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Monday 28 Aug 2023
NI Player Watch | Dion Charles nets leveller for Bolton

Northern Ireland striker Dion Charles scored his third goal of the season as his second-half equaliser earned Bolton Wanderers a point in their EFL League One encounter at Burton Albion at the weekend.

After missing last week’s heavy home defeat to Wigan Athletic because of suspension the 27-year-old returned to the Trotters’ starting line-up to score a 58th-minute leveller keeping the Lancashire outfit in third place in the table.

With Michael O’Neill announcing his international squad this week, a number of players managed to get vital minutes under their belts especially in the EFL Championship where Shea Charles (Southampton), Daniel BallardTrai Hume (both Sunderland), Conor Hazard (Plymouth Argyle), George Saville (Millwall), Jordan Thompson (Stoke City) and Paul Smyth (QPR) all started for their respective clubs.

However in League One striker Shayne Lavery (pictured, below) was forced off midway through the first half of Blackpool’s 3-0 loss at Lincoln City after picking up a hamstring injury.

“It was early on,” said Blackpool boss Neil Critchley. “He chased the ball and his hamstring felt tight. Obviously you don’t want to take him off but you don’t want to risk him either.”

In Scotland teenage defender Brodie Spencer celebrated making his debut for Motherwell by setting up their opening goal in the 2-1 victory at home to a Kilmarnock side which included Brad Lyons, Matty Kennedy and Kyle Vassell in their team.

Going out there and getting an assist on my debut, hopefully that shows the manager that I am ready to play week in, week out

Spencer, who joined ‘Well on a season-long loan from Huddersfield Town last week, admitted after the game he is a huge fan of Scottish football and was excited to be linking up with Stuart Kettlewell’s side for the forthcoming campaign.

“I love Scottish football,” declared Spencer. “I'm from Belfast and Scottish football is so big there. I've grown up watching it and as soon as I heard a big club like Motherwell were interested, it was a no-brainer for me to come here.

“The pace of the game was still a bit of a shock. The first 15 minutes I was absolutely blown out, but I was happy just to work my way into the game after that.

“Going out there and getting an assist on my debut, hopefully that shows the manager that I am ready to play week in, week out.”

Also on the scoresheet over the Bank Holiday weekend was Larne striker Lee Bonis, who scored in the 1-1 draw with Jim Magilton’s Cliftonville, firing home his fifth goal of the campaign after his initial spot-kick had been saved by Reds’ keeper Nathan Gartside.

Elsewhere Northern Ireland U19 international Stephen McMullan came off the bench to make his League One debut for Fleetwood Town following the dismissal of their keeper Jay Lynch a minute before the interval. 

Finally, 18-year-old striker Callum Marshall has carried on his scintillating goalscoring form from last season after he hit a stunning hat-trick for West Ham United who defeated Leeds United 5-2 in their U21 Premier League encounter on Friday evening.