Irish in Sunday afternoon action…29/12/2019

There was quite a volume of Irish involvement in this Sunday afternoon’s football programme across the English and Scottish Leagues.

Premier League
Fatigue was expected to be a factor for Wolverhampton Wanderers when they took on runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield this Sunday afternoon but despite losing the contest to the only goal they were again very impressive. The visitors have a relatively small squad and seven of the side that defeated Manchester City on Friday evening started again today. Friday’s match winner Matt Doherty was one of the four rested players. There was an unusual 6pm kick-off time set for the meeting of Manchester City and visitors Sheffield United who included John Egan, Enda Stevens and Callum Robinson in their starting eleven with David McGoldrick introduced from the substitute bench for Robinson approaching the hour mark. The hosts won the contest by two goals to nil but the ‘Blades’ were again very impressive despite the defeat.

The form of Bristol City and Callum O’Dowda, who missed out today, has dipped alarmingly over the past four matches but they managed  to restore some order with a three nil defeat of struggling Luton Town and James Collins at Ashton Gate in the Championship on Sunday afternoon. Cyrus Christie retained his starting position for Fulham who scored the only goal to defeat Stoke City at Craven Cottage. The visitors have seen an upsurge in their form under new manager Michael O’Neill with James McClean and Stephen Ward instrumental to their recent successes. Despite both currently carrying knocks, they started again this afternoon. Blackburn Rovers included Daragh Lenihan in their starting eleven as they went down to a two one defeat at Huddersfield Town but Derrick Williams was absent from the matchday squad. The Millwall quartet of Alex Pearce, Jayson Molumby, Shaun Williams and Aiden O’Brien started against visitors Brentford at the New Den with O’Brien scoring the only goal after just eight minutes. Preston North End included Alan Browne and Sean Maguire in their starting eleven for their two nil Deepdale defeat by improving visitors Reading. Ryan Manning started for QPR who went down to a two one defeat by visitors Hull City at Loftus Road.

League One
There was a 1pm kick-off in League One for Southampton loanee Thomas O’Connor with his Gillingham scoring the only goal to defeat visitors Rochdale at Priestland. Kieran O’Hara started for Burton Albion who went down to a two nil defeat at Accrington Stanley while Alan Judge started for Ipswich Town who suffered a five three defeat at Lincoln City. Also on the road were Portsmouth and Ronan Curtis who went down to a three one defeat at MK Dons where Curtis scored the added time goal for ‘Pompey’.

Scottish Premiership
Jonny Hayes was unused on the Glasgow Celtic substitute bench as they went down to a two one Scottish Premiership defeat by bitter rivals Glasgow Rangers in the early kick-off at Celtic Park. While the days of Glenn Whelan at Heart of Midlothian appear to be numbered under the new manager he may well have company as Jake Mulraney, Aiden Keena, Aiden White and Colin Doyle were all absent from the matchday squad for the one all draw with visitors Aberdeen.