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Monday 07 Aug 2023
Lavery gets off to a flyer

Striker Shayne Lavery got his season off to the perfect start by scoring both goals in Blackpool’s 2-0 home success over Burton Albion in League One at the weekend.

The 24-year-old struck twice inside the first 25 minutes, his second goal being a delightful chip over the advancing Burton goalkeeper.

Lavery said afterwards: “It’s always nice to start with a few goals, but more importantly to get the three points - we’re buzzing to get off the mark. 

“With the first I had a feeling the ball would come to me, and I just turned and shot. For the second, it was a long ball to the defender, and I thought I could nick it. 

“I saw the keeper come out and chipped him- it was the only option, it was instinct to do it. 

“When you’ve already got one you do feel more confident on the ball. I probably wouldn’t have tried it if I hadn’t got the first.” 

Also getting himself on the scoresheet on the opening weekend of the new campaign was former Coleraine midfielder Brad Lyons whose second half strike secured all three points for Kilmarnock in a memorable 1-0 success over Michael Beale’s Rangers at Rugby Park. 

“It’s a really good feeling to start the season off with three points,” Lyons told “You want to get off the mark as soon as possible and it makes it even better when you take points off either of the two Old Firm teams as you know they’re so tough to beat. 

“It was a brilliant team performance to get the three points and a clean sheet against Rangers. On a personal level it was an amazing feeling to get the winning goal to seal the win and hopefully it’s the first of many this season.” 

With an abundance of transfer activity over the summer there were quite a number of Northern Ireland players who were making their debuts for their new clubs. 

Goalkeeper Conor Hazard was part of the newly promoted Plymouth Argyle side that defeated Huddersfield Town 3-1 at Home Park, though it was not such an auspicious start for Paul Smyth as QPR fell to a 4-0 defeat in the Championship at Watford who were without the injured Jamal Lewis. 

In League One, Conor Washington was used from the bench as Derby County lost 2-1 at home to Wigan Athletic and on-loan striker Dale Taylor started Wycombe Wanderers' 3-0 home defeat to Exeter City.

There were also debuts for Gavin Whyte (Portsmouth), Ethan Galbraith (Leyton Orient) and under-18 international Phoenix Scholtz who came on as a late substitute for MK Dons who started the season in superb fashion, recording a 5-3 victory at Wrexham in League Two. 

In Scotland, Sam McClelland, who signed a two-year deal with St Johnstone last week, started their 2-0 home defeat to Hearts for whom Liam Boyce provided an assist for the Edinburgh outfit’s second goal.

Meanwhile, in Denmark Bailey Peacock-Farrell kept his first clean sheet of the season as AGF Aarhus defeated Hvidovre 2-0 and in Belgium Isaac Price again started for Standard Liege in their single goal defeat at home to Royale Union. 

Finally, it was not such a good opening weekend for 21-year-old Trai Hume or Sunderland, as the former Linfield defender was sent off for a second bookable offence in the Black Cats' 2-1 defeat at the Stadium of Light to Championship new boys Ipswich Town.