Shane Duffy and Brighton & Hove Albion made a successful early journey to face bitter rivals Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park where they secured a two one success in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. Harry Arter started and starred for Cardiff City who defeated visitors West Ham United by two goals to one while Cyrus Christie was an unused substitute for Fulham who went down to a three one defeat at Leicester City. Injury ruled Ciaran Clark out of the international squad but he has resumed training with Newcastle United although not yet ready for action as the ‘Magpies’ recovered a two nil half-time deficit to defeat visitors Everton by three goals to two at St James Park. Seamus Coleman was named in the ‘Toffees’ starting eleven but was forced to withdraw through sickness. James McCarthy has been fit and available for some weeks following his lengthy injury absence but has not seen any action with the ‘Toffees’ and was again excluded from the matchday squad. Shane Long returned on the substitute bench for Southampton and entered the fray at half-time only to suffer a head injury which forced his withdrawal on seventy three minutes as his side came from behind to defeat Tottenham Hotspur by two goals to one at St Mary’s Stadium.
Saturday in the Championship kicked-off at noon with the Lancashire Derby meeting of Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End at Ewood Park. Derrick Williams, included in Mick McCarthy’s initial squad, started for the hosts following his two match suspension while both Alan Browne and Sean Maguire started for the visitors who secured a one nil victory. Callum Robinson, not selected in Mick McCarthy’s international squad has resumed training following his lengthy injury absence. Fifteen minutes later the South Yorkshire Derby encounter between Sheffield United and Rotherham United kicked off at Bramall Lane. The hosts included John Egan, Enda Stevens, David McGoldrick and Aston Villa loanee Scott Hogan in their starting eleven, all of whom are in Mick’s extended squad, as they secured a two nil victory. Two more of Mick’s squad members, Aiden O’Brien, unused on the bench and Shaun Williams who started alongside loanee Alex Pearce for Millwall suffered a two one defeat at Bolton Wanderers who included teenager Luca Connell on their bench. Callum O’Dowda started alongside goalkeeper Max O’Leary for Bristol City who lost a crucial contest with Leeds United at Ashton Gate. Visiting striker Patrick Bamford whom it is understood is about to make the switch to our senior international ranks scored the only goal after nine minutes. Both O’Dowda and Bamford were withdrawn before the hour mark. Derby County, captained by Richard Keogh, were held to a one all draw by Sheffield Wednesday and Keiren Westwood at Pride Park. Fellow goalkeeper Darren Randolph and his Middlesbrough colleagues went down to a two one defeat by visitors Brentford at the Riverside Stadium while James McClean started for Stoke City who played out a scoreless with QPR at Loftus Road. Alan Judge and struggling Ipswich Town made the trip to West Bromwich Albion where they secured a point from a one all draw.
Striker James Collins who has scored twenty times this season for current leaders Luton Town started in their scoreless draw at Plymouth Argyle in the First Division while the Sunderland duo of Burnley loanee Jimmy Dunne and Aiden McGeady also started at Wycombe Wanderers for Sunderland who scored a very late equaliser for a one all draw. Also on the road was Ronan Curtis who scored for his club Portsmouth in their two one defeat at Charlton Athletic in the late kick-off.
The two League Two players selected in Mick McCarthy’s initial senior international squad, Kieran O’Hara and Padraig Amond were in action on Saturday afternoon. Goalkeeper O’Hara, on loan at Macclesfield Town from Manchester United, suffered a three one defeat by visitors MK Dons at the Moss Rose Stadium while striker Amond started for Newport County who went down to a three nil defeat by Colchester United at the Community Stadium.