Weekend Round up.Premier League
Weekend player round up from Sophie Beresford.
Jack Collison was a late substitute for West Ham as they searched for their first win in six Premier League matches. Sadly, a win was not forthcoming on this occasion: West Ham drew 3-3 at home to alphabetical neighbours West Bromwich Albion, who left Boaz Myhill on the bench.
Joe Allen played 60 minutes for Liverpool, who were endeavouring to become the first club to win a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge against a Chelsea side managed by Jose Mourinho. As Liverpool had won just one of their last six away games, it seemed a tall order. I doubt many were surprised to see Chelsea take the points in a 2-1 victory.
Ben Davies was dropped in favour of Neil Taylor for the Boxing Day match against Chelsea., but Davies returned to the starting line-up for this game, with Taylor out of the squad altogether. Ashley Williams also started as Swansea drew 1-1 at Villa Park, thus extending their winless run stretched to six matches in all competitions.
Danny Gabbidon was apparently 'monstrous' (I'm sure that was meant in a good way) as Crystal Palace somehow managed to lose just 1-0 to Manchester City at the Etihad. Palace are outside the bottom three on goal difference despite the defeat. Jonathan Williams was a 76th-minute substitute; Lewis Price an unused one.
Ryan Giggs played the first half for Manchester United as they beat Norwich City 1-0 at Carrow Road. In any other season, this would probably have counted as a slightly disappointing result for Man Utd fans. As it is, a four-match unbeaten run is something to celebrate for the reigning champions, who are now outside the top five only on goal difference.
Declan John was back in the starting line-up for Cardiff City when they hosted Sunderland, and the Bluebirds (the clue's in the nickname, Mr Tan) got off to a great start and lead 2-0 in the 58th minute. Unfortunately, Sunderland aren't quite as rubbish as they used to be, and scored two late goals to take a share of the points.
Kieron Freeman, who returned from his loan spell at Notts County in time for Derby County's win over Huddersfield on Boxing Day, was again an unused substitute as Derby stretched their unbeaten run to 9 matches and moved to second place in the table. Derby won 2-1 at the home of bottom club Barnsley, who denied Lewin Nyatanga the chance to face his former club by leaving him on the bench. Christian Dibble was also an unused substitute.
Adam Henley started his fifth consecutive match for Blackburn as they faced Birmingham City, who hadn't won a match at Ewood Park since 1968. Birmingham, however, had played eight matches without defeat (though admittedly with a large number of draws) and they were 3-0 up by the 36th minute. Blackburn gave Birmingham some very nervous moments when they scored two in six minutes, but the Blues managed to hang on to end the long wait for an Ewood win.
Andrew Crofts played 90 minutes for Brighton, who beat Blackpool 1-0 away. Brighton have lost just two of their last twelve matches and are only outside the top six on goal difference. Crofts has made an excellent start to his second Brighton career. I would like to think Norwich City miss him.
Simon Church had the chance to score for Charlton in the closing stages of the match, but he fired over the bar from 18 yards out. Charlton had won just two of their last nine, but visitors Sheffield Wednesday had only won one away match all season. A draw seemed inevitable, and that was exactly what happened: the match finished 1-1.
A goal-line clearance from David Cotterill, restored to the starting line-up after three matches on the bench, helped preserve a point for Doncaster Rovers in their home match against Millwall. Doncaster were trying to avoid a third consecutive loss and Millwall a fourth, and although the 0-0 draw meant both teams succeeded, neither set of fans will be sitting comfortably as 2014 approaches. Steve Morison started for Millwall; Jermaine Easter made an 81st-minute appearance from the bench.
Joel Lynch scored his third goal of the season - and the third goal of the match for Huddersfield Town - as his team thrashed Yeovil 5-1 at home. Yeovil were actually the first team to score (they would have opened the scoring even earlier were it not for an excellent block from Lynch), but Lynch's header in the 43rd minute ensured a comeback was beyond the away side.
Andy King didn't appear until the 86th minute, but just three minutes later, he set up the winning goal as home Leicester City ensured they ended 2013 four points clear at the top of the Championship. As Leicester conceded three at home against Bolton Wanderers and then missed a penalty with the score at 3-3, there might be some cause for concern. But to an extent it doesn't matter how many you concede as long as you score more goals than the other team - and this is what they did. The match finished 5-3 to Leicester.
Chris Gunter was in defence for Reading as they lost their third Championship game in a row. Middlesbrough haven't had the start to the season they'd have hoped for, but they have been strong at home and this showed in their 3-0 home victory. Hal Robson-Kanu returned to Reading's bench following a knee injury. He and Jake Taylor were unused substitutes.
Neither Sam Vokes nor his team-mates were able to take their chances as Burnley drew 0-0 at Wigan and slipped out of the automatic promotion places. This is the fourth time in successive matches that Burnley have failed to score at Wigan, who are unbeaten in the Championship since 9th December. Brian Stock was an unused substitute for Burnley.
Louis Thompson was promoted to Swindon's starting line-up for their 1-1 draw at Bradford City. Swindon haven't won away from home since mid-November, but it could be worse. They could be Bradford, who haven't won any matches at all for nearly as long.
Wes Brown made an 'impressive' late substitute appearance for Bristol City as they beat Stevenage 4-1 at home. This was their second consecutive win - and the first time they'd managed back to back wins since January. Sam Wedgbury started for Stevenage; Michael Doughty was on the bench for the first time since his loan move in August but played the last twenty minutes.
Tom Lawrence picked up an assist with a cross as Carlisle beat Peterborough United 2-1 at home. Peterborough could have snatched a share of the points when they won a late penalty, but Carlisle keeper Ben Amos - who is, like Lawrence, on loan from Manchester Utd - made the save.
George Ray was a stoppage-time substitute for Crewe Alexandra, who came from behind to beat Colchester United 2-1 away. This victory lifts them two places to 22nd. For Crewe, the only way was up.
Aaron Phillips was an unused substitute in Coventry City's home draw with Oldham Athletic. Phillips' last two substitute appearances for Coventry were in the last two matches they won. Coincidence? Probably, but I think he deserves another late run-out, if only so I can write something interesting about it.
Nicky Adams was passed fit despite lasting just 15 minutes in the match on Boxing Day due to a back problem. Adams picked up the assist for the only goal as Crawley beat Notts County at home. Joe Walsh also started for Crawley. County's Morgan Fox nearly helped Crawley to get a second when he was dispossessed, but though that goal was averted, Crawley took all the points for the second time in three matches.
Richard Duffy had a bit of a nasty moment when he conceded a penalty, but luckily for him, Rotherham United were stupid enough to send Daniel Nardiello out on loan, and the penalty was missed. Duffy went on to play his part in helping Port Vale to keep a clean sheet in a 2-0 victory. Craig Morgan played ninety minutes for Rotherham, but Mark Bradley was suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card - just days before the amnesty.
Ash Taylor scored his first goal of the season for Tranmere in the 85th minute with the lively Jason Koumas getting the assist. Unfortunately, Sheffield United were still 3-1 ahead at their own ground so it was a bit late for Tranmere to get anything from the game. Owain Fôn Williams was in goal for Tranmere, who have lost four of their last five games in all competitions.
Tom Bradshaw started for Shrewsbury for the first time since early November as they lost their third consecutive home match 1-0, with Preston the latest team to take all three points. Joe Jacobson also started, but although It was reported that Paul Parry could start for Shrewsbury against his former club, but he didn't appear until the 78th minute. Darren Jones remained on the bench.
The 1-1 draw between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leyton Orient meant that Brentford moved ahead of them into first place. Captain Sam Ricketts started at left back for home side Wolves, with Jake Cassidy also on from the start. Dave Edwards, who had started the previous seven matches for Wolves, didn't appear until half-time. Wayne Hennessey and Lee Evans were unused substitutes. Lloyd James returned from suspension to start for Orient.
Freddy Eastwood was again a substitute as Southend United drew 1-1 at Accrington Stanley. Southend remain in the play-offs despite this result, which isn't nearly as embarrassing for Southend as it would have been at the start of the season.
Kaid Mohamed was an unused substitute for loan side Wimbledon as they drew 1-1 at home to Plymouth Argyle. Mohamed hasn't played for Wimbledon since announcing his intention of making the most of the opportunity at his loan club.
David Pipe and Mike Flynn were in Newport County's starting line-up as their six-match unbeaten run came to an end against Burton Albion, who are now joint-top of the league. The final score was 1-0 to home side Burton. Newport's Tony James was an unused substitute against his previous club.
Gareth Roberts played his second consecutive game for Bury after returning from the clichéd wilderness. Bury won 2-1 at home to York City: their first win under new manager David Flitcroft. Daniel Nardiello set up Bury's first goal in the first minute and also played a part in the second when his header was not dealt with sufficiently well by York keeper Aaron McCarey.
Lee Beevers was an unused substitute for Mansfield Town as their run of thirteen games without a win finally came to an end when they beat Cheltenham Town 2-1 away. Troy Brown played 90 minutes and Connor Roberts was an unused substitute as Cheltenham lost for the first time in twelve matches.
Christian Ribeiro played his eighth consecutive match for Scunthorpe as they moved up to second place in the table, behind Chesterfield only on goal difference. Scunthorpe's 2-0 away victory over promotion rivals Oxford United means they are undefeated in their last seven matches. Scunthorpe missed a penalty shortly before half-time, but they didn't let that ruin their afternoon.
Eliot Richards (who was on the bench as a precaution following a knee problem) and Ellis Harrison both made substitute appearances as Bristol Rovers tried to fight back against home side Rochdale, who had just taken a 2-0 lead. Although both players had chances, they didn't find the net even once between them, leaving Bristol Rovers just a point above the relegation places. Which is the last thing they want, especially considering Bristol City seem set on joining them in League Two.
Billy Bodin won a penalty for Torquay, but his team were unable to take advantage of this opportunity to score, which must have been particularly painful when they were playing local rivals Exeter City. Exeter were 3-1 away winners, with Arron Davies coming off the bench in the 78th minute. Nathan Craig was an unused substitute for Torquay.
Adam Matthews and Joe Ledley both started for Celtic as they preserved their unbeaten record with a 1-0 away victory over Inverness. Marley Watkins, who said in July that he would be interested in representing Wales, returned from a dead leg and played 88 minutes for the home side.
Gwion Edwards played 90 minutes for St Johnstone for the first time in a 3-0 home victory over Dundee Utd. Edwards assisted the winning goal with a 'perfect' cross. Late substitute Owain Tudur Jones was also on the right end of a 3-0 home victory when Hibernian hosted Kilmarnock.