It was a memorable weekend for Northern Ireland under-21 international Caolan Boyd-Munce who scored just fourteen minutes into his debut as Middlesbrough reached the fourth round of the FA Cup following a 3-2 success at Mansfield Town.
It was a perfect start for the 21-year-old from Belfast who only completed his move to the Riverside from Birmingham City on Friday.
“I haven't processed it yet. It was a dream,” Boyd-Munce told the Boro website. “When the ball hit the net and everyone was around me it was like 'wow it's happened.' It was brilliant. All the players were brilliant with me as well, helping me through it.
“I thought we controlled the game well at the start and then they came into a bit and it was just a case of weathering the storm.
“I hadn't played in a while so it was just getting the cobwebs off me and giving it my all. The FA Cup is magic and it was just great to be a part of it.”
Elsewhere in the competition, Conor Bradley started at right-back and provided an assist for Liverpool’s equalising goal from fellow teenager Kaide Gordon as the Premier League side eventually overcame League One outfit Shrewsbury Town 4-1 at Anfield.
“I just want to get on the ball and obviously help out with the defending, and try to create chances for my teammates,” Bradley told Liverpoolfc.com.
“Thankfully I did for Kaide today and thankfully he finished it. I was buzzing for him, I’m quite close for Kaide and to see him get a goal, his first goal, and for it to be at Anfield – I’m just buzzing for him.”
Goalkeeper Trevor Carson, who made the switch from Dundee United to Morecambe last week, was given an instant debut as the Shrimps, who also had Alfie McCalmont and Ryan McLaughlin in their starting eleven, travelled to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium for their glamour third round tie against Spurs.
The visitors took a dramatic lead just after the half-hour mark when Anthony O’Connor headed home a McCalmont corner, but the Premier League side struck three goals in the last quarter of the game to secure a 3-1 victory and a pace in round four.
Meanwhile, Corry Evans is being closely monitored after he lost consciousness in Sunderland’s 3-3 League One draw against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.
The 31-year-old was stretchered off ten minutes from the end of the contest at Adams Park, but Black Cats boss Lee Johnson revealed there was positive news about his condition.
“Corry is OK,” Johnson said. “He was knocked out, so we will have to see how we go now in terms of the concussion protocols.
“But there's no fractures or anything like that, which is good news. I haven't seen him yet, but those are the reports I’m getting back from the physios.”
Also in League One, midfielder Paddy Lane recorded an incredible eighth assist of the season as Fleetwood Town eased their relegation worries with a 1-0 win at basement side Doncaster Rovers.
Back on the goalscoring front, Rachel Furness hit a brace as Liverpool Women cruised to a 6-0 success at Blackburn Rovers to maintain their place at the top of the Women’s Championship.
Speaking to irishfa.com, Rachel said: "It was great to start the New Year with such a dominant performance from the team. Personally I had a tough time with Covid over Christmas so it was nice to get some minutes and to contribute with two goals."
Also on the scoresheet over the weekend was 17-year-old Darren Robinson who hit the winning goal for Derby County U18's in their 3-2 home success over their rivals Nottingham Forest.
Finally, a mention for striker Euan Williams who made his first-team debut for Charlton Athletic in their EFL Trophy game versus MK Dons last week.