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Monday 19 Feb 2024
NI Player Watch | McFadden scores last gasp leveller

Northern Ireland defender Sarah McFadden scored a dramatic injury-time equaliser as Durham Women twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw at London City Lionesses at the weekend.

The 36-year-old scored her second goal of the campaign when she headed home a Beth Hepple corner in added time to secure her team their first point in three games in the FA Women's Championship.

Speaking to after the game, she said: “I am just really happy I could contribute. I have had a couple of good chances over the last couple of weeks and haven’t taken them.

“We have had a couple of poor results and performances as a team recently so to come and show that character to get a draw will help us for the rest of the season.”

Also getting her name on the scoresheet ahead of Northern Ireland’s crucial UEFA Women's Nations League play-off games against Montenegro was Hearts midfielder Megan Bell. She scored her first goal for the Edinburgh club, following her loan move from Rangers, in the 5-0 drubbing of Montrose, which moved Hearts into fourth spot in the SWPL table.

In the Women’s Super League in England, Simone Magill, who was making just her fifth start of the season, provided an assist for Aston Villa’s opening goal in their 2-1 victory away to Spurs.

Meanwhile, in EFL League One, in-form winger Paddy Lane scored his fourth goal in as many games as Portsmouth extended their lead at the top of the table to six points with a 4-1 home success over Reading.

Also among the goals was former Linfield striker Shayne Lavery who scored his first goal for Blackpool since November when he converted a second half penalty in his side’s 2-1 win at Peterborough United.

Elsewhere there was good news for international boss Michael O’Neill after 32-year-old Shane Ferguson made his first appearance of the season for Rotherham United.

After nine months out with a hernia issue, which required three separate operations, Ferguson came on as a 79th minute substitute as the Millers suffered a fourth straight defeat with a 1-0 loss at home to Watford.

“He’s been fantastic and is a great person,” said Rotherham boss Leam Richardson. “He works terrifically hard to get back up and running and it was great to see him on the pitch.

“He’s obviously been frustrated being out for so long, as players are. Once they get given back from the physios, they think they are going straight on the pitch."

“But we have got to be mindful that he’s been out for nine months,” added Richardson. “We don’t want to lose him again to something small when we have got so many games left.”

Defender Paddy McNair made his first start for Middlesbrough since early December in their shock 2-1 victory at Championship leaders Leicester City and Callum Marshall had another run-out for West Brom when he was used as a second half substitute in the Baggies' 2-0 home defeat to Southampton.

In the Premier League Jonny Evans replaced Harry Maguire at half-time as Manchester United continued their unbeaten start to 2024 with a hard fought 2-1 success at Luton Town.

After missing the last two Liverpool games due to the passing of his father, Conor Bradley returned to the Liverpool starting XI and produced yet another outstanding performance as the Reds stayed top of the table following their 4-1 victory at Brentford.

Finally, there were assists over the weekend for Cheltenham Town goalkeeper Luke Southwood and Inverness’ on-loan midfielder Sean McAllister.