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Monday 04 Dec 2023
NI Player Watch | Smyth on target for QPR

Northern Ireland winger Paul Smyth scored his first goal since his return to Queens Park Rangers in the summer as the Championship side recorded back-to-back wins following Friday night’s 2-0 success at Preston North End.

After a scoreless first half the 26-year-old opened the scoring for the visitors ten minutes after the break to chalk up his first goal for the club since April 2018.

“The game was tough in the first half,” the former Linfield player told the club website. “It was tough for us to get out as a team but second half we pushed higher up the pitch.

“The manager told me at half-time to get in at the back post more often, which I did, and I had a tap-in to score my first goal since coming back to the club so I’m absolutely buzzing!”

Also getting their name on the scoresheet over the weekend was Portsmouth’s Paddy Lane who grabbed a brace in the South Coast club’s 3-0 victory at Northampton Town, a result which put them back on top of the League One table.

Speaking to the Pompey website, he said: “I was disappointed with my last start. I’m my own harshest critic and know I wasn’t good enough against Blackpool.

“But the gaffer put his trust in me again – albeit in a different position on the left – and I’m buzzing that we’ve got the win.

“If we’re ruthless enough, then we know we can beat anyone in this league,” he added. “And I thought we could have scored even more today.”

In the second round of the FA Cup, former under-21 international Jamie Reid scored his 16th goal in all competitions this season as Stevenage were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Port Vale.

Elsewhere in the competition, goalkeeper Stephen McMullan and Carl Johnston both started Fleetwood Town’s 4-0 defeat to fellow League One side Cambridge United, while Jordan Jones and Josh Magennis both played in Wigan Athletic’s narrow 1-0 win at York City to set up a glamour third round tie at home to Manchester United.

In the Championship Trai Hume and Daniel Ballard both played the full 90 minutes as Sunderland made it three games without a win following their 1-1 draw at Millwall who had George Saville in their line-up.

“Obviously, the last two results [prior to Millwall] didn’t go our way and we weren’t happy about it,” said Hume. “So to get a point on Saturday is not bad, we obviously want all three but I think you could see today we were aggressive, we worked hard and battled for it.”

Meanwhile in the Scottish Premiership Ross McCausland was back in the Rangers team and duly ended up with the man-of-the-match award in the 2-0 victory over Stephen Robinson’s St Mirren who had Caolan Boyd-Munce and Conor McMenamin in their starting line-up. 

Goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell who had missed AGF Aarhus, last two games with a knee injury returned to the squad and was an unused substitute in their 2-1 victory at FC Copenhagen.

In the U21 Premier League, West Ham United’s Callum Marshall took his goal tally for the season to 20 in just 14 games when he scored in twice in the young Hammer’s 3-1 defeat of Nottingham Forest. The other United goal was scored by former Coleraine midfielder Patrick Kelly.

Finally, there were assists over the course of the weekend for Watford full-back Jamal Lewis, Aaron Donnelly at Dundee and teenage winger Liam McStravick now at Airdrieonians.