-0. Defenders are not judged by their goals, but it will have been a boost for Aaron Taylor-Sinclair to knock home in tandem with a third clean sheet in a row.
4. Neill Collins (Sheffield United). It was not the ideal result in the end for Sheffield United, but Collins played a key part in an impressive fight back for Nigel Adkins’ side. They were 2-0 down after only 31 minutes, but managed to draw the game. Collins showed class in front of goal to complete the comeback, rifling home with his left-foot.
5. Alfie Mawson (Barnsley). It was not a classic day at Oakwell for Barnsley by any means, the Tykes losing an eighth game on the spin against visiting Port Vale. However, special mention deservedly goes to Alfie Mawson. Mawson played a centre back for Lee Johnson’s side, despite primarily operating as a midfielder, and looked untroubled throughout, something that could not be said for the rest of the side.
6. Tony McMahon (Bradford City). You will not get a much better set-piece taker in League One than McMahon, who once again swung in a brilliant delivery to send Bradford on their way to victory against Crewe Alexandra. Gary Liddle was the thankful recipient of the assist, and would have almost certainly credited his teammate hugely for his role in the goal.
7. Jonathan Greening (York City). When Greening took up a job as youth development phase coach at York City, he will have almost certainly thought his career as a player was over. Not quite. With the Minstermen struggling, he was coaxed out of retirement by new manager Jackie McNamara. McNamara heaped praise on Greening despite the loss, saying the former Manchester United and Middlesbrough man had controlled the game after his half-time introduction.
8. Jose Baxter (Sheffield United). If it were not for Baxter, Sheffield United may not have come back from 2-0 down against Southend. Frustration was brewing inside Bramall Lane when Baxter popped up to reply instantly to Jack Payne’s strike. The former Everton man was there when the crowd needed him.
9. Andy Williams (Doncaster Rovers). Strikers tend to be judged by their goals, and Williams’ fourth in three games was a big step in Doncaster Rovers’ 2-0 win against Blackpool on Saturday. His curled effort from the right corner of the box was beautiful. The return to form of Doncaster’s big summer signing has made an impact to their recent form, which has turned around drastically under Ferguson.
10. Billy Clarke (Bradford City). City have been on a good run recently, but had not scored from open play for six weeks. The return of Clarke to the starting line-up changed that, the forward adding more creativity to the front line and ultimately firing home after 58 minutes. With Clarke back in the side, City’s push up the table seems likely to continue.
11. Adam Hammill (Barnsley). Considering Hammill is nowhere near match fit after joining Barnsley for a second time, he has been impressive. The former Huddersfield Town man has been one of very few shining lights in an otherwise dismal period for the Tykes. He impressed again on Saturday, but could not stop his team from losing 2-1.
Manager: Phil Parkinson. The Bantams have improved their league position every season that Parkinson has been in charge. They are now up to 7th, last season’s finish, and look likely to keep pushing. Form is on their side, in part because of the excellent work being done with City’s defensive unit.