46 games spanning from the end of July to the start of May. Over nine months of drama, despair and elation. That is what League Two is all about. Teams trying to survive the plummet out of the EFL chute into Non-League. Others attempting to progress their way up the pyramid into the upper tiers. But only four teams can succeed. Three automatically, and one through the intense and gruelling playoffs. And there has to be two casualties. The 2022/2023 League Two season reflection.
The playoffs are yet to come, but 75% of the eventual promotion teams are set in stone. And it seemed to end how it looked for most of the campaign. Orient, Northampton and Stevenage all promoted. Boro, a side destined for relegation last season, but managing to survive the drop, and now have secured promotion to League One. It feels as if Northampton should have been promoted last season. And they would have, but a final day miracle from Bristol Rovers prevented them from gaining automatic promotion. They then lost in the playoff semi-final to Mansfield. This season, however, they finally got over the line, and many feel they are deserved of automatic promotion. Leyton Orient took the reins early and never let go. Despite a couple minute blips, they remained at the head of the table for the majority of 22/23. A stellar home record, winning 15 and only losing two. Coupled with keeper Lawrence Vigoroux setting a club record for most clean sheets in a season with 24, it was a recipe for success for Richie Wellens and his side. They eventually only won the title by six points from Stevenage but it was never really in any doubt.
At the other end of the table, it was heartbreak for Rochdale and Hartlepool who were relegated to the National League. Pool were last relegated from League Two in 2017 and spent four seasons in the 5th tier before winning the playoffs on penalties in 2021. This was just their second season back in the Football League but they have suffered relegation yet again. The Dale have just ended their 102-year stay in the Football League, after only being relegated from League One in 2021. A fall from grace for the Greater Manchester side as they will endure a first campaign in Non-League next season.
The playoffs commence this weekend, with Bradford, Stockport, Carlisle and Salford battling it out for a Wembley win that will secure their place in League One. Mansfield just missed out in 8th. A final day win at Colchester was not enough to steal the last playoff spot from Salford, as they finished below them only on goal difference.
Next season is bound to be just as enthralling as this one. And so will the playoffs in the following couple weeks. It is impossible to predict who will come out on top. But enjoy every minute of it, no matter what team you support.