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Weekend round up - Saturday 18th January 2014

Weekend Round up.
Weekend player round up from Sophie Beresford.









Premier League
Danny Gabbidon helped Crystal Palace to keep a clean sheet - and get a much-needed three points - in a 1-0 home victory over Stoke City. Lewis Price and Jonathan Williams were unused substitutes as Palace moved out of the bottom three. This match also saw two former Welsh internationals take to the technical area: Mark Hughes of Stoke and his predecessor, Tony Pulis, now at Palace.
 
Two Welshmen at the opposite ends of their careers - Craig Bellamy and Declan John - were both 68th minute substitutes for Cardiff City as they became the latest in a long and (in places) rather illustrious line of teams to lose at the Etihad Stadium. That Bellamy's former club (well, one of them) Manchester City only beat Cardiff 4-2 is probably a positive sign, but the result leaves the Welsh club bottom of the table with just one point from their last six games.
 
Paul Dummett appeared for Newcastle United for the first time since recovering from a hamstring injury. Dummett was a 74th-minute substitute as Newcastle ended a run of three defeats with a 3-1 victory at West Ham. James Collins returned from a groin injury and Jack Collison also started, but West Ham were back to losing ways and have won only one of their last nine.
 
Joe Allen made his return from a hip injury in the 66th minute for Liverpool, who came back from 2-0 down to get a home draw against Aston Villa. Despite Allen's absence, Liverpool are unbeaten in 2014 and back in the Champions League places.
 
On Sunday, Ben Davies and Ashley Williams were in the Swansea team that lost 3-1 at home to Tottenham Hotspur. Swansea are now winless in eight in the league and just three points ahead of Welsh rivals Cardiff. David Cornell, Neil Taylor and Jazz Richards were on Swansea's bench.
 
Ryan Giggs was an unused substitute for Manchester United as they became the victims of Jos Mourinho's 100th Premier League win. As the match was at Stamford Bridge and only one team wins there when Mourinho's around, Chelsea's 3-1 victory wasn't the biggest surprise of the day, but Man Utd's hopes of retaining the title look more impossible than ever.
 
On Monday night, Boaz Myhill was on the bench for West Brom in a 1-1 draw at home to Everton. West Brom have only won twice since September, but things could have been worse: Everton had the ball in the net in the final minute, but it was ruled out for offside.
 
Championship
Andy King made a ten-minute cameo for Leicester as they won their sixth match in a row for the first time since 1993. King nearly scored when he was set up by new signing Kevin Phillips, but it wasn't to be and as it happened, it didn't matter. Leicester beat Leeds United 1-0 at home and are five points clear at the top of the Championship.
 
Lewin Nyatanga and Christian Dibble were unused substitutes as Barnsley ended a run of seven games without a win. Their 2-0 victory was a sixth away defeat in a row for opponents Blackpool, but while Blackpool are rather uncomfortably in mid-table, Barnsley continue to prop up the league on goal difference.
 
Shaun MacDonald returned to Bournemouth's squad and came off the bench after 78 minutes as Bournemouth drew 1-1 at home to Watford. Were it not for a late penalty save, Bournemouth would almost certainly have taken all three points. As it was, they're without a win in four.
 
Sam Vokes scored his 13th goal of the season and his third in three games, but Burnley had to be content with a 1-1 draw against Sheffield Wednesday. On the positive side, they preserve their unbeaten home record, but the result caused them to drop out of the automatic promotion places. Brian Stock was an unused substitute for Burnley.
 
David Cotterill only played the final eight minutes of Doncaster's home match against Wigan Athletic, but that didn't stop Doncaster from getting an emphatic 3-0 win and get their first win in nine matches. Doncaster are now only in the bottom three on goal difference. Not that their goal difference is likely to be of much help to them.
 
Rhoys Wiggins was shown the red card for an 84th-minute foul that didn't seem malicious but probably did display a slight surplus of commitment. Charlton Athletic managed to hang on for the remaining minutes, but hosts Middlesbrough had already done the damage in the first half. The 1-0 away defeat means Charlton have won only one of their last ten matches. Simon Church was back on the bench for Charlton, but although he made an appearance in the 67th minute and got the ball into the net, he wasn't able to claim his first goal in ten matches due to a perceived foul. Church came close to an equaliser again at the end of the match, but was this time defeated by the tight angle.
 
Steve Morison played 90 minutes for Millwall as they got their first win under new manager Ian Holloway at the second attempt. It was Millwall's first victory since early December, but if Ian Holloway can take Blackpool into the Premier League and nearly keep them up, maybe there is some hope for Millwall after all.
 
Danny Collins returned to Nottingham Forest's starting line-up, with David Vaughan passing a fitness test to join him.  Forest were unbeaten in mine matches (in all competitions) so their 4-1 home victory over Blackburn Rovers wasn't exactly a surprise, but Blackburn did make some contribution towards their own downfall when Forest won - and scored - two penalties. The first penalty was debatable and the second, clumsily conceded by Adam Henley, was felt by his manager to be avoidable. Vaughan came close to adding to Forest's goal haul with a swerving strike. If he can do that now, imagine what he can do when he's fully fit.
 
Chris Gunter started for a Reading side who seemed to take exception to everyone pointing out that they'd only scored two goals in the last five games - and hadn't scored more than one goal in a match since November. Reading put this right in emphatic style. They were 4-0 up against Bolton Wanderers by half-time and 7-0 up in the closing minutes, and if Gunter's clean sheet was spoiled slightly with Bolton's 88th-minute 'consolation', I shouldn't think he minds too much. Jake Taylor came off the bench to play fourteen minutes plus stoppage time for Reading, but Hal Robson-Kanu, who had an 'outside chance' of returning from a calf injury, didn't make it. Bolton's resources were so stretched that Craig Davies, who has been plagued with fitness problems this season, was given a place on the bench.
 
League One
Wes Burns was again a late substitute for Bristol City, who are now unbeaten in five in League One. Bristol City came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home to Milton Keynes Dons. They move up to 22nd, just two points away from safety in what looks like a very close relegation battle.
 
Tom Lawrence gave a 'lively' performance for Carlisle United in their 3-0 defeat at Colchester, and managed to set up a goal in the first minute of stoppage time, but it wasn't enough to prevent them from falling to a sixth defeat in seven games. In Carlisle's defence (not that their defence is usually worthy of particular mention) they were playing against Colchester United, who, unlike Wales, now have Sanchez Watt at their disposal. The former Arsenal trainee made it three goals in his last two matches.
 
Lloyd James played 90 minutes for Leyton Orient as they continued their promotion charge with a 2-1 victory at struggling Crewe Alexandra. Crewe actually took the lead early in the second half, but Orient don't let many teams get away with that sort of thing, and regained their place at the top of the table. George Ray was an unused substitute for Crewe.
 
Elliott Hewitt's first loan spell with Gillingham didn't go particularly well, but his return to the club following an ankle injury led to his manager describing his performance as 'superb'. Hewitt played in defence for the Gills in their 2-0 home victory over Swindon Town. Louis Thompson was an unused substitute for Swindon, who haven't won away since November.
 
Ash Taylor didn't have his best game in a Tranmere shirt (it also wasn't his worst, though how much comfort that will be is debatable), conceding a penalty in just the third minute and not taking advantage of a decent chance to score with a header. Owain Fn Williams and Jason Koumas also started the 3-0 away victory at the hands (or feet?) of Peterborough United. Still, it was Tranmere's best result against Peterborough all season. They lost the other two 5-0.
 
Aaron Phillips was an unused substitute for Coventry City as they visited Preston North End. Coventry have never won a game at Deepdale and they weren't about to start now. The match finished 1-1, meaning Coventry are unbeaten in six in all competitions. Phillips hasn't featured for Coventry's first team since Boxing Day.
 
Mark Bradley played 90 minutes for Rotherham United in their away victory over Shrewsbury Town. He would have got on the scoresheet himself were it not for a brilliant save from Shrewsbury's goalkeeper (whose coach is former Wales international Danny Coyne). Sadly, the brilliant saves weren't quite as numerous as Coyne would have liked: Rotherham won 3-0, with all three goals coming in an 11-minute spell in the opening twenty minutes of the match. Joe Jacobson played in defence for Shrewsbury, while Paul Parry and Tom Bradshaw made substitute appearances in the last ten minutes. As for Darren Jones, he made his final appearance on Shrewsbury's bench: the defender has now left the club by mutual consent.
 
Kieron Freeman kept his place in Notts County's starting line-up and made a vital headed clearance off the line - it would have completely spoiled Notts' 1-0 away win if that had gone in. Michael Doughty started for their opponents Stevenage and caused trouble for Notts with a fierce drive. Unfortunately, he also caused a bit of trouble for Stevenage when he assumed someone else would make a clearance. That mistake led to the goal, but overall the QPR loanee has looked very promising. Sam Wedgbury was on the bench for Stevenage.
 
League Two
Craig Jones returned from a groin problem and went straight back into Bury's starting line-up. Daniel Nardiello also started, but although he came close to scoring, he was unable to make the most of his opportunities. Although a 0-0 home draw is nearly always going to be disappointing (and potentially terrifying for a team in Bury's position), they were playing against promotion contenders Burton Albion. Burton are probably also quite disappointed: they've never beaten Bury. Bury were without the services of Gareth Roberts, who was released from his contract by mutual consent.
 
Troy Brown played 90 minutes for Cheltenham Town in their 2-1 home defeat to Accrington Stanley. While the result wasn't nearly as unforgiveable as it would have been at the start of the season, Brown admitted to his share of the blame. Connor Roberts was an unused substitute for Cheltenham.
 
Chris Maxwell was on the bench for Fleetwood Town in their 2-0 home victory over Hartlepool United - their first home clean sheet of the season. Considering that Hartlepool played all but the first three minutes with ten men, they will probably be quite glad Fleetwood only scored two. Fleetwood didn't live up to the high expectations last season, but they're now two points outside the automatic promotion places with a game in hand over the top three. (The only problem with their brilliance is that a change of goalkeeper seems unlikely.)
 
Four years ago, a league match between Portsmouth and Mansfield Town seemed impossible. Portsmouth were (though admittedly only just) in the Premier League; Mansfield were in the Conference. Now they meet on an equal footing, and just to show how equal they are, the match finished as a 1-1 draw. Daniel Alfei played his second game on loan for home side Portsmouth, who are actually unbeaten with Alfei in the team, but both those matches were draws. Portsmouth are just two points outside the drop zone. Lee Beevers was an unused substitute for Mansfield.
 
Christian Ribeiro helped Scunthorpe United to keep another clean sheet as they stretched their unbeaten run to ten matches. Even a 0-0 draw at home to AFC Wimbledon was enough to keep them two points clear at the top of the table. Aaron Morris didn't make his full debut for Wimbledon as had been suggested, but an eleventh-minute injury meant he played most of the 90 minutes.
 
Freddy Eastwood is probably fed up with his late cameo appearances for Southend United, but it's going to be difficult for any striker to get back into a team who are capable of putting three past Chesterfield without reply, even at home. Southend are now a point behind the automatic promotion places, but Chesterfield haven't lost a match since...well, since the last time they played Southend.
 
Ellis Harrison was expected to be dropped in favour of Chris Beardsley, but as it happened, they were both on the bench when Bristol Rovers paid a visit to York City. Eliot Richards kept his place in Rovers' team, but was unable to score his first league goal since August, and Rovers had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
 
Scotland
Joe Ledley played 90 minutes for Celtic in their 3-0 home victory over Motherwell. Owain Tudur Jones
was an unused substitute for Hibernian as they lost 3-2 at home to St Mirren.

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Posted: Tuesday 21st January 2014
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