Starting a new feature on French Football Weekly new writer Lee Garrity takes us to the second division in France. Each week Lee will be keeping us updated in everything that goes on in Ligue 2.
The race to join the French elite looks likely to go to the wire as before this weekend’s fixtures any team outside the bottom four who can put a run of victories together will look at the table and think maybe , just maybe.
Leaders Le Mans held a 4 point gap between themselves and fourth placed Ajaccio and Les Manceaux ,who moved into the new 25000 capacity MM Arena just two weeks ago remain top courtesy of a 1-0 victory over bottom placed Grenoble, both teams were relegated from Ligue 1 last season but now find themselves heading in different directions. Norwegian International Thorstein Helstad’s 58 minute goal enough to give Le Mans the three points and take Helstad to the top of the scorer’s charts with 13 goals.
Second placed Evian TG won by the same score line at home to Chateauroux thanks to an injury time strike from Oumar Pouye to keep their hopes of back to back promotions alive.
Surprise package AC Ajaccio dropped out of the last promotion spot after a 2-2 at 3rd bottom Metz in Monday night’s televised game, the visiting Corsicans led early on but needed a goal from Pierazzi 18 minutes from time to earn a share of the spoils, their place in the last automatic spot now belongs to Le Harve after a 1-0 home victory over Clermont.
In the battle of the form teams Boulogne won 1-0 at Istres ending the home sides five match unbeaten run and chalking up their fourth win on the trot and that moves them up fouth place. Zargo Toure’s 52nd minute strike made the 1250 mile round trip extremely worthwhile.
Coupe de France quarter finalists Angers claimed the result of the day winning 1-0 at fourth place Sedan. Henri Saivet’s 2nd minute goal proving decisive, the highly rated on loan Bordeaux forwards 2nd goal for Angers. Having knocked out Ligue 1 sides Valenciennes and Bordeaux, Angers will fancy their chances of a semi final place with an upcoming tie at CFA 2 giant killers Chambery.
In the relegation dogfight Vannes picked up a valuable 3 points with a 1-0 home victory over Nantes but thanks to Metz Monday night draw, Valery Mezague’s 1st goal of the season was not enough to lift them off 19th place where they sit 4 points above rock bottom Grenoble.
Elsewhere a crowd of over 9500 watched the Champagne derby between Troyes and Reims with the home side overcoming plucky Reims by the odd goal in 5 and Tours picked up a point with a 2-2 draw at Laval, the visitors who led the league until a disastrous run which has seen them win only one league game since the 8th of November and dumped out of the French Cup by non league AC Cognac only find themselves one point from automatic promotion. In the final game Dijon won 2-0 at Nimes to move into 9th place, Sebastian Ribas on target to register his 10th goal of the season for a Dijon side who have only lost one of their last five away games and sit only four points from 3rd placed Le Harve.
Next weekend could prove pivotal at the top with some key clashes, leaders Le Mans make the relatively short trip north to Boulogne in Monday’s televised game whilst 2nd placed Evian face a tough trip to Corsica to play AC Ajaccio who have ran out winners in their last six home league games.
Make sure to come next week as Lee brings us the latest action from Ligue 2. Don’t forget if you want to hear the latest from Ligue 1 to check out the new podcast on the site.