All seven of our loan players were in action this midweek across the EFL and National League.
Reece Cole’s first touch in a Maidenhead United shirt was a memorable one as he netted a superb free-kick to earn The Magpies a point at home to Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday night. The midfielder, who joined the Berkshire outfit last week, was named on the substitutes bench as the visitors took the lead at York Road through Michael Cheek after just 14 minutes. Reece was introduced with 20 minutes to play and made an instant impact; arching a free-kick into the top corner from 25 yards to level the scoring two minutes later. That was how the game finished; the point enough to keep United out of the relegation zone on goal difference ahead of their visit from high-flying Harrogate Town tomorrow.
The only other Bee to avoid defeat in midweek was Ryan Woods who played the full 90 minutes in Stoke City’s bad-tempered 2-1 victory over Derby County at The Bet 365 Stadium. Sam Clucas gave the home side a 24th minute lead but The Potters were reduced to ten men nine minutes later when Peter Otebo saw red for a wild lunge on Richard Keogh, the challenge sparking a scuffle involving both sets of players. After the interval, Harry Wilson equalised for Derby before Tom Ince came back to haunt his former side with the winner 25 minutes from time. City head to Reading on Saturday for their next Sky Bet Championship outing.
Elsewhere, it was a tough midweek for our other five loanees. In Sky Bet League One, Jack Bonham and Bristol Rovers are now four points from safety after a 2-1 defeat at home to fellow strugglers Gillingham. The Gills struck early in both halves through Elliot List and Callum Reilly to take control. Reilly then went from hero to villain as he was shown a straight red with 20 minutes to play. Liam Sercombe pulled one back late on but it wasn’t enough as Rovers remain 21st.
In Sky Bet League Two, Theo Archibald came off the bench at half-time during Forest Green Rovers’ 1-0 defeat at home to Play-Off rivals Colchester United; Sammie Szmodics scoring the only goal after 25 minutes to drop Rovers down to tenth.
Another winger coming off the bench in a home defeat was Chiedozie Ogbene as bottom-of-the-table Macclesfield Town, watched on by new boss Sol Campbell, took the points against Exeter City at St James Park. The winger came on in the 56th minute, two minutes after Harry Smith had scored what turned out to be the only goal of the game. Defeat leaves Exeter inside the Play-Off spots only on goal difference.
Tom Field also featured as a substitute on Tuesday night during Cheltenham Town’s 4-1 defeat at Bury. The hosts led 2-1 midway through the second-half when Tom was introduced and they made the game safe shortly afterwards through Byron Moore and Nicky Maynard. Having enjoyed an upturn in form under Michael Duff recently, Tuesday’s defeat saw The Robins advantage over the relegation spots cut to just a point.
In the National League, Justin Shaibu played the full 90 minutes, his eighth start for Boreham Wood, as they were beaten 1-0 at home by Dover Athletic. Inih Effiong scored the game’s only goal 11 minutes after the interval as The Wood lost more ground on the Play-Off places.
With the Emirates FA Cup taking centre-stage this weekend, there’s no action for Boreham Wood, Bristol Rovers, Forest Green, or Exeter City after their First Round exits. Cheltenham Town have a chance to make Round Three as they head to Accrington Stanley on Saturday.