Weekend Round up.
Weekend player round up from Sophie Beresford.
Premier LeagueJoe Ledley scored for Crystal Palace as his former club Cardiff City lost 3-0 at home to their relegation rivals. Ledley and his manager Tony Pulis both want Cardiff to stay up, but it looks like they won’t get their wish after rightly putting Palace’s needs first. Ledley also set up Palace’s opening goal with an inch-perfect pass. Craig Bellamy was a 72nd-minute substitute for Cardiff, who are six points from safety. Former Cardiff man Danny Gabbidon was on Palace’s bench along with Wayne Hennessey.
Ashley Williams and Ben Davies were also on the losing side when Swansea City lost 1-0 at Hull City, though without an athletic interception from Williams, it could have been worse. Hull were relegation favourites at the start of the season, but they’re nine points clear of the bottom three with Swansea just three points behind them. Neil Taylor was on the bench for Swansea.
Paul Dummett was an unused substitute for Newcastle United as visitors Manchester United continued their unprecedented good form with a 4-0 victory, despite playing what would be considered by most to be a weakened team. This was Newcastle’s 10th loss in 16 matches and their second consecutive 4-0 defeat.
Boaz Myhill and Liam O’Neil were unused substitutes for West Bromwich Albion as they got a 1-0 away win over Norwich City – a victory that would have been a great relief considering Sunderland’s games in hand. This was Norwich’s first home defeat since December and West Brom’s third away win of the season.
On Sunday, Aaron Ramsey made his long-awaited return from a thigh injury after over three months on the sidelines. However, things did not go as planned: home side Everton beat Arsenal 3-0. Incredibly, considering Arsenal’s excellence in the first half of the season, Ramsey could be playing in the Europa League next season. Everton are a point behind fourth-placed Arsenal with a game in hand.
Joe Allen watched from the bench as Liverpool returned to the top of the table with a 2-1 away victory over West Ham United. Both Liverpool’s goals came from penalties – their eleventh and twelfth of the season. Liverpool are two points clear at the top, but Manchester City have two games in hand.
ChampionshipOn Friday evening, Andy King didn’t have the chance to make it two goals in two matches – he returned to the bench as an unused substitute. However, Leicester’s 2-1 home victory over Sheffield Wednesday meant they were all but promoted, and their return to the Premier League was confirmed when Queen’s Park Rangers and Derby County lost their Saturday games. Leicester were unbeaten in 21 matches following this result.
Jack Collison was a 55th-minute substitute for Wigan Athletic, who are now nine points clear of 7th place. Wigan hadn’t lost at home since the start of December, and this run continued with a 1-0 victory over Leeds United. Financially-troubled Leeds have the Championship’s top scorer Ross McCormack in their ranks and he gave the FA Cup semi-finalists some nasty moments, but Wigan hung on.
Lewin Nyatanga was in defence for Barnsley as they drew 0-0 at home to Brighton & Hove Albion. Brighton had 59% of the possession, but it was Barnsley who looked the more likely to score. As it turned out, neither did, and a point wasn’t enough to take Barnsley out of the relegation zone.
Jonny Williams started his fifth consecutive match for Ipswich Town, but found himself on the losing side as Blackburn Rovers claimed a 1-0 home victory. Williams forced a good save from Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson and should have got an assist, but his cross was somehow headed over. This result leaves Ipswich five points away from the play-offs.
Tom Lawrence scored his first goal for Yeovil Town, putting his loan club 2-0 up in the 74th minute. Hosts Blackpool got one back four minutes later, but the match finished 2-1. Robert Earnshaw missed out on making his home debut for Blackpool: the former Cardiff City and Nottingham Forest man was an unused substitute. Yeovil remain bottom of the league, but despite a winless run of 3 games, they’re just three points from safety.
Simon Church returned to Charlton Athletic’s starting line-up as they faced the team who had released him in the summer: Reading. Unfortunately, he was unable to take revenge, with Reading claiming a 1-0 away win. Church’s former team-mate Chris Gunter caused trouble with a cross that had to be pushed away and won a free kick which apparently roused the wrath of Charlton’s Rhoys Wiggins, who was booked. Hal Robson-Kanu came off the bench in the 77th minute for Reading; Charlton’s Morgan Fox was an unused substitute.
Emyr Huws came through a fitness test after recovering from a hip problem and started for Birmingham City in their away match against Doncaster Rovers. The good news for Birmingham continued with a 3-1 victory. David Cotterill started for Doncaster and although he couldn’t take advantage of a good chance to score, his free kick led to Doncaster’s consolation goal.
Joel Lynch returned to training this week following a groin injury, but although he played an hour for the development squad, he was only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench and did not make a substitute appearance. Huddersfield lost 1-0 at home to Bolton Wanderers. Huddersfield haven’t won any of their last seven, but are ten points clear of danger.
Danny Collins played in defence for Nottingham Forest, who extended their winless run to ten matches with a 2-1 home defeat to strugglers Millwall. Steve Morison didn’t appear for Millwall until just after the hour mark. David Vaughan (Forest, knee) and Jermaine Easter (Millwall, thigh) are said to be fit, but neither were in their team’s squad.
Sam Vokes was absent for Burnley after rupturing his anterior cruciate and will be missing for Burnley and Wales for six months. In his absence, Burnley needed a late goal to gain a point at Watford with a 1-1 draw, but they’re still unbeaten in nine away matches and ten points clear in 2nd place. An unwell David Jones was replaced by Brian Stock in the 76th minute – this was Stock’s first appearance since early December due to a back problem and the brilliance of his team-mates.
League OneJames Wilson was in defence for Oldham Athletic, who conceded a stoppage time goal against Bradford City. Last-minute goals often make a habit of being disasters for the team that concedes them, but luckily, visitors Oldham still won 3-2. Oldham are now four points from safety and unbeaten in five games.
Wes Burns came off the bench for Bristol City in the 72nd minute. Three minutes later, Bristol City were level against visitors Preston North End. Burns didn’t pick up the goal or the assist, but he caused a few problems. Craig Davies played 83 minutes for Preston before being replaced by a non-Welsh namesake. With Preston’s place in the play-offs assured, Bristol City moved four points clear of the relegation zone.
Louis Thompson made an appearance in the 70th minute for Swindon Town, but was unable to replicate his goal-scoring exploits from the previous round, despite an almost unstoppable drive. Swindon lost 1-0 at Carlisle United, but are only three points from the play-offs. Carlisle, despite their win, are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference.
Owain Fôn Williams gave an impressive performance in goal for Tranmere Rovers and helped them to win 2-1 at Colchester United. Ash Taylor nearly scored from a header, while Jake Cassidy had a good shot blocked. Jason Koumas received injections before the game due to a toe injury, but couldn’t complete the ninety minutes. This was Tranmere’ssecond win in five matches – and a win they badly needed. They’re only outside the bottom four on goal difference.
James Loveridge kept his starting place for Milton Keynes Dons as they kept their play-off hopes alive with a 2-1 away win over Coventry City – though MK Dons can count themselves lucky as Coventry missed a penalty in the 70th minute.
George Ray made his first appearance for Crewe Alexandra since December as his club beat hosts Crawley Town 2-1. A slip from Joe Walsh nearly caused further problems, though he nearly made up for it when his cross was headed over. Billy Waters was an unused substitute for Crewe, who are in the bottom three on goal difference, with Crawley just three points ahead. Substitute Gwion Edwards, on loan from Swansea, is still awaiting his Crawley debut.
Nicky Adams set up Rotherham United’s opening goal in their 4-3 away win over Gillingham, but team-mate Tom Hitchcock will take all the plaudits for this seven-goal, five-star thriller, which was capped by the final twist of a stoppage-time winner. Rotherham defender Craig Morgan probably didn’t play a starring role, but he didn’t prevent his team from taking the plaudits. Elliott Hewitt set up Gillingham’s first goal in the 56th minute, which brought the score back to 2-1, but there was no happy ending for his team. Rotherham, meanwhile, are up to third and unbeaten in `16.
Richard Duffy helped Port Vale to keep a clean sheet in a 1-0 home win over Walsall – their first league double over the visitors since the 1899-90 season – and also set up the goal with an excellent pass . Port Vale have lost just one of their last five games and are five points from the play-offs.
Lloyd James returned to the starting line-up for Leyton Orient, but the former league leaders are without a win in five following a 1-1 draw at FA Cup semi-finalists Sheffield United. Ben Davies was a 62nd-minute substitute for Sheffield United and set up their equaliser only a minute later. Kieron Freeman, whose loan from Derby County has been extended until the end of the season, started for Sheffield United.
Joe Jacobson and Paul Parry both started for Shrewsbury Town, who claimed a very important 1-0 home victory over fellow strugglers Stevenage – and it could have been 2-0 if Parry hadn’t headed over from a Jacobson corner. Michael Doughty returned from a two-match suspension for Stevenage and the substitute made an earlier than expected appearance on 27 minutes. Tom Bradshaw was an unused substitute for Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury move off the bottom, two points from safety, and are replaced by their opponents.
Dave Edwards tapped in his third goal in five matches as Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Peterborough United 2-0 at home, despite a missed penalty. A Sam Ricketts cross set up Wolves’ opening goal shortly after the restart and with 90 points, twelve more than third-placed Rotherham United, it’s difficult to imagine them missing out on automatic promotion. Lee Evans was a stoppage-time substitute for Wolves; Lloyd Isgrove made a substitute appearance for Peterborough, apparently seven seconds into the second half.
League TwoDarren Jones started for Wimbledon, having had a week in which to recover from a nasty head injury. Jones was lucky not to concede a penalty as his team Wimbledon drew at home to Bristol Rovers. Aaron Morris also started for Wimbledon. Kaid Mohamed spent a disappointing loan spell at former club Wimbledon earlier this season, but was unable to score against them with his new loan club, Bristol Rovers. Ellis Harrison was an unused substitute for Rovers, who are four points of the drop zone.
Daniel Nardiello started for Bury in their 2-0 home victory over Exeter City, but didn’t score against one of his former sides. Craig Jones also started for the winning side with Eliot Richards doing likewise for Exeter. Arron Davies was on Exeter’s bench. Exeter are four points from trouble, but Bury, who were in a bit of trouble themselves not too long ago, are now seven points from the play-offs.
Freddy Eastwood was back on the bench for Southend United, who came from behind to beat hosts Cheltenham Town 2-1. Troy Brown was partly at fault for Southend’s second goal and will hope he’s not one of the players his manager is planning on replacing next season. Connor Roberts was an unused substitute for Cheltenham.
Mike Flynn set up Newport County’s equalising goal as they got a 1-1 draw at the home of third-placed Chesterfield. Flynn and Andrew Hughes both started for Newport, while David Pipe and Aaron Amadi-Holloway were unused substitutes. Newport’s only win in their last twelve matches was against bottom club Torquay United.
Lee Beevers, who will have surgery on his troublesome shoulder in the summer, lasted just four minutes of Mansfield Town 1-0 away win over Morecambe before it popped out again. Mansfield have endured an up and down season: following a good start, they dropped down to the lower reaches of the league, but now find themselves seven points from the play-offs.
Chris Maxwell kept another clean sheet for Fleetwood Town, his seventh in fourteen matches for the club, in a 2-0 away victory over Oxford United. Oxford failed to win for the ninth time in ten matches, but if they can turn it around, they still have a good chance of joining Fleetwood in the play-off places. They’re only a point behind seventh-placed York City.
Christian Ribeiro was an unused substitute as Scunthorpe United extended their unbeaten run to an incredible 25 games, though they needed a penalty in order to beat Torquay United 1-0 away. If Torquay’s own penalty had not been saved, they might have got a point from this game – though they’ll need at least eleven points to have any hope of survival. Billy Bodin started for Torquay; Nathan Craig was an unused substitute.
ScotlandOwain Tudur Jones returned to Hibernian’s squad, having been missing with a hamstring injury since late January. However, he played no part in this match, with Hibs lost 2-0 at home to Aberdeen. Although Hibernian are in 7th place with 34 points, they are just four points clear of the new relegation play-off place.
Gareth Bale was on the scoresheet in the 66th minute of a 4-0 of Real Madrid’s away victory over Real Sociedad. It was a spectacular strike from 25 yard, with Bale taking full advantage of a defensive error. Real are in third place in La Liga, behind their second-placed El Clasico rivals Barcelona and first-placed local rivals Atletico Madrid.