Southampton’s loan players picked up more important minutes across the footballing pyramid last week, as young defender Nico Lawrence kept a standout clean sheet on his National League debut. This and more in this week’s Loan Watch…
Lawrence continued his impressive early start with Torquay United as he made his first appearance in the Vanarama National League after helping them progress in the FA Trophy on his full club debut.
The 19-year-old played another 90 minutes in a 1-0 win at home against Maidstone United, keeping a clean sheet in a crucial win that puts the Gulls three points away from safety in the race for survival in the fifth tier.
Meanwhile, Saints’ Championship loanees both took a break from league action as they faced lower-league opposition in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Will Smallbone played just over an hour in Stoke City’s 3-1 win over League Two outfit Stevenage, as the Potters advanced into the fifth round of the competition for the second successive season.
Nathan Tella played 90 minutes for Burnley in their 0-0 draw on the road against League One side Ipswich Town, with a replay now required to determine whether the Clarets will progress.
Down in League One, three youngsters were in league action as Kegs Chauke made a late cameo in Exeter City’s second win of the new year.
The South African midfielder was introduced in the closing stage as the Grecians earned a 2-0 win on the road against MK Dons, firing themselves up to 10th in the table and just six points away from the playoff places.
Elsewhere, there were two games in a week for Morecambe pair, Caleb Watts and Dynel Simeu.
On Tuesday evening, a disappointing defeat away against Ipswich Town saw Watts play the first half whilst Simeu was introduced at half time for his first appearance for the club.
However, the Shrimps returned to winning ways in style with a 5-1 win over Bristol Rovers on the weekend as Simeu played the full 90 minutes in his first start for the club
Finally, outside of the EFL in the National League South, Will Tizzard made his first appearance since returning to Chippenham Town with a 90-minute display in a 1-1 draw against Hungerford Town.
In addition, Jack Bycroft continued his starting role for Taunton Town, in his 20th league appearance for the Peacocks, who unfortunately fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat against playoff-chasing St Albans City.