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Monday 11 Jan 2021
Kennedy on target for Dons, Ballard and Jonny Evans progress in FA Cup

Winger Matty Kennedy came off the bench to score his first goal of the season as 10-man Aberdeen went down 2-1  to runaway Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers at Pittodrie.

The 26-year-old (below), who made his full international debut for Northern Ireland in the home draw with Romania in November, was only on the pitch nine minutes before firing home what proved in the end to be a consolation goal for the home side midway through the second half. 

On the opposing team was Northern Ireland skipper Steven Davis, who turned 36 earlier this month. He was again a hugely influential figure for the Steven Gerrard’s men who now lead the table by a huge 22 points against their nearest challengers and rivals, Celtic. 

In the third round of the FA Cup, Arsenal loanee Daniel Ballard (below) starred as League One Blackpool caused an upset by defeating Premier League strugglers West Bromwich Albion on penalties at Bloomfield Park. 

Elsewhere, Jonny Evans was in the Leicester City team that progressed to the fourth round of the competition following a comfortable 4-0 win at Michael O’Neill’s Stoke City for whom Jordan Thompson played the final quarter of the game after coming on as a substitute. 

Another Premier League outfit Leeds United, who had rested Stuart Dallas, also departed the competition after being roundly beaten 3-0 at League Two Crawley Town for whom former Ards defender Josh Doherty came off the substitute’s bench in the dying moments of the game at The People’s Pension Stadium. 

It was quite a weekend for former Coleraine midfielder Brad Lyons, who made his Morecambe debut after playing the last quarter of an hour of the Shrimps 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge against a star-studded Chelsea. 

“It’s one of those experiences that’ll I’ll never forget,” said Lyons , who is on loan at the League Two side from Blackburn Rovers until the end of the season. “Not only did I make my debut for Morecambe which are such a great club, but I made my FA cup debut at Stamford Bridge!

“I got to test myself against one of the biggest teams in England. It was a great experience but hopefully now we can push on as a team and have a big second half to the season.”

'It’s one of those experiences that’ll I’ll never forget' - Brad Lyons

On the goalscoring front, midfielder Matty Lund, scored a brace of goals in Rochdale’s 3-3 draw at home to Crewe Alexandra in League One. 

The 30-year-old, who has won three full caps for Northern Ireland, has now scored nine goals for Dale this season. 

Finally, Sunderland have added to their Northern Ireland contingent at the Stadium of Light by snapping up midfielder Carl Winchester on a two-and-a-half-year contract from Forest Green Rovers. 

“I’m buzzing and delighted to get it sorted,” the 27-year-old told the Sunderland website. “It’s a massive club and once I had heard of their interest there was only one place that I wanted to come.

“It’s the right time for me in my career to progress. You can’t turn down a team like Sunderland.

“I’ll give my all for the team,” added Winchester whose only full Northern Ireland international cap came against Wales in 2011. “I'll try not to let the team down and I will wear my heart on my sleeve.

“Every player wants to play as high up as they can, but here you have everything already in place to make it happen and I’ll do my best to try and make it happen.”