The last week in loan land has seen its usual share of ups and downs, with hits and misses aplenty, but what it has also given us is a rare flurry of goals to report on. Miroslav Stoch’s 8th of the season is one thing, but there were also special moments for Tom Taiwo and Nana Ofori-Twumasi, who both scored their first goals in professional football last midweek. We catch up on all of it right now.
Once again, we’ll rewind a week to start the round-up, where there was another full midweek calendar of action in the English Football League. Taiwo started in his usual central midfield berth for Carlisle as they edged a five-goal thriller at home to Hartlepool. Another tough tackling, high-energy performance was accompanied by a booking and his first ever league goal, which you can watch here. An integral part in the Cumbrians’ ever-improving team, it will be interesting to see if there is interest from elsewhere when his loan spell expires at the end of the month. He was the only League One representative to make a notable impact in midweek though, with Jacob Mellis getting just a solitary minute of action in Southampton’s 1-0 win over Wycombe, whilst Liam Bridcutt’s Stockport saw their second consecutive home match postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
In League Two, Ofori-Twumasi may well have scored his own first senior goal – which you can also watch here – but it came through something of a goalkeeping error and was a mere bright moment on an awful night for the Daggers, who crashed to a 5-2 home defeat against Aldershot. Reports from the game suggest Nana’s performance was one of the poorest of all home players but there were some words of sympathy from some for a young defender offered little help on a night where everyone in home red had a poor outing.
Onto Wednesday night, where despite claiming he was suspended in an interview last week on Chelseafc.com, Miroslav Stoch took his place in the FC Twente line-up for their Europa League home clash with Fenerbahce. It ended in a surprising home loss for Steve McClaren’s team, only their second of the entire season (the other coming away to Sheriff in the same competition), despite great pressure on the Turkish goal. Miro had one of his quieter games of the season, and Twente will now head to Bucharest in a fortnight to attempt to seal their place in the last 32.
Friday night saw Matej Delac play for Inter at home to NK Zagreb, and despite a 1-3 reverse, he was once again his team’s highest rated performer and made a number of good saves throughout. You can see brief highlights here, with Inter in yellow.
Onto the weekend, and we’ll start in the Premier League. Franco Di Santo returned to the Blackburn Rovers attack for the home match against Liverpool, and despite it finishing 0-0 he did have perhaps one of the game’s best chances. Put through behind the Red back four, he seemed to hesitate as if to think he was offside, and it allowed Emiliano Insúa just enough time to recover and get back into position to stop an attempt at goal. Despite the goals not coming as often as some Rovers fans would like, there is still an appreciation of his work, as this piece reveals, whilst the club has officially requested to extend his loan for the rest of the season.
Scott Sinclair saw more action than usual for Wigan, getting onto the pitch for the last 20 minutes as Wigan looked to make up a two-goal deficit at home to Birmingham, but ultimately lost 3-2, with the winger making a minimal impact. Wolves beat Bolton 2-1 at Molineux with Michael Mancienne a substitute, brought on for the last five minutes to shore up at the back in a tight game.
In the Championship, Reading picked up a rare and surprising away win at Sheffield Wednesday by a 2-0 scoreline, with Ryan Bertrand putting in a good performance, as most of the team did in all honesty. He had a chance to score his first goal for the Royals, but it fell to his vastly inferior right foot and didn’t threaten the scorers. On Sunday, Jack Cork lined up for Coventry for their televised trip to Scunthorpe but Patrick van Aanholt was absent through suspension, having accumulated five yellow cards. It was an awful day for the Sky Blues, who after their 1-0 defeat are now nine without a win and sit just two points above the relegation zone. After starting the season with their best record for some years, their recent slide has been desperate and Cork finds himself in yet another potential relegation battle.
Elsewhere, Rhys Taylor made it onto the subs bench for QPR for the first time since joining on loan and watched as starter Radek Cerny yielded five to a rampant Middlesbrough in one of the more surprising results of the season so far.
Back to League One and another impressive result for Carlisle, who sit 12th after their credible goalless draw at Gillingham. Tom had one of his least effective matches of the campaign but nonetheless was part of a solid team performance. Liam Bridcutt did get back into action for Stockport but their slide hit a seventh straight defeat and rock bottom of the table in a 2-1 reverse at Wycombe. Liam played 89 minutes but things are looking desperate for Gary Ablett’s financially stricken team and after an Autumn of some promise, it’s a bleak winter there. Disappointingly, it was back to the bench as an unused sub for Jacob Mellis at Walsall, where Southampton won 3-1.
Ofori-Twumasi’s Dagenham disappointingly drew 1-1 at lowly Grimsby in League Two to extend a disappointing week, but he did play the full 90 minutes again. Opinion is still divided on how he has been getting on, with performances ranging from outstanding to terrible, which to tell the truth reflects much of his Chelsea youth career to date. It remains to be seen whether his spell will be extended beyond the new year.
Finally we return to Holland where Stoch scored his 8th of the year (and also picked up another booking) in Twente’s 4-3 humdinger away to NEC Nijmegen. His goal, the third of the four to put McClaren’s team ahead 3-1 in the first half, was a goal which is fast becoming a trait of his. Played in down the left, he jinked inside and smacked a powerful effort into the back of the net from outside the penalty area. You can see the goal here. He had another headed attempt saved on the line and is undoubtedly one of the unbeaten Eredivie leaders’ key players so far this season, with some likening his style to Marc Overmars. Slobodan Rajkovic continues to convalesce.