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Six talking points from Matchday 17 in The Football League

16 November 2015

New leaders, a first start in 4,991 days and an extended unbeaten run – here are six talking points from the latest weekend of Football League action.

James Bittner ends 13-year wait for a Football League start

When Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper James Bittner was named on AFC Bournemouth's bench as back-up goalkeeper in March 2002, little did he know he'd have to wait 13 years for his first Football League start.

That finally came at the weekend. With regular stopper Luke McCormick ruled out through injury, Bittner stepped in for Argyle in their 2-1 win over York City.

“It has been a frustrating career but, at the same time, I wouldn't change it,” he told at the end of the game.

After 4,991 days and 86 games since first featuring on the bench in The League, Bittner got his start. Good things come to those who wait.

I didn't realise yesterday was my 1st ever game of football in a 16yr career, what have I been doing for 16 years ???

— James Bittner (@Bitts_1) November 15, 2015
Gillingham hit summit of Sky Bet League 1

After beating Bury 3-1, Gillingham moved back to the top of the Sky Bet League 1 table, just ahead of Coventry City, who saw off Colchester to remain on level points.

It was a good day at the office for the Gills with Dominic Samuel scoring on his debut and Emmanuel Osadabe scoring one of the goals of the day.

With Walsall and Burton both out of action, the Gills took full advantage – overtaking the pair who now sit in third and fourth on 32 points.

Coventry and Gillingham meet next Saturday in a match that will shape the top end of the table at the conclusion of Matchday 18.

A tough start to life in Sky Bet League 2 for new managers

Both Shaun Derry and Jackie McNamara lost their first Sky Bet League 2 matches at the weekend, at the helm of Cambridge United and York City respectively.

Derry watched on as the U's lost 1-0 at the hands of Oxford United, with Ryan Taylor's first-half goal enough to seal all three points for the hosts.

McNamara had taken control of York City in both the FA Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy over the past week – but couldn't negotiate a win against leaders Plymouth on his League debut.

Five in five for Chesterfield's Sylvan Ebanks-Blake

Despite losing 2-1 to Oldham, Chesterfield's Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was on the scoresheet again, taking his tally for the season to seven – with five coming in his last five games.

The striker started his streak by scoring against Walsall, and followed up with a double against Southend. Ebanks-Blake then hit the winner against Fleetwood Town before netting his side's only goal against Oldham on Saturday.

Cobblers' rise continues

Northampton Town overcame Mansfield Town 1-0 to move up to third in Sky Bet League 2 – the club's highest position of the season.

Marc Richards scored an early goal to secure the win over Mansfield and the Cobblers have now lost only once in their previous 10 League games to put themselves firmly in the promotion mix.

Portsmouth have drawn 0-0 with AFC Wimbledon today, which means we remain third at the conclusion of this weekend's fixtures #ProudToBe

— Northampton Town (@ntfc) November 15, 2015
Wigan Athletic stretch unbeaten run to 10 matches

Wigan Athletic have now gone 10 matches unbeaten in Sky Bet League 1 – the best record in the division.

The Latics toppled Rochdale in Saturday's early kick-off thanks to goals from Jason Pearce and Michael Jacobs, and maintained their fifth-placed standing.

Gary Caldwell's men face Shrewsbury Town on Matchday 18, for the chance to extend their undefeated spell.

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