ROUND-UP: Africans in the Football League
Adebayo Akinfenwa stood out this weekend, while Dominic Iorfa made his mark in the Championship and Souleymane Coulibaly continued his recent impressive form in League One.
Although many squandered early opportunities, and few goals were scored by Africans this weekend, there were a number of key performers for their respective sides this weekend.
Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe was the only goalscorer for Rotherham in their much-needed home victory over Cardiff, as the Ghanaian converted from the spot two minutes before the break, before Cardiff got a penalty of their own on the stroke of half time. Kagisho Dikgacoi set up Sammy Ameobi to give the Blue Birds the lead moments after their equaliser, but couldn’t find the net. 26-year-old Odjidja-Ofoe looked a threat all game, creating chances for his teammates but couldn’t convert from open play. However, as the game looked set to end 1-1, a late blunder from Cardiff veteran Peter Whittingham gave the Millers a 2-1 victory.
Huddersfield were helped on their way to a stunning 4-1 win at home to Bolton Wanderers thanks to Mustapha Carayol, who netted the Terriers’ second goal, with his first effort on target five minutes after the break to give the home side the lead for the first time in the match. The Gambian also set up Huddersfield’s third, while Derik Osede was sent off for Bolton.
It took less than a minute for Middlesbrough to test Nottingham Forest in Saturday’s lunch time kick off as Albert Adomah saw his shot blocked, but it took no time at all for the visitor’s to take the lead before Forest levelled on six minutes. Mid way through the half Forest ‘keeper Dorus de Vries denied Adomah, before Boro took the lead, while the Ghanaian had a header saved in the second half, as Boro went on to win 2-1.
Larsen Toure created numerous chances for himself and Ipswich either side of the break as the Tractor Boys drew 1-1 with Birmingham. Jacques Maghoma came on to great effect for Birmingham and deep into added time saw his shot blocked, which could have stolen the points for the Blues.
You would have been forgiven if you thought it just wasn’t meant to be Bengali-Fode Koita‘s day, when his first shot was saved, dragged another wide and headed over all in the first half as his Charlton side lost 3-0 away to Blackburn Rovers, who took the lead on the stroke of half time.
Carl Ikeme once again was left on the bench for Wolverhampton Wanderers in their goalless draw with Brighton, while teammate Benik Afobe had a quiet game by his standards, dragging a late shot on goal wide. Gaetan Bong missed with an audacious 35-yard effort for visitors Brighton, who sit top of the Championship. But the African of the match was Dominic Iorfa of Wolves, who made the Championship Team of the Week.
Hull City’s 1-1 draw at home to Queens Park Rangers started brightly, as Sone Aluko tested Robert Green inside a minute. Mohamed Diame, on the other hand, had a quiet afternoon, as his long-range attempt on the 20 minute mark was his only real talking point.
Reading’s Michael Hector denied Jonathan Kodjia a great goalscoring opportunity, as the Ivorian looked to score on two consecutive weekends, after his double away to Birmingham last weekend. But once again Kodjia was on the wrong end of the result, as Reading left Bristol City with a 2-0 win and three points.
Into League One and while there were no African goal scorers in the third tier of English football, there were two Africans in particular who were thriving on confidence from their recent displays.
Uche Ikpeazu will surely be making parent club Watford sit up and take notice of what their forward is capable of this season, with another good display for Port Vale in their 1-0 loss away to Bury. The Nigerian attempted a shot from a difficult angle, but unfortunately saw the effort saved that would have earned his side a point.
Peterborough were going into their game against high-flying Walsall with confidence, after winning 5-1 last weekend and no one looked more up for this than Souleymane Coulibaly. The former Tottenham man missed two good chances either side of half time but was a real threat to the Walsall defence, as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Another former Tottenham man, Jonathan Obika, came on to good use for Swindon but couldn’t find the net after replacing the less effective, Nicky Ajose after 56 minutes. And the rest of the Robins alike were clearly not effective, as they lost 1-0 at home to Burton, who now top League One.
In League Two we found this week’s main man, Adebayo Akinfenwa. Notts County were the visitors to Wimbledon on Saturday, and took the lead after 16 minutes, in between Akinfenwa’s two headers which were both denied by Roy Carroll in the County goal. Akinfenwa continued to harass County in the second half, seeing a header this time go over. As the clock ran down, it looked like the home side were facing defeat until an 85th mintue goal put Wimbledon level before Adebayo Azeez, who had an effort denied by Carroll also, set up Akinfenwa to win the match in the final minute with nothing less than a header to make it 2-1 to the Dons.
Hiram Boateng, like Akinfenwa, made the League Two Team of the Week as his Plymouth side drew 1-1 at home to Bristol Rovers. The Ghanaian saw his shot from outside the box go wide early on, before testing his luck from range but failed to test the Rovers keeper. But Boateng, who was in good form on Saturday, was determined to try his luck from distance again, but couldn’t find the net.
Stevenage could have salvaged a point away to Barnet in a five-goal thriller when Dipo Akinyemi came on with 20 minutes remaining, only to see himself drag his shot wide in added time, with Barnet winning 3-2 at home as they look to claw themselves away from the relegation zone.
Finally, Jabo Ibehre missed a header in the final seconds of Carlisle’s 2-2 draw at York City, that could have won the visitors the match, having been quiet for most of the game.