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Monday 02 Oct 2023
NI Player Watch | Ballard nets for Sunderland

Northern Ireland defender Daniel Ballard headed home his second goal of the season as Sunderland made it four wins from five outings following their 3-0 success at Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend.  

It took the 24-year-old just five minutes to open the scoring for the visitors and he was delighted the team returned to winning ways following their single-goal defeat at home to Cardiff City last week. 

It was a good evening and a good win.” he told the club website.“ I thought we were pretty convincing from the start. I thought everyone was magnificent and really applied themselves. 

“Last weekend was really disappointing, that was a game we wanted to win in front of the home fans, we were hurting from that so hopefully this makes up for it.” 

Also getting their names on the scoresheet were Dion Charles whose superb individual goal in the 1-0 victory at Port Vale took his tally for the season to seven while Portsmouth’s Paddy Lane scored for the third game running in a 2-1 win at Wigan Athletic to maintain their one point lead at the top of League One.  

There were goals too for Colchester United midfielder Cameron McGeehan, who also picked up a red card in the thrilling 5-4 win over Notts County and Brad Lyons, who scored his third of the season in Kilmarnock’s 1-1 draw at home to St Mirren in the Scottish Premiership. 

In the opening weekend of the Women’s Super League in England, Simone Magill was an unused substitute as Aston Villa fell to a 2-1 injury time defeat at home to Manchester United and Rachel Furness was in the Bristol City team which suffered a 4-2 home loss to Leicester City. 

Meanwhile in the Women’s Championship, Northern Ireland internationals Laura Rafferty and Ellie Mason came face to face as second-placed Southampton entertained a winless Birmingham City outfit at AFC Totton. 

It was the visitors that came out on top though as the Blues recorded their first win in five matches following a 3-1 success on the South Coast. 

Speaking to Ellie said: “We’ve had quite a tough start to the season so to get our first win and three points of the campaign is amazing. 

We looked at the Saints, we knew that they were going to sit off us for the first half and come out and attack us in the second half, but we were spot on in our defending, backed each other, and thankfully came away with the three points. 

Today’s win was massive for us,” added Ellie, who has won two full international caps. “We’ve now got the momentum and we’re going to take that forward and hopefully get a few more wins under our belt.”

Finally, but perhaps not surprisingly, the prolific Callum Marshall was on target at the weekend taking his total of goals for the season to 12 in just 9 games as West Ham United’s U21 side drew 2-2 at Manchester City in the U21 Premier League on Saturday.