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Monday 18 Mar 2024
Ciaron Brown scores fifth goal of the season for Oxford United | NIPW

Defender Ciaron Brown scored his fifth goal of the season as Oxford United remained in the League One play-off places with a 2-0 win at struggling Port Vale at the weekend.

The 26-year-old set the visitors up to record their first league win away from home since January when he fired home on the edge of the six-yard box following a corner from Cameron Brannagan.

Other Northern Ireland players to get their names on the scoresheet over the weekend were Colchester United’s Cameron McGeehan, Dumbarton’s on-loan defender Gallagher Lennon and former Linfield winger Liam McStravick who found the net in Airdrie’s emphatic 5-2 home success over Arbroath.

Elsewhere, Kilmarnock came from 2-0 down at half-time to claim a 5-2 Scottish Premiership victory over Stephen Robinson’s St Mirren at Rugby Park with Northern Ireland striker Kyle Vassell scoring twice to take his tally for the season to nine.

In the Championship in England, Ali McCann, Paddy McNair, George Saville and Trai Hume all played the full 90 minutes for their respective clubs ahead of the friendly internationals against Romania and Scotland though left back Jamal Lewis missed Watford’s 1-0 win at Birmingham City due to a foot injury.

Influential defender Daniel Ballard returned from a hamstring injury to help Sunderland end a run of six straight defeats by picking up a point in their goalless draw at home to QPR for whom Paul Smyth came on as a late substitute.

After breaking his nose a fortnight ago, goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell played in a protective mask and kept a 10th clean sheet of the season in Aarhus’ 1-0 win over Hvidovre.

Also managing clean sheets over the weekend were Cheltenham shot-stopper Luke Southwood and Montrose Women’s keeper Lauren Perry.

In the FA Cup, Liverpool’s Conor Bradley came on as a substitute in the thrilling 4-3 quarter-final defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, though he did chalk up his seventh assist of the campaign when he set up the visitors' third goal for Harvey Elliott in extra time.  

Meanwhile, Portsmouth remained on track to lift the League One title after defeating Peterborough United by a single goal at London Road thanks to an assist from substitute Gavin Whyte who was making just his fourth appearance of 2024 for the South Coast outfit.

“I probably haven’t played as many matches as I would have liked,” the former Crusaders man told the Portsmouth News. “But it’s a team game, we are all going for the same goal. 

“‘I felt like I did well - and also the other night when I came on - and I’m just trying to do the best I can for the team.

“My time here hasn’t been what I would have hoped or what I would have liked,” he added. “But I’ve just got to keep working hard in training and to take my chance when hopefully it comes again.

There were also assists for Wigan Athletic winger Jordan Jones, his 11th of the season, and St Mirren’s Conor McMenamin.  

Finally, in the U18 Premier League, the highly rated Kieron Morrison scored in Liverpool’s 3-1 home defeat to Leeds United, while 16-year-old Braiden Graham, who has been called up into Andy Waterworth’s squad for the U17 Euro 2024 Qualifiers elite round matches against England, France and Hungary this month, was on target for Linfield in their 6-0 victory at home to Newry City.