ROUND-UP: Africans in the Football League
Africans were influential across the Football League this weekend, scoring goals and making vital saves for their respective sides.
It’s fair to say that with the international break disrupting the Football League recently and Leagues One and Two involved in the FA Cup, it has been relatively quiet where Africans have been concerned. But that was not the case this weekend, as normal service resumed.
It was a frustrating evening for Mohamed Diame and Sone Aluko on Friday night, as both struggled in front of goal, while high-flying visitors Derby County won 2-0, with Moses Odubajo unable to help stop Jacob Butterfield’s two strikes.
Carl Ikeme ensured Wolverhampton Wanderers took a point from MK Dons, tipping a spectacular 25-yard drive around the post in added time, in a fine personal display. Sheyi Ojo came on the second half, seeing an effort saved, while Benik Afobe squandered numerous good chances to score against his former club for Wolves, as the game ended goalless.
Hope Akpan got off to a fast start, giving Blackburn Rovers the lead after four minutes, heading in from a corner and missing an early second half chance to make it 3-1 after Modou Sougou equalised for visiting Sheffield Wednesday. A late first-half strike from Rovers again gave them the lead, before Wednesday stole a late point, with an 84th-minute strike to make it 2-2.
Jacques Maghoma had a shot unconvincingly saved by Brighton goalkeeper David Stockdale, before Miquel Toral converted the rebound to make it 1-1 for Birmingham at unbeaten Brighton. Demarai Gray had a shot saved in the second half, looking to get themselves level after Brighton retook the lead. The Nigerian was replaced by Viv Solomon-Otabor late on, as the Seagulls continued their unbeaten run, with a 2-1 win.
Huddersfield were unable to field Middlesbrough loanee Mustapha Carayol against his parent club, as they fell to a 2-0 home defeat. Emilio Nsue struck late on to double Boro’s lead, and his first for the club.
Jonathan Kodjia conceded a penalty in the first half to give Rotherham a 2-0 home lead over fellow strugglers Bristol City. He was subsequently booked and later substituted in the second half due to injury, as the home side ran out 3-0 winners.
Nottingham Forest’s Michael Mancienne made his return from injury in their 3-1 home win over Reading.
Nedum Onuoha had a late chance in the first half to give Queens Park Rangers the lead against Leeds United.
In League One, Nigerian duo Nicky Ajose and Jonathan Obika were key to Swindon Town’s 4-0 victory at Chesterfield this weekend. Ajose opened the scoring after two minutes, while Obika netted early in the second half, having seen several other chances saved, before Ajose netted again to make it 4-0 with 10 minutes remaining.
Deji Oshilaja gave Shrewsbury Town a helping hand as he headed into his own net to give the Shrews the lead, as Gillingham held on with the home side’s 70th-minute strike earning them a point.
Tarique Fosu-Henry had some good chances for Fleetwood Town as they headed to Blackpool in their derby fixture. However, Bright Osayi-Samuel’s Blackpool ran out 1-0 winners, thanks to an own goal after 17 minutes.
Fred Onyedinma set up Shaun Williams for the only goal of the game as Millwall beat Bury 1-0.
Into League Two, John Akinde was introduced in the second half for Barnet, before winning a penalty which he subsequently converted, but that didn’t stop Mansfield winning 3-1 on the road.
Jabo Ibehre was denied in the first half before bagging Carlisle’s third and final goal early in the second half in a 3-1 win against Crawley Town, later being replaced by Derek Asamoah after 64 minutes.
Hartlepool’s Kudus Oyenuga missed a late chance for the home side, after coming on with 16 minutes remaining, as Oxford’s goal 20 minutes from time was enough to earn them a victory and send them top of League Two.
After a quiet first half for Adebayo Akinfenwa, he came to life in the second half when Adebayo Azeez’s cross was met by the striker and his headed goal earned AFC Wimbledon a late point against 10-man Leyton Orient. Azeez tried to get on the scoresheet with a header himself, with four minutes to go, before seeing an added-time effort saved, denying Wimbledon the three points.