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Monday 06 Mar 2023
NI Player Watch | Aaron Donnelly nets his first-ever senior goal

Teenager defender Aaron Donnelly netted his first senior goal as Port Vale secured a 1-0 home win over MK Dons in League One at the weekend.

The former Dungannon Swifts player, who is on loan at Vale Park from Nottingham Forest until the end of the season, admitted he was "buzzing" to have hit the only goal of the game which came midway through the first half. 

“I was absolutely buzzing when the ball hit the back of the net,” Donnelly told the club website. “It was bobbling around the box and Wozz (David Worrall) took a shot on goal and its landed to me. 

“It just fell to my right foot, it fell nice on the volley as well and, thankfully, it went in the bottom corner. The goalkeeper nearly got it, but I was wheeling away in celebration.

“There weren’t many chances in the game. We hit the post in the second half, but I thought we played very well."

He added: “We said after the game we needed to find a way to win, and we did that. We were building on the last two games, which were two excellent performances we got nothing out of, but today was a different game.

Elsewhere Alfie McCalmont made it two in three games as Carlisle United moved up into second place in League Two with a 2-0 home win over Grimsby Town. 

The 22-year-old, who joined the Cumbrian outfit on loan from Leeds United during the January transfer window, opened the scoring with a terrific curling effort nine minutes from the break to earn the praise of United boss Paul Simpson. 

“It’s a fantastic finish from Alfie to bend it in the way he did, so I’m really pleased with that, he said.

Former Northern Ireland under-21 international midfielder Cameron McGeehan, who is now plying his trade in the top flight in Belgium with KV Oostende, was also on the scoresheet as his side ended an 11-match winless run with an unexpected 3-0 victory over fourth-placed Club Bruges.

Meanwhile, in the Championship, Craig Cathcart (Watford), George Saville (Millwall), Shane Ferguson (Rotherham United), Trai Hume and Daniel Ballard (both Sunderland) all started for their respective clubs ahead of tomorrow’s international squad announcement by Michael O’Neill for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers this month.  

Goalkeeper Luke Southwood kept his 12th clean sheet of the season as Cheltenham Town defeated Fleetwood Town 1-0 at home while another goalkeeper, 17-year-old Pierce Charles, was an unused substitute for Sheffield Wednesday’s League One victory over Peterborough United at Hillsborough. 

In the FA Women’s Championship Ellie Mason scored her fifth goal of the campaign as Lewes ended a run of three consecutive defeats with a 2-0 victory over Sunderland.  

Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer Rachel Furness missed leaders Bristol City’s 3-0 success at Crystal Palace due to illness, however Sarah McFadden was in the Durham side that put five past bottom of the table Coventry United without reply.  

Finally, Ross McCausland was on target for the Rangers ‘B’ team for the eighth time this season as they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Cumbernauld Colts in the Lowland League.