Loan Watch: Smallbone stars in Stoke victory


Will Smallbone marked the first start of his loan spell at Stoke with a Man of the Match performance as the Potters got off the mark in the Championship.

After a 25-minute cameo off the bench in the opening day defeat at Millwall, the 22-year-old more than justified Michael O’Neill’s decision to name the midfielder in his starting eleven against Blackpool, helping the hosts to a 2-0 win at bet365 Stadium.

Earning plaudits for a creative display in the middle of the park, the Republic of Ireland Under-21 was involved in the build up to both goals, as Harry Clarke and Jacob Brown fired Stoke to victory.

But it was Smallbone who claimed the full-time accolade having quickly adjusted to life in Staffordshire.

Elsewhere in the EFL, Dan Nlundulu started a second match in succession for Cheltenham completing 56 minutes, before Luke Thomas’s strike earned Barnsley a 1-0 win at Okakwell.

There were also league debuts for youngsters Kegs Chauke and Thierry Small who shared the same pitch for opposite teams in League One on Saturday.

Chauke featured in the final 15 minutes of Exeter’s comprehensive 4-0 win over Port Vale, whilst full-back Small played the second half in a difficult afternoon for the Valiants.

In the same division, Caleb Watts made his Morecambe debut with a 20-minute appearance from the bench, as Derek Adams’s side succumbed to a 3-0 defeat at Peterborough.

On the end of a more positive result, Jack Bycroft made his Taunton debut in National League South just two days after joining the club.

Taking the number one jersey in Somerset, the shot-stopper kept an impressive clean sheet as the Peacocks picked up a 0-0 draw with Welling.

North of the border, Kazeem Olaigbe was an unused substitute as Ross County fell to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Scottish champions Celtic to round up the weekend’s action.