Paul Dummett was given a
run-out for only the second time since his recovery from a hamstring injury,
but the Newcastle United player and fan was treated to his worst nightmare when
his team were beaten 3-0 at home by Sunderland. Sunderland are out of the
bottom three, but the league table isn’t quite such pleasant reading as the
James Collins helped West Ham
to keep a clean sheet as they beat Swansea City 2-0 and picked up their first
home win in five games. Ashley Williams and Ben Davies played in
defence for Swansea; David Cornell was an unused substitute. Neil
Taylor was missing from the squad and is presumably on paternity leave: he
became a father on transfer deadline day and therefore missed out on his small
chance of being granted a move. Somehow, I doubt he cares at the moment.
Craig Bellamy scored in his
first Premier League goal for Cardiff City and became the first player to score
for seven Premier League clubs, but as usual, he was more interested in having
a moan than in celebrating. Bellamy was also instrumental at the other end,
acrobatically clearing a Gary Hooper effort off the line as Cardiff claimed a
2-1 home victory over Norwich Declan
John kept his place in Cardiff’s starting line-up.
On Sunday, Joe
Allen returned to Liverpool’s bench after missing the last match with a
hamstring injury and was a 74th-minute substitute in a 1-1 draw
against West Bromwich Albion. Liverpool are now unbeaten in five and (more
importantly) a point ahead of Everton with a game in hand. Boaz
Myhill was on the bench for West Brom.
Wayne Hennessey replaced Lewis
Price on the bench for Crystal Palace’s visit to Arsenal, but Joe Ledley
wasn’t signed in time to be included in the squad. Arsenal won 2-0, but the
match won’t have been unpleasant viewing for Ledley, as Palace didn’t make
things easy for the league leaders, who are still without Aaron Ramsey. Danny
Gabbidon played 90 minutes for Palace.
Sam Vokes scored twice for Burnley – taking his total to five
in his last five games – as they drew 3-3 in a hard-fought match at Queen’s
Park Rangers. QPR had won their last four matches in the Championship, but
Burnley were themselves unbeaten in five. Vokes scored a volley and a tap-in in
the space of eight minutes to help ensure the points were shared.
Emyr Huws made his Birmingham City debut in a home match
against Derby County. Derby looked set to take the points in the closing
minutes, but Huws, who had shot marginally wide earlier in the match, hit the
post. This created a chance which Federico Macheda put away, and Huws’ first
Championship match ended 3-3.
Andy King doesn’t get many minutes for Leicester City at the
moment, but he did get 21 minutes plus stoppage time when they travelled to
Bournemouth. Bournemouth were unbeaten at home in four matches prior to
Leicester’s visit, but Leicester had won their last eight, so it was little
surprise when Leicester got a 1-0 victory. Shaun MacDonald was an unused
substitute for Bournemouth.
David Cotterill is another Welsh player who spends most of his
time sitting down at the moment, but he did come onto the pitch in the 79th
minute. Doncaster were unable to take full advantage of Middlesbrough’s recent
inability to score goals, which has now lasted for four matches, but they did
take one point from the 0-0 home draw.
Steve Morison played 90 minutes and Jermaine Easter was a
58th-minute substitute as home team Millwall tried to find out how
many forwards they could fit on the pitch at the same time. The result was
predictable: a 3-0 Reading victory. Reading’s Chris Gunter caused chaos
with a cross that led to the first goal and Jake Taylor got his
longest-ever experience of Premier League football as a 33rd-minute
substitute, with Hal Robson-Kanu also coming off the bench. Reading have
now won 3 of their last 4 matches at the Den – which is a lot more than
Millwall can say.
Rhoys Wiggins probably quite enjoyed the first four minutes of
Charlton Athletic’s away match at Wigan Athletic. He’d signed a new deal a
couple of days ago and Charlton were 1-0 up. A few minutes later, he was forced
off with a hamstring injury, and although Wigan hung on for 80 minutes, there
was just enough time at the end for Wigan to turn it around and claim a 2-1
win. Simon Church was an unused substitute for Charlton.
Tom Lawrence made his debut for Yeovil after choosing to join
them on loan instead of staying with Carlisle United. With Carlisle, Lawrence
played well but had considerably experience of losing matches, and this continued
as they lost 4-2 at Nottingham Forest. Danny Collins played in defence
for Forest, who are now unbeaten in 13.
Wes Burns came off the bench to help inspire Bristol City to
a home win over Carlisle United, who lost the services of loanee Tom
Lawrence when he chose to join Yeovil Town instead. Carlisle took a
first-half lead and it looked like they might be heading for their first away
win since 22nd October, but two Bristol City goals in three minutes
gave them a 2-1 victory.
Elliott Hewitt extended his loan from Ipswich Town until the end
of the season and helped Gillingham to a 3-2 home victory over Port Vale.
Gillingham went 3-0 up in the 64th minute, but two late goals from
Port Vale created a nervy finish. Gillingham hung on to extend their unbeaten
home run to four matches.
Jake Cassidy set up the only goal as Tranmere got an important
1-0 away win over Milton Keynes Dons. Ash Taylor could have opened the
scoring for Tranmere, but he headed a Jason Koumas free kick over the
bar. Owain Fôn Williams was there with some vital saves to keep Tranmere
in the game. Tranmere’s goal came in stoppage time, and the win moves them four
points clear of the relegation places.
Craig Davies made his 300th English league
appearance in his debut for loan side Preston North End, and celebrated both
milestones in the best possible way by finding the back of the net with a
spectacular shot and winning the penalty that sealed Preston’s 2-0 home
victory. Defender Gareth Roberts, who was released by Bury three weeks
ago, made his debut for Notts County alongside loanee Kieron Freeman.
Mark Bradley kept his place in Rotherham United’s starting
line-up, but Nicky Adams, back in the north of England after once again
failing to settle in the south, was not yet eligible to play. Adams therefore
missed the chance to face his former side Leyton Orient, who were beaten 2-1 at
the home of his new club. Lloyd James played the opening 69 minutes for
Joe Jacobson and Paul Parry both came close to opening
the scoring for Shrewsbury Town, but it wasn’t until the 90th minute
that the Shrews finally got their goal and claimed a point against league
leaders Brentford. Shrewsbury are still in the bottom four, but only on goal
James Wilson couldn’t get much of a look-in in Bristol City’s
relegation battle, but Oldham Athletic, 6 points ahead of Bristol City, snapped
him up following his release and put him straight into the starting line-up for
their match against Swindon Town. Oldham won 1-0: their first away win since
November. Louis Thompson played 90 minutes for the losing side.
Sam Ricketts was described as
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ only real threat in their match against Bradford City,
but as Wolves won 2-0 and neither goal was from full-back Ricketts, I rather
doubt that statement is completely true. Lee Evans was an unused
substitute for Wolves, who are back in the automatic promotion places due to
Leyton Orient’s defeat.
On Friday, David Pipe was the only Welshman to start for Newport
County as their winless run continued with a 0-0 draw at Southend United. Byron
Anthony, who broke his leg in August, was fit enough to sit on the bench
alongside Andrew Hughes, who is being eased back into the side following
a hamstring injury. Fellow substitute Mike Flynn made an appearance in
the 82nd minute. Freddy Eastwood was a 61st-minute
substitute for Southend, who are now unbeaten in eight league matches.
On Saturday, Arron Davies played the full match for Exeter City
as they drew 1-1 at Burton Albion. Davies came close to finding the net
himself, but the post was well-positioned. After looking like promotion
contenders for the first few months, Exeter are just five points clear of the
relegation zone after picking up their second point of 2014.
Craig Jones played 90 minutes and picked up an assist in
Bury’s home match against Wycombe Wanderers. Daniel Nardiello’s
hamstring prevented him from playing his first match for Bury since signing
permanently, but Bury did what he was needed in his absence with a vital
1-0 home win. Bury are now outside the bottom two and unbeaten in seven home
Lee Lucas made his loan debut for Cheltenham Town and
acquitted himself well, though the match ended as a 1-1 home draw against rock
bottom Northampton Town. Troy Brown also started and Connor Roberts
was on the bench as Cheltenham extended their winless run to five matches.
Kaid Mohamed was given his
second start for Bristol Rovers, but after a performance that has been
described as ‘ineffective’, he was replaced in the 51st appearance
by Ellis Harrison. Rovers hoped Eliot Richards would recover from
a hamstring injury in time, but they had to manage without him, and they lost
3-1 at Chesterfield. Rovers are without an away win in the league since the
beginning of November.
Chris Maxwell sat on the bench for Fleetwood in their home match
against York. Fleetwood were on a run of four wins while York had only won one
of their last 10 away games, but York scored in stoppage time to claim a 2-1
victory over Fleetwood, denying them the chance to go into the top two.
Christian Ribeiro was very
unlucky to find himself on the bench for Scunthorpe United, but after getting a
well-deserved rest for the previous game, his replacement apparently didn’t
deserve to be dropped. The replacement did well in Scunthorpe’s away match
against Hartlepool United, helping Scunthorpe to their second consecutive clean
sheet. Scunthorpe are unbeaten in 13 league matches, but without a win in four.