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Monday 20 Feb 2023
NI Player Watch: Alfie McCalmont scores on first start

Northern Ireland midfielder Alfie McCalmont scored his first goal on his first start for Carlisle United as the League Two side maintained their push for automatic promotion with a home win over Colchester United.

In the fourth minute of Saturday's match the 22-year-old Leeds United loanee calmly scored the only goal of the game, helping secure all three points.

Praising McCalmont, United boss Paul Simpson said: “He’s waited patiently for his chance. He has been chomping at the bit and now he’s got it, scored a goal, and he’s going to make it really difficult for me to leave him out.”

In the Championship Trai Hume and Daniel Ballard both played the full 90 minutes of Sunderland’s draw at home to Bristol City, while George Saville also played a full game as Millwall defeated Sheffield United 3-2 at the New Den.

Ali McCann looks set for a long spell on the sidelines after he picked up a thigh strain in the scoreless draw at Luton Town a week ago. Preston North End boss Ryan Lowe told local media the 23-year-old midfielder faces eight to 10 weeks out.

Meanwhile, in League One, Nottingham Forest loanee Aaron Donnelly continues to impress after starting his fifth straight game in defence for Port Vale who ended their seven-game winless streak with a single goal victory at home to Exeter City.

Another of Forest’s talented youngsters also benefitting from first team football is Dale Taylor who provided the assist for Burton Albion’s opening goal in their 2-1 away success at Bristol Rovers.

Elsewhere midfielder Ethan Galbraith popped up with an assist at the weekend as Salford City lost 2-1 at home to Swindon Town in League Two. And, after an injury lay-off, there was a return to action for striker Paul Smyth who came on as a sub for leaders Leyton Orient in their 1-0 win over Crawley Town.

In the Scottish Premiership goalkeeper Trevor Carson kept a ninth clean sheet of the season in St Mirren’s 1-0 win at home to Ross County. And Kilmarnock striker Kyle Vassell was red-carded in Kilmarnock’s loss at Hibs.

Finally, in the U18 Premier League in England, there were goals for Cormac Austin (Crystal Palace), Reece Evans (Leicester City), Ruairi McConville (Brighton & Hove Albion) and West Ham United’s Callum Marshall whose strike for the Hammers in their 6-0 victory over Norwich City was his 15th of the season.