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Monday 09 Aug 2021
NI Player Watch | Shayne Lavery scores on Blackpool debut

A debut goal in injury time from Northern Ireland striker Shayne Lavery earned Blackpool a point in their opening EFL Championship fixture at Bristol City at the weekend.

The former Linfield frontman got his Blackpool career off to an impressive start when he stabbed the ball home at the near post just 13 minutes after entering the fray as a substitute.

“Scoring that goal in front of the fans was a feeling I’ll never forget,” Lavery said. “For the fans we probably left it a bit late for their hearts but I felt I should have scored before that when I should have taken my shot earlier.”

To get off the mark on my debut is massive, it gives you great confidence

The 22-year-old, who bagged 30 goals for Linfield last term, could now be drafted into the starting line-up for the Tangerines' League Cup tie at home to Middlesbrough on Wednesday evening, however he admits he is quite content to bide his time.

“To get off the mark on my debut is massive, it gives you great confidence,” added Lavery. “Everyone wants to be playing games, but I’m happy to wait for my chance and hopefully I’ll get more minutes in the future.”

Also getting his name on the scoresheet on the opening day of the season was Josh Magennis who hit Hull City’s third in an emphatic 4-1 success at Preston North End for Grant McCann’s charges.

In Scotland, Hearts maintained their 100 per cent league record after Liam Boyce weighed in with an assist and fired home his fourth goal of the season as the Jam Tarts recorded a 2-1 victory at St Mirren.

Winger Niall McGinn made his first start of the campaign as Aberdeen also made it two out of two with an injury-time winner at Livingston, though there was disappointment for Steven Davis as Steven Gerrard’s Rangers’ outfit suffered their first league defeat in 18 months after going down 1-0 at Dundee United. 

Meanwhile, in League One, Corry Evans was handed the captain’s armband as he made his Sunderland debut and the Black Cats claimed all three points in a 2-1 victory over Wigan at the Stadium of Light.

Tom Flanagan and Carl Winchester were also in the Sunderland starting line-up, while the Latics' new signing Jordan Jones came off the bench to make his first appearance for the visitors.

Also making their debuts over the weekend were Millwall duo Daniel Ballard and George Saville, Paul Smyth (Leyton Orient), Shane Ferguson (Rotherham United), Alfie McCalmont (Morecambe) and Northern Ireland U21 international Lewis Thompson who started at left-back for Scunthorpe United.

Finally, after eight months out with a cruciate ligament injury, Demi Vance returned to action with Rangers Women, playing the final half-hour of the emphatic 8-0 win over Queen’s Park in the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup.

“It was good to get 30 minutes under my belt, but I’m exhausted!” Demi told Rangers TV, “Over the past eight months there were times I doubted I would ever get back on the pitch so this was a day I was looking forward to for a long time.”