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Monday 30 Jan 2023
NI Player Watch | Taylor nets on Burton debut

Northern Ireland striker Dale Taylor made a dream start to his loan spell at Burton Albion by scoring on his debut in the Brewers' 2-0 home win over Oxford United at the weekend.  

The Belfast teenager, who is on loan at the Pirelli Stadium from Nottingham Forest until the end of the season, scored his first goal for the club when his audacious backheel flick put the home side two up inside the opening four minutes of the second half.

“Obviously scoring on my debut is a dream come true and the fans were amazing all day. The home support was excellent and hopefully we can do it again," Taylor told the club's website after the game.

“It doesn’t come much better than that - to be honest I’ve just seen the ball come in and thought I could get a wee backheel on to it and luckily I flicked it into the net."

“I’m here to score goals,” he added. “We need to score goals to start climbing the table as that’s how you win games, so hopefully I can do that throughout my time here.” 

Taylor’s Nottingham Forest teammate Aaron Donnelly also made his debut in League One as Port Vale secured a point in a scoreless draw away to Cheltenham Town.

Like Taylor, the 19 year-old has been loaned until the end of the current campaign and he was delighted to make his first start since his move from the City Ground.

“I was absolutely buzzing to get the shout and start my first league game,” Donnelly told BBC Radio Stoke. “Cros (Andy Crosby) and the gaffer told me to play my own game, build my way into the game and that is what I just tried to do."

“I knew Cros from before through the Northern Ireland (U21) set-up and that played a key factor in me joining the club,” he added. “The way we played at Northern Ireland is the same way Port Vale play here and I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with Cros.”

Other Northern Ireland players to get their names on the scoresheet over the weekend included U21 international JJ McKiernan, who scored his third of the season for Eastleigh in the National League, Jamie Reid (Stevenage), Matty Lund (Salford City) and former international striker Billy McKay (Inverness Caledonian Thistle).

In the FA Cup Bailey Peacock-Farrell kept a clean sheet in Burnley’s goalless draw at Ipswich Town, while Sunderland duo Daniel Ballard and Trai Hume also face the prospect of a replay following their excellent 1-1 draw at Premier League outfit Fulham. 

Elsewhere in the competition Jordan Thompson was part of the Stoke City team which progressed to the fifth round following their 3-1 victory over League Two Stevenage, although Ali McCann’s Preston North End fell to a 3-0 home defeat to Spurs.

In the Scottish Premiership Jordan Jones and Kyle Vassell both started Kilmarnock’s 3-0 defeat at Ross County, while Liam Donnelly and Kyle Lafferty were used from the bench. Goalkeeper Trevor Carson kept his eighth clean sheet of the season as St Mirren recorded a 1-0 home win over Motherwell.

It was the fourth round of the Women’s FA Cup over the weekend and Sarah McFadden's Durham side will be in the draw for the next round after their 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace, as will the Reading duo of Jackie Burns and Lauren Wade who disposed of Leicester City 3-2 on penalties.

Finally, Northern Ireland U19 striker Reece Evans was on target twice in Leicester City’s 4-2 win over Norwich City in the U18 Premier League.