Southampton’s loan players had a full weekend of matches after the conclusion of the international break as Will Smallbone continued his impressive form with Stoke City. This and more in the latest Loan Watch…
Fresh from winning Player of the Match on his international debut with the Republic of Ireland just over a week ago, Smallbone returned to Championship action with another strong performance.
Stoke were dominant in a 4-0 win over playoff-chasing Coventry City, as Smallbone played 83 minutes of the victory and scored the game’s third goal.
The midfielder hit his third goal for the Potters in the 71st minute, putting any hopes of a Coventry comeback to bed with a controlled finish that was passed into the bottom right corner from just inside the box.
The win moves Smallbone’s loan side up to 10th in the league table as they are now unbeaten in five league games.
Elsewhere in the Championship, Nathan Tella’s Burnley were held to a draw on Friday night against Sunderland.
Tella played the full game as it finished goalless at Turf Moor, with the Clarets creeping ever closer to securing promotion back to the Premier League.
Burnley are unbeaten in 18 league games and need just four points to confirm promotion, with Tella also seeking silverware at the end of the campaign as they sit 11 points clear at the top of the table.
Meanwhile, up in the Premier League, centre-back Jack Stephens helped AFC Bournemouth to an important win in their bid to stay in the top flight as they came from behind to beat Fulham 2-1.
Down in League One, Kegs Chauke returned to action with Exeter City as he spent the international break with South Africa Under-23s.
Chauke was introduced as a stoppage-time substitute as the Grecians rescued a 2-2 draw on the road against Fleetwood Town thanks to a late equaliser.
Dynel Simeu played the full 90 for Morecambe elsewhere in the league whilst Caleb Watts remained on the bench as they fell to defeat away to fourth-placed Barnsley.
Next, in League Two, B team star Kazeem Olaigbe helped Harrogate Town pick up a 1-1 draw against Tranmere Rovers on Friday night as he also played the full game on the road.
Outside of the EFL, it was a huge week for Nico Lawrence and Torquay United in their bid for survival in the National League.
The Gulls beat playoff contenders Boreham Wood 1-0 away from home on Tuesday night, before travelling to relegation rivals Scunthorpe United on the weekend and winning 1-0 again.
Lawrence played every minute, keeping two successive clean sheets and putting his side just three points away from safety in a tense battle at the bottom of the table.
Further down the pyramid in the National League South, Luke Pearce was on the winning side as Eastbourne recorded a 1-0 victory away to Weymouth that puts them one point outside of the playoffs.
Goalkeeper Jack Bycroft didn’t have the same fortunes, however, as his Taunton Town side were beaten on both Tuesday evening and on Saturday.
In Saturday’s outing against runaway league leaders Ebbsfleet though, Bycroft pulled of several key saves with only a last-gasp winner preventing the Peacocks from picking up a well-fought point.
Finally, up in Scotland, Thierry Small returned to action with St Mirren as he kept a clean sheet and put in a strong shift in a 3-0 win over Livingston.
The victory was vital as the Saints move up to fifth place with just three games remaining before the league split.