There were two vital wins for West Ham United loanees’ teams this weekend, as six of them took to the field in the Football League.
In the Championship, Josh Cullen played the full 90 minutes as Charlton Athletic put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone with a 3-1 win over Luton Town.
Lee Bowyer’s Addicks went into the game with only two wins from their previous nine league games, a run which saw them slip close to the drop zone.
Nevertheless, with Cullen at the heart of Charlton’s diamond in midfield, the home team were imperious against bottom-of-the-table Luton, opening the scoring through Lyle Taylor.
Despite Harry Cornick equalising for the visitors in the first half, second-half strikes from Taylor and George Lapslie boosted Charlton one place up to 18th in the division – but more importantly, five points clear of Wigan Athletic and the relegation places.
Elsewhere in the Championship, Jordan Hugill led the line for Queens Park Rangers as they battled to a 0-0 draw at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground.
Chances proved few and far between for both sides in the Midlands, and with neither able to make the breakthrough, QPR collected a point which moves them up one place into 15th.
In League One action, also playing their part in an important victory for their side, was Nathan Holland for Oxford United.
The U’s were looking to build on their 5-0 win over AFC Wimbledon last Tuesday night when they travelled to Portman Road to face off against fellow playoff-chasing Ipswich Town.
Having suffered inconsistent results in recent weeks, Matty Taylor’s goal on the stroke of half-time was enough to secure Oxford a professional 1-0 win at their league rivals.
Holland and former Hammer Marcus Browne, on loan from Middlesbrough, provided no shortage of threat on the break with their pace and trickery, while an uncompromising defensive display secured an Oxford win which means they move to within three points of the playoff spots.
Also in League One, Holland’s U23s teammate Conor Coventry was granted his second start for Lincoln City in their 0-0 draw at home to Gillingham.
The Republic of Ireland U21 international produced some key passes from midfield and set up a presentable scoring chance for Harry Anderson, but Gillingham keeper Jack Bonham denied the Imps.
? "I’ve just got to keep working hard on the training pitch and when your chance comes you’ve got to take it."— Lincoln City FC (@LincolnCity_FC) February 23, 2020
The draw keeps Lincoln in the mid-table mix, level on points with Accrington Stanley – for whom defender Ajibola Alese made his fifth league start of the season.
Lining up on the left-hand side of defence against League One leaders Rotherham United, Alese came close to opening the scoring in the first half with a rocketing effort palmed away by Daniel Iversen.
The teams traded goals inside a minute in the second half, but there was to be late heartbreak for Alese and Accrington as Rotherham's Ben Wiles netted in the first minute of injury time to condemn Accrington Stanley to defeat.
Finally, in League Two, Dan Kemp made his fifth appearance for Stevenage FC as they went down 2-0 at Crawley Town on Saturday afternoon.
Kemp was lively in new manager Alex Revell’s first game and teed up an excellent opportunity for teammate Charlie Carter, but the Boro just lacked that crucial cutting edge in front of goal.
Goals in either half from Beryly Lubala and Ashley Nadesan gave mid-table Crawley the points and kept Stevenage without a win in eight games.