So we are now a quarter of the way through the League Two season and we have managed to build up a pretty good understanding as to who the contenders are for promotion and who is going to spend the season fighting against the drop. As we all know, although football is a team sport, it requires some special individual talents to really push a side towards silverware and the most coveted of all the talents is the ability to put the ball in the back of the net. Here, we look at the players who currently lead the score charts in England’s fourth tier.
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Jayden Stockley – 9 Goals – Exeter City
James Norwood – 8 Goals – Tranmere Rovers
Unlike Jayden Stockley, James Norwood has had to battle his way up the leagues after being rejected by the academies of Brighton and Crystal Palace. Norwood eventually returned to Eastbourne Town, and although he was then picked up by Exeter City, it was not until he made the switch to Forest Green Rovers in 2011 where he eventually started to make his mark. A strike rate of around one goal in every three matches encouraged Tranmere to make the move for him and since then, his goals have been key to the side’s success.
Success has not only been contained to domestic football as Norwood also represented England Schools in 2009, making his debut against Wales in the Carnegie Centenary Shield. He scored his first goal against France on 13 June 2009.
This season, he has been deadly in front of goal so far and his eight goals have helped recently promoted Tranmere to a comfortable spot in the top half of the table. He has played 1079 minutes so far and those eight goals have come at an average of 135 minutes per goal.
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Luke Norris – 7 Goals – Colchester United
Norris began his career in the youth system at Hitchin Town but his talents were obvious from the outset and it was not long before bigger clubs came looking for his signature. With plenty of interest, Norris made the decision to join then League One side Brentford, and just a year after signing he made his first appearance for the senior side. Although he struggled to break through, he did gain valuable first team knowledge with loan spells at Boreham Wood, Northampton Town and Dagenham and Redbridge. Disappointing spells at Gillingham and Swindon Town followed but the early signs of his Colchester career suggests he is finally starting to find the levels many suspected he would be capable of.
We may only be a quarter of the way through the season, but Norris has started the season in excellent shape and his goals have been a key factor in Colchester’s strong league position. The striker has scored seven times in the league so far and with 729 minutes played, he holds one of the best goals to minutes ratios with a goal every 104 minutes.
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Ollie Palmer – 7 Goals – Crawley Town
Like many others on this list, Ollie Palmer has had to fight his way through the divisions in order to establish himself in the Football League. Although he started with the youth programme at Woking, he was shipped out on loan to fellow National League South club St Albans City. After he was recalled from a loan spell at Boreham Wood, Palmer signed a permanent deal at Havant & Waterlooville in September 2011. It was here where he started to prove his talents and seven goals from five appearances brought attention from the likes of Chelsea and Charlton. Palmer finished 2012–13 as the league’s joint top scorer with 25 goals from 42 appearances.
Following his impressive season, Palmer made the jump into the Football League with Mansfield Town, however with six clubs in five years, it has taken a while for his talents to come to the fore. Since he signed for Crawley at the start of the season, however, Palmer looks like he has once again found his feet and he has scored a goal on average every 167 minutes in the league this season.
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