Football League: Five things you may have missed

Coventry City
Coventry City climbed to the top of League One for the first time this season

On a wintry day across the country, the top of the Championship and the bottom of League Two ended as they began.

BBC Sport takes a look at some of the things you may have missed on Saturday, as a former FA Cup-winning club climbed to the top of League One and another team ended a run of eight successive defeats in dramatic style.

42 hours later

It's never easy to play on a Thursday and a Sunday, according to any manager of a team that has been involved in the Europa League.

Well, what about a Thursday and a Saturday?

You could have forgiven Port Vale for making a slow start to their game against Chesterfield on Saturday, given they were playing an FA Cup first-round replay at non-league Maidenhead just 42 hours earlier.

But Rob Page's men made light of their lack of downtime by taking the lead inside six minutes and making it 2-1 after just 10.

The rapid-fire scoring slowed down after that but a second-half goal from Louis Dodds saw them hold out for a 3-2 win in League One.

Port Vale tweet
After three goals in the opening 10 minutes the Port Vale Twitter account lamented the end of the goal rush

Should I stay or should I go?

On Thursday it looked like Reading might be playing Saturday's game against struggling Bolton with a caretaker manager.

Royals boss Steve Clarke was given permission to talk to Championship rivals Fulham about their managerial vacancy and many assumed the rest would simply be a formality.

Not so.

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Clarke on Reading v Bolton

The former West Brom boss decided that his future was better served at the Madejski Stadium, telling BBC Radio Berkshire: "The club were great to me, they gave me the go-ahead to speak to Fulham. I had a good conversation with them and decided that what I had here was better for me at this stage."

On first showing it seems he made the right call. His men recorded a 2-1 win over Wanderers to keep pace with the play-off chasers while Fulham remained 12th after a draw with MK Dons.

Go to your room!

Leyton Orient owner Francesco Becchetti came up with a novel response to his side's 3-1 defeat at Hartlepool last Sunday; he made the O's players and coaches spend the week in a hotel in Waltham Abbey.

Leyton Orient
Leyton Orient players celebrate the thought of being able to go home after Jay Simpson (number 27) made it 3-1 against York

In between training sessions and thinking about dismantling the trouser press (potentially), the players were allowed to visit their families.

It had the desired effect as Orient beat York City 3-2 to record just their third win in 13 to boost their flagging League Two promotion hopes.

The question now is - will the players have been allowed home on Saturday night?

Blue skies for the Sky Blues

It has been a rough old time for Coventry City fans.

Since the turn of the century they have been relegated from the Premier League, left their beloved Highfield Road ground for the Ricoh Arena, been relegated from the Championship, left the Ricoh and been forced to play home games in Northampton for more than a year, and on their return to the Ricoh last season they nearly got relegated to League Two.

But it looks like the good times might just be returning for the Sky Blues.

Saturday's thumping 4-1 win over previous League One leaders Gillingham sent Tony Mowbray's men to the top of the third tier.

A first-half hat-trick from Jacob Murphy and a header from the returning Ben Turner saw the leaders race into a 4-0 lead at the break, before Gills top scorer Bradley Dack got his team on the scoresheet in the second half.

Mowbray told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire: "When they left the dressing room I thought they were ready for a proper game of football, and it proved to be the case.

"I'm delighted with the performance. It was a top performance and we have to use that as our benchmark and try to attain that performance level as often as we can."

Long ends wait for Barnsley win

Barnsley
Barnsley players celebrate Kevin Long (right) giving them a precious win at Oldham

With five minutes to go in Barnsley's game at Oldham, Tykes boss Lee Johnson could have been forgiven for thinking he might be spending Christmas on the sofa and without a job.

After eight successive defeats it looked like his team were at least going to stop the rot at the Latics with a point, but they would have remained 23rd in the League One table.

But Johnson, on his second return to the club he left for Oakwell in February, probably had not counted on debutant Kevin Long popping up with an 89th-minute winner.

The Burnley defender joined the club on loan earlier in the week and it was his first goal since netting for Accrington against Macclesfield in January 2012.

It was not enough to help the Reds move out of the relegation zone, but it at least saw them move up to 21st.

Johnson told BBC Radio Sheffield: "I'm feeling a bit of everything. I'm pleased for the players and I'm thankful to the owner for sticking with me.

"The fans were superb and they deserved that win today, so that is for them."

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