A hat-trick from Tom Pope ended his barren spell and also earned promotion-chasing Port Vale a dramatic 3-2 victory over Cheltenham Town on Friday.

With league leaders Gillingham not in action, Micky Adams' side had a chance to move to within five points of the top of the npower League 2 table. But they did not have things all their own way at Vale Park, with Pope's hat-trick only just proving enough to secure the win.

After Vale's prolific striker broke the deadlock, Cheltenham were 2-1 ahead less than 10 minutes after the interval as Kaid Mohamed and Paul Benson struck for the visitors before Pope's double won it for Adams' team.

The result left Cheltenham fifth in the table and Rotherham United took advantage of their defeat to move within a point of Mark Yates' side with a 1-0 win at home to AFC Wimbledon. Rotherham had the better of the play but had to wait until the 76th minute for Alex Revell to score the only goal of the game.

Aldershot Town moved off the foot of the table after drawing 1-1 at Rochdale, with York City taking their place. George Donnelly gave Dale the lead before Adam Mekki levelled from close range to earn the Shots a share of the spoils and move within two points of safety.

Phil Brown's first match in charge of Southend United looked set to be a memorable occasion for the former Preston North End boss until Bradford City hit back to earn a 2-2 draw at Valley Parade.

Gavin Tomlin and Britt Assombalonga scored within a minute to give Brown's side a 2-0 lead after 11 minutes but Capital One Cup finalists Bradford came back into the game with Zavon Hines scoring early in the second half and James Hanson heading the hosts level late on.

A last-minute Lee Molyneux goal gave Accrington Stanley a crucial 1-0 win at Wycomb Wanderers to move Leam Richardson's side five points clear of the drop zone.

Strugglers Barnet secured a point with a goalless draw at home to Dagenham and Redbridge although Edgar Davids' side finished with 10 men after substitute Kyle De Silva was sent off late on.

Oxford United and Morecambe also shared a point as an injury-time Jack Redshaw goal earned the visitors a 1-1 draw at the Kassam Stadium following Alfie Potter's opener for the hosts.

On Saturday, Gillingham stretched their lead at the top of npower League 2 to six points despite being forced to settle for a 2-2 draw at Play-Off hopefuls Fleetwood Town.

Starting the day five points clear of closest rivals Port Vale, it took Gills just three minutes to open the scoring when Danny Kedwell fired home from the edge of the box.

Jamille Matt equalised for Fleetwood just past the half-hour and after Charlie Allen put the visitors back in front, Matt struck again to seal a point.

Jason Banton scored the only goal of the game in first half injury time to give Plymouth Argyle a vitally important 1-0 win over Exeter City in the West Country derby.

Starting the day just two above safety, the Pilgrims grabbed victory through Banton's effort that went in off the post, while Jamie Cureton missed a great chance for Exeter late on.

York City crawled off the bottom of the table after battling to a goalless draw at Bristol Rovers, but Plymouth's win means the Minstermen still find themselves three points off safety.

Burton Albion's bid for an automatic promotion slot suffered a major blow as they were beaten 1-0 at home by Chesterfield, for whom Drew Talbot scored the only goal after 52 minutes.

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