The relegation form guide which gives hope – and despair

Pompey celebrate Jake Jervis' key goal against Accrington. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey celebrate Jake Jervis' key goal against Accrington. Picture: Joe Pepler

The lifelines have reached single figures – nine matches to stay in the Football League.

Never before would Pompey fans have spent a Tuesday night cheering a Joe Bunney goal or urging a penalty save from Scott Brown.

As it was, results were mixed among the relegation rivals as most used up their games in hand on the Blues.

Defeat for Northampton and Bury, a draw for Wycombe, and wins for Accrington and Torquay saw more tinkering to that League Two table.

The outcome for Richie Barker’s men is they head into Saturday’s visit of York four points and two places above the relegation zone.

It’s a tight fit illustrated by four points separating safety of 22nd spot to Newport in 14th place.

Yet of the league’s bottom 10, only Northampton and Bury have actually picked up more points than Pompey during the last 10 matches.

In contrast, Exeter are on the worst run and reside one place above the relegation zone.

Northampton may have lost 3-0 to Rochdale in the week but have still collected 15 points from 10 matches to present themselves with a fighting chance.

In terms of form, next come 18th-placed Bury, even if they did suffer a last-gasp defeat at Torquay on Tuesday night.

David Flitcroft’s men have taken 14 points over the same period, although have not won in five.

The Shakers also possess a game in hand on almost all of their rivals.

Coming behind Bury and Northampton in the bottom 10 form stakes are jointly Pompey, Wycombe and Mansfield.

The Blues have accrued 13 points with three wins, three defeats and four draws.

Worryingly, however, none of their rivals have scored as few goals in the process – six.

Wycombe are on 42 points with Pompey and claimed a late draw at Cheltenham on Tuesday through Dean Morgan’s penalty.

In contrast to the Blues, the Chairboys have scored one more goal and conceded two fewer than Barker’s side’s 10.

Finally, 17th-placed Mansfield are one point above the Blues in the actual league table.

Accrington did their survival hopes the world of good with a 5-1 hammering of Morecambe in the week, putting them six clear.

Although their form (12 points) has not been as good as Pompey’s.

Bristol Rovers host Southend tomorrow night for their game in hand and have also taken 12 points from the last 10 fixtures.

Then there’s Torquay, still bottom of the table and five points adrift of safety despite their Bury win.

AFC Wimbledon are 16th and six points clear, yet have the joint-worst recent record with nine points.

The club which should be most fearful at present is Exeter.

Paul Tisdale’s side have taken nine points and one win from their last 10 matches to lie three points above the relegation zone.

Regardless, it will be a tense season finale for 10 football clubs.