They say that a week is a long time in politics, well two weeks in Italian lower league football feels like an eternity. “Wow”, I hear you say, “is it really two weeks since we had our fix of Lega Pro on these esteemed pages!”
So what’s been happening since we last met?
The big story to break has been the suspension of Andria Bat goalkeeper Vitangelo Spadavecchia. The big shot stopper was implicated as one of the main protagonists in match fixing allegations surrounding a Sorrento v Juve Stabia game dating back to April 2009 when he was custodian for the Rossoneri. The federal prosecutor when reviewing the case, asked for a six point penalty to be inflicted on the team from Campania, in the end they received a two point deduction but Spadavecchia was banned from the game for three and a half years.
The real losers in this whole sorry affair were Spadavecchia’s current employers who have lost a genuinely talented goalkeeper. Up until his ban, the club had only conceded five goals in their opening six league games, without their talismanic shot-stopper they have shipped the same amount in their last two outings and have slipped down the C1B table. In Sorrento’s case none of the current owners or directors were implicated but the club decided not to appeal against their points deduction.
During the past fortnight, two long outstanding unbeaten records have fallen by the wayside with both Carpi and Taranto finally succumbing to league defeats after respective runs of 21 and 35 games. What was even more amazing was that the two teams met each other in week six with something having to give. Taranto kept their record intact with a 2-0 win before losing just a week later at home to Ternana. Of course this being Lega Pro, we have witnessed yet more managerial changes with Carpi, Celano, Foggia, Milazzo, Foligno and Latina all deciding to make a fresh start.
Who’s hot and who’s not?
In C1A Ternana are most definitely the in-form team at the moment. Over the past couple of weeks they have despatched title rivals Taranto and Pisa to climb to the top of the table. Coach Domenico Toscano has his side playing invigorating football at the moment and they lead the division by three points after week eight. Defender Lito Fazio fired a warning shot to the rest of the chasing pack declaring that “now we are at the top we won’t suffer from vertigo“.
Foligno are in crisis. Still stuck on zero points after starting the season with a point deduction, new coach Lamberto Magrini needs to find a winning formula soon or the Umbrians will find themselves cut adrift before we reach the festive period. Benevento are another side on the slide. After a derby day win over Sorrento in week seven gave their fans something to cheer about, Giovanni Simonelli’s side have been brought back down to earth with a bump last time out losing 2-1 at Como. The match was a personal triumph for Francesco Ripa. The 25-year-old striker was released by Simonelli when he was coach at Sorrento but he exacted revenge last weekend when he got the winning goal for his new club.
In C1B the contrasting fortunes of the two clubs from the Lazio region could not be more different. Frosinone, after an indifferent start, are now just two points from top-spot after a run of five games without defeat, four of them ending in victory for the Canarini – their president has targeted a return to Serie B within 2 years. Latina on the other hand are in freefall and after the dismissal of coach Stefano Sanderra, youth team manager, Marco Ghirotto, has been entrusted with the team on a temporary basis until a successor is found.
Ghirotto’s first game in charge will be yes, you’ve guessed it, an away trip to Frosinone this Sunday. I was privileged to be at the Nerrazzurri’s final home game of last season when during the second-half, a light aircraft piloted by Frosinone supporters, flew over the stadium releasing yellow and blue smoke. The tifosi in the Stadio Domenico Francioni went berserk and have counted down the days to this fixture and a chance to put the record straight against their most hated rivals.
Heading into the fourth division and in C2A Treviso top the table and remain unbeaten after eight games. They are the divisions top scorers with 17 goals and have the meanest defence with only five goals conceded so far this term. Striker Andrea Ferretti has been in scintillating form this season and if rumours are to be believed, he is a player who could be on his way to bigger things in January with several Serie B clubs reportedly interested in his services. He’s already scored six goals in his opening eight games in this campaign to go with his 20 he netted for the club in their successful promotion campaign last year.
Alessandria, who incidentally, were hammered 1-4 at home by Treviso last weekend, are in complete disarray at the foot of the table. New coach Giuliano Sonzogni must be wondering what the hell he has got himself involved in after witnessing his teams woeful display last time out. Disgruntled tifosi have let the club know in no uncertain terms that the current situation is unacceptable staging mass protests at the team’s training sessions this week prompting Sonzogni to come out with the most obvious quote of the season so far when he declared that “changes will have to be made”.
In C2B Paganese, Perugia and Catanzaro continue to make the pace at the summit. The side from Reggio Calabria produced the result of the weekend on Sunday when they beat Perugia 0-2 at the Stadio Renato Curi. Finally, a special mention for Celano Olimpia who got their first win of the season on Sunday at the tenth time of asking at home to L’Aquila. In a town with just over three thousand inhabitants, coach Giuseppe Petrelli has seen his side ship 18 goals already this season but Sunday’s victory will have felt like winning the Scudetto for the side from Abruzzo.
C1A Week 8: Carpi 1-0 Spal, Como 2-1 Benevento, Foggia 0-2 Reggiana, Lumezzane 1-0 Tritium, Monza 1-1 Avellino, Pavia 1-2 Viareggio, Pro Vercelli 0-0 Taranto, Sorrento 1-0 Foligno, Ternana 1-0 Pisa
C1B Week 8: Andria Bat 2-2 Frosinone, Cremonese 1-2 Portogruaro, Latina 0-1 Feralpi Salo, Piacenza 4-3 Prato, Siracusa 3-1 Trapani, Spezia 2-0 Pergocrema, Sud Tirol 1-0 Virtus Lanciano, Triestina 1-2 Barletta, Virtus Bassano 1-0 Carrarese
C2A Week 8: Alessandria 1-4 Treviso, Casale 0-0 Renate, Cuneo 2-1 San Marino, Lecco 1-1 Borgo a Buggiano, Mantova 1-1 Savona, Poggibonsi 1-1 Sambonifacese, Pro Patria 0-0 Valenzana, Rimini 2-1 Bellaria Igea Marina, Santarcangelo 3-2 Montichiari, Virtus Entella 2-0 Giacomense
C2B Week 10: Aversa Normanna 1-1 Aprilia, Celano Olimpia 1-0 L’Aquila, Chieti 2-1 Melfi, Fondi 2-1 Neapolis, Isola Liri 0-0 Arzanese, Milazzo 1-1 Fano Alma, Paganese 2-1 Giulianova, Perugia 0-2 Catanzaro, Vibonese 0-1 Ebolitana, Vigor Lamezia 2-2 Gavorrano
Follow Steve Mitchell on twitter (@barafundler) for further updates from Calcio’s depths, and check back here for more from Lega Pro.