If Ligue 1 is settling back into a usual status quo, the race for promotion in France’s third tier is where you’ll find an incredible contrast in competition.
Parisian suburban side Red Star FC looked like they were slipping away from the title race in recent weeks, but Les Audoniens ground out a 2-1 win at home against Orléans, playing the last quarter of the match with 10-men after a double yellow for Aniss El Hriti.
A breakthrough season for young striker Jovany Ikanga continues with a brace on his 21st birthday to bring some clinical edge to the side. A goal from Esteban Lepaul in the 66th minute made it a nervy ending for the faithful housed in Stade Bauer’s Tribune Rino Della Negra.
A vital win comes in a vital week for Beye’s side, who travel to Parisian locals Paris 13 Athletico on Tuesday followed by a trip to promotion rivals Dunkerque on Saturday.
Red Star’s win keeps them within 2 points of the top two, aided by some favourable results to keep the gap excruciatingly tight. The first of which was Versailles draw away at Cholet – a missed opportunity for Les Bleus to go clear at the top of the table before Marseille-based Martigues play on Monday evening against Le Mans.
The Championnat National table as of 25th March 2023
|5||Red Star FC||24||15||42|
In a similar fashion, Breton side Concarneau were held to a 1-1 draw against Villefranche, another goal coming late on in the game to deny another team pushing for promotion.
With around eight games to play for most teams, the top five is separated by only two points. There are no play-off places on offer this season due to a league restructuring, which means from now until the end of the season it is a straight shoot-out for promotion to the fully-professional Ligue 2.
GFFN | George Boxall