It took a long time coming – 129 games to be precise – but Ryan Bertrand finally put his name on a professional scoresheet this past week. Now sure, it may have come against Robbie Savage, but they all count, and you can be sure he’ll remember it. That’s where we start our loan round-up this week.
Reading’s midweek clash with Derby County was an eventful one to say the least. Rams goalkeeper Stephen Bywater went off injured midway through the first half and was replaced by Saul Deeney. The former Burton Albion stopper was then sent off in first half stoppage time after conceding a penalty, leaving veteran midfielder Savage to don the gloves for the remainder of the game. He did pretty well to be fair to him, keeping the hosts at bay for more than half an hour as Derby tried to overturn a 2-1 scoreline. He was eventually beaten when Bertrand seized on a loose ball in the penalty area, took a touch to compose himself, and then rifled a powerful shot into the roof of the net on his weaker right foot. Simon Church added a late fourth to secure the win.
Things have been going well for Reading lately and on Saturday they extended their run of form to eight wins from nine in the league by sending Bristol City packing by a 2-0 scoreline. Flying high with confidence after breaking his duck, Bertrand had arguably his finest performance of the season, dominating the left hand side and playing a key role in Gylfi Sigurdsson’s early opener. A marauding 40-yard run finished with a pass to release Jobi McAnuff, and he crossed for the Icelandic midfielder to score. Later in the game a fiercely driven cross from the England Under-21 left-back evaded Shane Long by inches, and it would have capped a very fine week for him.
Another having a good week was Matej Delač, who saved a penalty and was named man of the match after keeping a clean sheet against Sibenik in Inter’s 0-0 away draw. The penalty save came in just the fifth minute and set down a marker for the remainder of the match, highlights of which you can watch here.
In the Premier League, the week started inauspiciously and stayed that way, as it has for much of the season. Scott Sinclair saw no Monday night action in Wigan’s 1-0 win over Liverpool and was once again left as an unused substitute on Saturday, when the Latics crashed to a 4-0 reverse at Bolton. Jack Cork played 45 minutes for Burnley on Wednesday against Stoke but was forced out of their 1-1 draw with an ankle problem which meant he was unable to play against Wolves at the weekend, and once again denied the chance of a Chelsea loanee clash (something which hasn’t happened very often this season despite the numbers out on temporary deals).
Michael Mancienne started that match as a substitute and entered the fray after an hour. Wolves won 2-1 despite some late Burnley pressure, and Michael was booked in addition to going close to a goal with a fine 18-yard shot which Brian Jensen tipped away at the last second. Franco Di Santo, meanwhile, got 15 minutes at White Hart Lane but could do nothing to aid Rovers in their 3-1 defeat to Tottenham.
We finish off in Holland, where a good weekend for FC Twente leaves Miroslav Stoch and Slobodan Rajkovic five points clear at the top of the Eredivisie with seven games to go. On Friday night they beat struggling ADO Den Haag 3-1 at the Arke Stadion, with Stoch starting and Rajkovic back on the bench after Peter Wisgerhof returned to the starting eleven. It was another quiet game in 2010 for Stoch and he was taken off with ten minutes to go, the result long since in the bag. Sunday saw Ajax beat PSV 4-0 at the Amsterdam ArenA to catapult themselves into the title race, but it leaves Steve McClaren’s side with breathing room ahead of their own visit to Eindhoven next weekend.