Liam Boyce registered his ninth goal of the season as Burton Albion defeated Shrewsbury Town 2-1 in their League One encounter at the Pirelli Stadium at the weekend.
The former Cliftonville forward, who was restored to his favourite striking role by Brewers’ boss Nigel Clough, struck after just three minutes when the visiting goalkeeper’s attempted clearance rebounded off Boyce into an empty the net.
It was the 27-year-old’s first league goal since 2 October and it was thoroughly deserved, according to Clough.
“He battled all game” said the Burton boss. “I made the decision to put him back up top which meant that I left Devante Cole out.
“He held the ball up for us and won headers, he’s not quite back to 100% but he is getting there and he got kicked from pillar to post today.”
“You get a start like that after a few minutes and it gives everybody a lift,” he added, “There’s an element of luck to it, but you deserve that, if you go and close a goalkeeper down with the genuine intent that you’re going to get the ball or get a block in.”
The only other Northern Ireland player to get his name on the scoresheet over the weekend was Falkirk midfielder Paul Paton who notched his second of the campaign in The Bairns’ 2-2 draw at home to Alloa Athletic in the Scottish Championship.
Meanwhile, in the Championship in England, 20-year-old Jamal Lewis again starred for Norwich City who maintained their one point lead at the top of the table following an injury-time winner at home to Bolton Wanderers.
However, goalkeeper Michael McGovern was an unused substitute for the 20th time this term for Daniel Farke’s side.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell was between the sticks for second-placed Leeds United in their 2-1 home success against Queens Park Rangers, missing though was Stuart Dallas who is sidelined for up to six weeks with a broken foot.
Striker Conor Washington, who was making just his third start for Sheffield United on Saturday, was denied a first goal for the Blades after his 12th minute header was ruled offside versus Reading.
With Ollie Norwood pulling the strings in midfield, Chris Wilder’s side went on to win the game with two late goals to stay in third spot in the table.
Meanwhile in League One, Jordan Thompson was an influential figure in Blackpool’s 2-1 home victory over Charlton Athletic who were missing winger Jamie Ward through injury.
Also in the division former Crusaders winger Gavin Whyte earned Oxford United an 88th minute penalty as they clinched a point against play-off hopefuls Peterborough United at London Road.
Finally in Scotland, Kyle Lafferty had what seemed to be a perfectly good ‘goal’ disallowed in Rangers 1-1 draw against 10-man Dundee to stretch the Fermanagh-born striker’s barren run for Steven Gerrard’s side to nine games.