Sign up to the Irish FA Newsletter today

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news from the Irish FA including ticket updates, match information, competitions, articles and much more.
Thank you

Monday 25 Feb 2019
Boys Across the Water: Jonny Evans and Kyle Lafferty find the net for clubs

Defender Jonny Evans scored his first Leicester City goal in his 250th Premier League appearance at the weekend however it was not enough to prevent the Foxes falling to a 4-1 home defeat against a rejuvenated Crystal Palace. 

It was the Foxes' sixth loss in their last seven outings which led to head coach Calude Puel being relieved of his duties at the King Power Stadium. 

Former Manchester United player Evans still believes the team have been playing well, despite recent poor results. 

“I think we have made a bit of a turn,” Evans told the Leicester Mercury prior to Puel’s dismissal. “I think the fans would be more upset if you could see we were not playing well and the team looks down on confidence.

“It is difficult when you look at the league table, the closeness to the end of the season, but we feel confident we can turn those performances into wins. We all really believe that.

“Everyone is trying to remain positive and we are confident we can turn the results around,” he added. “We have a lot of young players and we want them to go and express themselves.

“We are just not getting the rub of the green at the minute.”

Meanwhile, in Scotland, Kyle Lafferty scored his first league goal for Rangers since September as Steven Gerard’s charges maintained their title challenge with a thumping 5-0 victory at Hamilton Academical yesterday. 

The Fermanagh-born striker was thrown into the action, along with international skipper Steven Davis, just after the hour mark and he admitted guiding home Rangers fifth goal of the afternoon was a huge relief. 

“I think everyone could see in the lead up to the goal I was desperate to get one,” Lafferty said.  “I’ve had a fair few blocked or cleared off the line in the past few months to be fair. 

“I was delighted at the end. It’s been a frustrating few months to be honest, but hopefully I can build on the goal. Hopefully this will get me going again. 

“The manager has been good. It’s always difficult when the striker is maybe not scoring goals, but he kept giving me chances. 

“He gave me another chance today and I got the goal so hopefully I can reward him.” 

Other Northern Ireland players on the scoresheet over the weekend included Ross County’s Billy McKay who netted his 17th of the season from the penalty spot in a 4-2 win at bottom of the table Partick Thistle.

Former under-21 international Caolan Lavery was also on target as Bury defeated Paul Scholes’ Oldham Athletic 3-1 in the Lancashire derby at Gigg Lane.

Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill will have been delighted to see winger Stuart Dallas return to action for Leeds United following his recent ankle injury. Dallas was used for the final nine minutes of United’s 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers, for whom Josh Magennis played the full game. 

Elsewhere in the Championship, left-back Jamal Lewis was impressive as Norwich City stayed top with a 3-2 home success over Bristol City. Ollie Norwood’s Sheffield United remain second after their narrow 1-0 win at fellow promotion hopefuls West Brom.

Ex-under-21 captain Liam Donnelly made his first appearance for Motherwell since early December when he came on as a late substitute in the 4-1 reverse at Celtic at Parkhead. 

Finally, Will Grigg provided an assist for Sunderland’s opening goal in the Black Cats' 2-0 victory at Bristol Rovers to stay in third spot in League One just two points adrift of the automatic promotion places.