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Monday 21 Jan 2019
BATW: Jonny Evans returns to action but injured Cathcart misses out

Jonny Evans returned to first-team duty after injury when he came on as a substitute early in the second-half of Leicester City’s dramatic 4-3 defeat to Wolves at Molineux. 

Absent from the Watford team on Saturday though was Craig Cathcart who missed the Hornets scoreless draw at home to Burnley with a knee injury. 

Meanwhile, in the Championship, winger Paul Smyth, who signed an extended contract with Queens Park Rangers last week, had his first league outing since August when came off the bench for the last five minutes of the Hoops 4-1 home defeat to Preston North End. 

Despite Leeds United signing Real Madrid goalkeeper Kiko Casilla on a four-and-a-half year deal, Bailey Peacock-Farrell retained his place in goal as Marcelo Bielsa’s side lost their third game in four outings following a 2-1 reverse at Stoke City.

In the fourth round of the Scottish Cup, Steven Davis was denied the opportunity of making his debut for Rangers after their Friday evening’s tie at Cowdenbeath was called off because of a frozen pitch. 

However, the Northern Ireland skipper did make his Gers bow in a 3-2 friendly win over Helsinki. Posting on Instagram after his first appearance back at Ibrox since his move from Southampton, Davis wrote: "Felt good to be back at Ibrox today and excited for the games to come."

Ex-Coleraine midfielder Brad Lyons made his debut for St.Mirren at the weekend but his joy was short-lived after he received a red card in the first-half of the Buddies’ eventually 3-2 victory over Championship outfit Alloa Athletic. 

The 21-year-old, who is on a six month loan from Blackburn Rovers, picked up his first yellow card for a robust tackle on 17 minutes and his second caution arrived shortly before the half-hour mark for an apparent dive.

After the final whistle an unhappy St Mirren boss Oran Kearney said: “I would even query the first yellow card, I thought it was 50/50 it looked like they both won the ball.

“The second yellow I have watched back, Brad is one on one with the centre-half - I spoke to him before the game and said if we get into one of those areas not to be passing and to run at people. 

“He’s done that and stepped pass the centre-half and you see it in the footage that the defender steps out into his way.

“There is big contact made between the two bodies – and I don’t know, I just don’t get why he was carded for that!”

There were assists for Jamal Lewis, Gavin Whyte and one-time Coleraine winger Stephen Dooley.

Elsewhere former Northern Ireland under-21 international Cameron McGeehan was among the goalscorers as Barnsley continued their push for automatic promotion with an emphatic 4-1 victory over bottom of the table AFC Wimbledon in League One on Saturday. 

It was the 24-year-old’s third goal of the campaign and despite the comprehensive scoreline he admitted that Wimbledon has not always been one of his favourite places to visit.

“Wimbledon is a tough place to go,” said McGeehan, who has also won caps at under-19 and 17 level for Northern Ireland, “I have struggled there before with Luton and Scunthorpe last season. 

“The crowd are right on top of you and you can hear every word that the spectators say. But we had great away support after a long trip.

“You've got to earn the right to play,” he added, “and I think we did that eventually. There was only one team in it in the second half and the scoreline reflected that.”

Also on target over the weekend was Lisburn-born Ben Kennedy whose 25thminute penalty set Stevenage on their way to a 2-1 victory at Morecambe to see them move into ninth place in the League Two table. 

That game also saw former Burnley trainee and under-21 defender Luke Conlan make his 100th appearance for Morecambe.