Monday 13 Dec
Updated Monday 13 Dec 11:58

Loan Watch: Wins for Nathan Holland and Conor Coventry

Nathan Holland

Nathan Holland helped his adopted club Oxford United to extend their unbeaten run to five matches in all competitions, as one of four West Ham United loanees in action over the weekend.

The 23-year-old made his 23rd appearance – and picked up his fifth assist – of the season in the 2-1 victory at Stadium MK, helping his side recover from an eleventh-minute Hiram Boateng strike to bounce up to fifth in League One.

With Boateng having given the Dons the lead from a tight angle early on, the U’s went on to enjoy a succession of clear goalscoring opportunities, but – following an offside effort and several good saves – took until the 65th minute to equalise through Matt Taylor’s header.

Then, with ten minutes left on the clock, Holland demonstrated electric pace and work ethic to pounce on a loose backpass, nick the ball away from goalkeeper Andy Fisher and square for Mark Sykes, who dispatched into the unguarded net with aplomb.

Holland left the field of play shortly after as manager Karl Robinson sought to protect that lead, with Oxford later reduced to ten men deep into injury time following a red card for Jordan Thorniley.

Nevertheless, a second impressive win on the road in the space of a week – following a 2-1 win over Doncaster Rovers – sees Oxford cement their space as one of the division’s high-flyers. They remain just five points from the summit of the table.

In the Championship, Conor Coventry was also on the winning side as Peterborough United bested Millwall at the Weston Homes Stadium.

The Republic of Ireland U21s captain was a late substitute in the 2-1 victory, coming on to see out the last few minutes after a quickfire pair of second-half goals had put the Posh on course for a first win in eight matches.

The three points help Coventry and Peterborough, in 22nd place, close the gap to Reading, sat just outside the relegation zone with two points more.

In League Two, goalkeeper Joseph Anang earned a recall to Stevenage’s starting XI – his first appearance in eight games – but suffered a 2-0 defeat at home to Carlisle United.

The 21-year-old had seen his side, seeking a first win in five games, spurn a number of notable opportunities in the first half, but could do little to prevent them from falling behind on the stroke of half-time.

Indeed, Anang had produced an excellent full-stretch save to turn Kelvin Mellor’s header onto the crossbar from close range, but could therefore do nothing to prevent Jon Mellish from tapping in the rebound.

In the second half, Jordan Gibson would win Carlisle a penalty kick, sending Anang the wrong way to wrap up the points for his side.

Anang will hope to retain his place for Stevenage’s trip to fellow strugglers Salford City on Saturday, with the Boro in 22nd place, just three points above the relegation zone.

And bottom-of-the-table AS Nancy continued to struggle in Ligue 2, a third successive league defeat arriving on Saturday despite Nathan Trott’s best efforts in goal.

Nancy were bested 2-1 by mid-table Nimes on the road, falling behind early on and briefly drawing level towards the end of the first half, but conceding on the stroke of half-time before – for a remarkable sixth time this season – Nancy had a player dismissed and finished the game with ten men.

Trott had little chance with either goal, both coming from close range, but did produce a solid save to deny a long-distance piledriver later on.

Elsewhere, for Sunderland in League One, Frederik Alves was an unused substitute in a 2-1 home win over Plymouth Argyle.

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