Loan watch: Wins for Coventry, Holland, Hugill
West Ham United loanees Conor Coventry, Nathan Holland and Jordan Hugill all tasted victory as three of five Hammers in Football League action over the weekend.
Coventry, representing League One side Lincoln City, played the full 90 minutes of the Imps’ thrilling 3-2 win over Burton Albion at Sincil Bank.
The Republic of Ireland U21 international enjoyed an intriguing battle on Saturday afternoon, lining up against former Hammer and U23s teammate - as recently as January - Joe Powell in the Brewers’ midfield.
It was Powell who had the first say, opening the scoring with a burst into the box and a low drive, but another former Hammer, Anthony Scully, won the ball high to set up Tom Hopper’s equaliser for Lincoln 15 minutes later.
Powell turned in another low cross to put Burton ahead on the half-hour, minutes before Coventry’s clever passing around the area led to a high ball causing panic amongst the visitors’ defence, Hopper duly swivelling and slamming home.
Chances continued to flow after the interval, Coventry making one particularly important tackle to deny Burton a clear shot at goal, before the home side at long last took the lead, Neal Eardley’s flat cross hit first-time on the volley by Joe Morrell.
There was still time for Lincoln goalkeeper Josh Vickers to save a late penalty from Lucas Akins, sealing an enthralling win for Michael Appleton’s side which boosts them up to 14th in the table.
Elsewhere in League One, Nathan Holland and Oxford United claimed a vital three points at Shrewsbury Town to reassert their promotion credentials.
The Shrews raced into a 2-0 first-half lead but shortly after saw Josh Vela dismissed for a second bookable offence, with Oxford taking full advantage.
Holland was forced to leave the field with injury prior to the break but later goals from Marcus Browne, Dan Agyei and Josh Ruffels boosted the U’s up into third place, only two points behind Rotherham in the promotion spots.
In the Championship, Jordan Hugill enjoyed a warm reception upon his return to Deepdale as Queen’s Park Rangers mounted a superb second-half comeback to best Preston.
The target man joined West Ham from the Lilywhites in January 2018 having netted 30 goals during four seasons in the North West, and put in a determined display at his former home ground on Saturday afternoon.
Fantastic performance to come back from 1-0 down. Some brilliant goals and performances! Thank you to the @QPR fans that travelled today and a big thank you to the @pnefc fans for the brilliant reception, was nice to be back at deepdale🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🔥— Jordan Hugill (@JordanHugill) March 7, 2020
Daniel Johnson’s 19th-minute penalty put Preston ahead but, after Grant Hall drew the R’s level with an hour played, late goals from Ryan Manning and Ebere Eze gave Mark Warburton’s side an excellent win – attained despite Geoff Cameron’s dismissal.
The R’s remain outside contenders for a Championship play-off place, six points behind Preston in sixth, with nine games to go.
Also in the Championship, midfielder Josh Cullen couldn’t prevent Charlton Athletic from slipping to a third consecutive loss, going down 1-0 at the Valley to Middlesbrough.
The Addicks strove but couldn’t find an answer to Paddy McNair’s 17th-minute winner, falling two points behind their opponents into 22nd – and into the relegation zone with nine games remaining.
Finally, Dan Kemp played the full 90 minutes for Stevenage as they went down 3-1 at top-of-the-table Crewe’s Gresty Road.
Stevenage remain eight points from safety at the bottom of League Two, with ten games left to play.