Irish in St Stephen’s Day football action…27/12/2019

Premier League
The deferred dessert on the St Stephen’s Day Premier League menu was the Friday night Molineaux meeting of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester City with Matt Doherty scoring the winning goal in the final minutes as the hosts recovered a two goal deficit in a contest fraught with tension. The task was made easier following the 12th minute dismissal of the visiting City goalkeeper.

The day itself provided a starter of Tottenham Hotspur against Brighton & Hove Albion at 12.30pm. The visitors included Aaron Connolly and Shane Duffy in their starting eleven but after a fine first half performance, during which they took the lead, they failed to maintain their form in the second period and went down to a two one defeat. Duffy had a fine match in the middle of an initial back three while Connolly led the line very well during his 68 minute stint, although he did miss an excellent scoring opportunity. Later in the day, Aston Villa won a crucial relegation themed battle with fellow promoted side Norwich City with the only goal scored by 56th minute substitute Conor Hourihane just eight minutes after his introduction. Michael Obafemi started in place of the injured Shane Long for Southampton who stunned high flying Chelsea with a two nil success at Stamford Bridge where  Obafemi scored an excellent opening goal. The ‘London Derby’ meeting of Crystal Palace and West Ham United saw the hosts come from behind to record a two one success. James McCarthy was an 88th minute substitute for the hosts. Seamus Coleman returned to the starting eleven for Everton under new manager Carlo Ancelotti and had a fine match in their one nil victory over visitors Burnley who included Robbie Brady in their starting eleven with Kevin Long an 88th minute substitute. The form of the third promoted side Sheffield United has been something of a revelation so far this season but they were not at their best in this afternoon’s one all draw with Bramall Lane visitors Watford. The Irish trio of John Egan, Enda Stevens and David McGoldrick all completed the full ninety minutes while Callum Robinson was an unused substitute.

Defensive duo Daragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams were in action for Blackburn Rovers who played out a one all Championship draw with Ewood Park visitors Birmingham City. The Millwall trio of Jayson Molumby, Shaun Williams and Alex Pearce all played the full ninety minutes of their one all draw at Cardiff City while Callum O’Dowda was an 83rd minute substitute for Bristol City who went down to a three two defeat at Charlton Athletic for whom Josh Cullen remains on the injury list. James Collins scored the opening goal for Luton Town who continued their battle for survival with a three all draw against promotion chasing visitors Fulham for whom Cyrus Christie was again in the starting eleven. Stoke City included James McClean, who opened the scoring after 11 minutes, in their starting eleven alongside Stephen Ward as they secured a three two victory over visitors Sheffield Wednesday. Nathan Collins was unused on the substitute bench. Young Jason Knight was again in the starting eleven for Derby County who scored  a very late equaliser at Wigan Athletic. The 5.15pm kick-off at Elland Road saw second place Leeds United score an 88th minute equaliser to draw one each with Preston North End who included Alan Browne, who opened the scoring after 22 minutes, and Sean Maguire in their starting eleven. The 7.30pm kick-off witnessed Reading score the only goal to defeat visitors QPR for whom Ryan Manning was in action at the Madejski Stadium.

League One
Loanee goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara was in League One action for Burton Albion who defeated visitors Tranmere Rovers by four goals to two while Ipswich Town and Alan Judge played out a scoreless draw with visitors Gillingham who included Southampton loanee Thomas O’Connor in their side. Loanee goalkeeper Max O’Leary was in action for Shrewsbury Town who went down to a two one home defeat by Rotherham United for whom Chiedoze Ogbene started while Trevor Clarke was an unused substitute.