Northern Ireland goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell made his Premier League debut for Burnley at the weekend but unfortunately it ended in disappointment as the Clarets went down 5-0 to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
The 24-year-old, who was making only his third appearance for the Lancashire outfit since his move from Leeds United in August last year, was deputising for England goalkeeper Nick Pope who was suffering from a mild concussion.
Speaking to the Burnley website after the game manager Sean Dyche said: “It was a tough one for Bailey in goal today because the team weren’t operating well in front of him, so it’s tough with some of their finishing prowess.”
Another goalkeeper getting some unexpected game time over the weekend was Norwich City’s Michael McGovern. The Fermanagh net-minder, who had come on as a substitute for regular number one Tim Krul in midweek, was given his first league start since October 2019 as the Canaries were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Coventry City.
Elsewhere, Niall McGinn scored his first goal of the season as Aberdeen were dumped out of the Scottish League Cup after losing 2-1 at St Mirren, while midfielder Ben Reeves hit a spectacular volley as Plymouth Argyle progressed to the third round of the FA Cup with a 2-0 victory over Lincoln City.
Reeves, who won the last of his two Northern Ireland caps against Scotland five years ago, joined Argyle during the summer but has so far failed to nail down a regular starting place at Home Park.
“I have had to be patient for my chance,” admitted the 29-year old, who began his career at Southampton. “I have not had many.
“I felt like I have done quite well when I have played. It’s difficult to get a run going coming on off the bench for five or 10 minutes every other game.
“I have just got to keep training hard and hopefully I will get more chances.”
In the Premier League Jamal Lewis and Stuart Dallas again both played the full 90 minutes for Newcastle United and Leeds United respectively while in the Championship Gavin Whyte played the final 14 minutes of Cardiff City’s 4-0 success at home to Luton Town in what was only his second appearance of the season for the Bluebirds.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland players continue to make their mark with youth teams across the water. Former Portadown striker Harry Anderson scored twice on Saturday for Portsmouth under-18’s to take his tally for the campaign to an incredible 13 goals in just 11 games.
Winger Conor Falls, who joined Huddersfield Town from Glentoran on a two-year scholarship over the summer, also found the net at the weekend to make it seven goals in just six outings for the Terriers U18 side.
Sixteen-year-old striker Jamie Donley, who has represented Northern Ireland at under-16 level, scored on his debut for Spurs in their 1-1 draw with Leicester City in the U18 Premier League.
Finally, there were assists for Watford’s Craig Cathcart and Sunderland defender Tom Flanagan.