Starting in the Premier League, Burnley gained a good point on the road at Hull City, who are still in the relegation zone, but are revitalised under new boss Marco Silva. It was Michael Keane who went from zero to hero in the game, as he first conceded a penalty for handball midway through the second half, which Tom Huddlestone duly dispatched. The centre-back made amends though just four minutes later, firing in from close range after a corner dropped at his feet. Ashley Barnes was sent off deep into stoppage time for a second bookable offence but Sean Dyche will feel that it was a point gained, not two dropped, with it being just their second away from home this season, the other coming at Old Trafford.
In the Championship, Preston North End recorded their third home league win in succession, with Jordan Hugill bagging his 11th goal of the season in a 2-1 win. The Lilywhites fell behind in the first half to the resurging Hoops, through a cheeky backheeled Kazenga LuaLua strike. North End’s wing wizard Aiden McGeady equalised however on the stroke of half time, dispatching another fantastic effort from outside the area. Hugill netted the winner with around 20 minutes to go, following up his initially saved effort from close range by Alex Smithies. Victory sees Simon Grayson’s men move up to ninth in the table, just six points outside the play-off places.
Blackburn Rovers had to make do with a point on the road on Friday night, with new manager Tony Mowbray seeing his side draw 1-1 with Burton Albion. Brewers midfielder Matt Palmer inadvertently gave Rovers the lead after half an hour, flicking a corner into his own net, but a fantastic long range strike by Marvin Sordell in the second half earnt a share of the spoils for Albion.
Wigan Athletic fans saw their side limp to a second goalless draw at home in a row, this time against Nottingham Forest. After just one shot on target against Preston North End last week, the Latics couldn’t even muster up one this time around, all 11 of their efforts were recorded as off target. Warren Joyce’s outfit still sit in the relegation zone, along with Blackburn and Rotherham United.
The race for promotion is hotting up in League One, as first met third at Bramall Lane in Sheffield this past Saturday. Bolton Wanderers however were on the losing side of the encounter, as league leaders Sheffield United ran out comfortable 2-0 winners. There had been pre-match hostility all week as video footage emerged of Trotters striker Gary Madine using insulting language towards Blades top scorer Billy Sharp. It was Sharp who had the last laugh though, as he scored both goals to lengthen United’s lead at the top to seven points. Madine meanwhile was pulled from the squad, Bolton boss Phil Parkinson claiming ‘illness’ as the reason for his exclusion.
Leapfrogging Wanderers into third place is Fleetwood Town, who continued their fine league form with a 3-0 win over Northampton Town, extending their unbeaten run to 17 games. Devante Cole broke the deadlock just before half time, and further goals in the second half from Bobby Grant and David Ball, who netted with a delightful dink over Cobblers goalkeeper Adam Smith, saw the Cod Army go level on points with second place Scunthorpe United.
Morecambe have continued their great run in League Two in 2017, racking up yet another win, this time a 1-0 victory against Grimsby Town at the Globe Arena. Lee Molyneux netted the only goal of the game after just two minutes, smashing in Michael Rose’s corner from the edge of the box. It moves the Shrimps to within 5 points of the play-off spots, with them having a game in hand on the majority of their rivals.
Staying below Jim Bentley’s men in the table are Blackpool, who surrendered a two goal lead for the second week in succession, this time away to Exeter City. Colin Daniel and Brad Potts put the Seasiders two goals to the good in the first half, but Ollie Watkins halved the deficit for the Grecians five minutes into added time in the first half. Gary Bowyer’s side held on until the 90th minute, when Reuben Reid nodded the ball home to make it 2-2.
Finally, Accrington Stanley slipped down to 20th in the table, albeit after a fantastic result away to the league leaders Doncaster Rovers. Shay McCartan gave Stanley the lead after four minutes after a wonderfully executed solo goal, but Donny’s class showed as they turned the game around, through Tommy Rowe after 20 minutes, and on 58 minutes John Marquis put them ahead from close range. Accy weathered the storm though, and were rewarded with an 81st minute leveller from Hull City loanee Jonathan Edwards, who turned the ball in from just a few yards out.