ROUND-UP: Africans in the Football League
The Championship returned to action this weekend following the international break and so did the goals, as Africans were involved in some high-scoring encounters.
Mohamed Diame set up Shaun Maloney’s 73-minute equaliser, playing the Scotsman clean through on goal, to earn Hull City a point away to lowly Bristol City. The Senegalese man ended the first half by firing his freekick narrowly over the Bristol goal. Ahmed Elmohamady had a quieter afternoon for the Tigers, while Sone Aluko, who replaced Moses Odubajo late on, missed two late chances with Elmohamady setting up his final effort. But none of Hull’s Africans could find the winning goal in their 1-1 draw at Ashton Gate.
Jacques Maghoma had an early effort saved for Birmingham City, as they hosted Charlton. Demarai Gray forced goalkeeper Stephen Henderson into a fine save just after half time, having been productive in attack during the first half. Viv Solomon-Otabor came on with under 20 minute remaining, to set up Gray, however, neither could get on the score sheet, as the substitute missed with a late added time effort. It was a much-needed point for the visitors, who lifted themselves out of the relegation zone with victory over Birmingham.
Kagisho Dikgacoi produced Cardiff City’s best chance of the first half away to Derby, while Sammy Ameobi came on with 30 minutes remaining, narrowly missing with a final-minute header in a 2-0 defeat at the iPro stadium.
Carl Ikeme maintained his place in goal for Wolverhampton Wanderers, as they visited Ipswich Town. The Nigerian tried a clever through ball midway through the second half, but the on-running Adam Le Fondre was offside. Wolves, who had started well, could have taken an early lead when defender Dominic Iorfa saw his effort blocked with a well-timed slide tackle by Town. However, 2-1 down with 15 minutes remaining, Benik Afobe rose well to head home the equaliser to earn Wolves a point at Portman Road.
Leeds introduced Tom Adeyemi and Jordan Botaka on 67 minutes, with both making an impact in their Yorkshire derby with Rotherham United. Adeyemi set up Botaka, who wastefully shot wide late on, with both providing some impetus. However, it was Joe Newell’s 54th-minute strike which meant the points would not be staying with Leeds at Elland Road.
Basement side Bolton Wanderers started brightly at Reading, however, they couldn’t find the net, when Shola Ameobi’s early header was saved by Ali Al Habsi early on, before the Nigerian headed against the bar in the second half. Their failure to capitalise on such chances ultimately succumbed them to a 2-1 defeat.
Hope Akpan’s shot was diverted into the net for an own goal by Preston goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, which set Blackburn Rovers on their way to a 2-1 away win in the Lancashire derby.
Over in League One, Kelvin Etuhu’s 20-yard strike was tipped onto the bar, having come on after 57 minutes, as Bury beat fellow promotion chasers Burton Albion 1-0 at home. Leicester loanee Joe Dodoo’s low cross looped inside the far post with the last touch coming off Bury teammate Jerome Binnom-Williams, to secure victory.
Swindon Town’s Adam El-Abd diverted the ball into his own net for Fleetwood’s opener in a 4-0 thrashing at Highbury Stadium. Tarique Fosu-Henry came to life in the second half for the Cod Army, seeing an attempt saved immediately after the break. The Ghanaian squandered two further chances before getting Fleetwood’s fourth in the 68th minute, as the Cod Army thrashed struggling Swindon Town 4-0 at home. Nigerian Nicky Ajose pulled a late consolation goal back for the visitors, however, it was too late as the damage was already done.
Wigan Athletic went 11 games unbeaten with victory over Shrewsbury Town, however, it wasn’t without the Shrews’ Sullay Kaikai trying. The Crystal Palace loanee squandered an early second half chance before his effort, with less than 20 minutes to go, was saved. However, the winger persisted in pursuit of a point, when his shot from outside the box missed to the right. But Wigan’s first half strike was enough to give the home side all three points.
Newcastle United loanee Gael Bigirimana was introduced in the second half for hosts Coventry City, before seeing a late shot saved as they defeated fellow promotion contenders Gillingham 4-1, moving top of League One.
Tosin Olufemi saw a first-half effort saved for Colchester, while Macauley Bonne missed a second-half effort, as Colchester United lost 3-1 away to Millwall.
Into League Two, Adebayo Azeez made the desired effect coming off the substitutes bench to score an added time equaliser for AFC Wimbledon at home to Wycombe Wanderers, finishing 1-1.
Adi Yussuf scored within two minutes of coming on to regain Mansfield Town’s lead over Hartlepool. The 23-year-old smashed the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-1, before assisting teammate Matt Green to make it 3-1 with nine minutes remaining. Hartlepool’s Kudus Oyenuga saw an attempt blocked after 15 minutes, before the home side took the lead.
John Akinde fired wide after 50 minutes from outside the box and Bondz N’Gala headed off target late on in a rare goalless draw across the Football League this weekend, as neither Barnet nor Morecambe could find the net in this encounter.
Zak Ansah saw two low shots saved either side of half time, as Newport County couldn’t find the winning goal in a 0-0 home draw with Yeovil Town. Francois Zoko had an audacious attempt from outside the box for the visitors, while he should have done better, heading over from very close range just before half time.
Armand Gnanduillet couldn’t inspire Stevenage to victory at home to Luton Town. The Ivorian squandered several chances, including an early shot from inside the box, in a goalless encounter in Hertfordshire.
AFS star man: Adi Yussuf