Loan watch: Three West Ham United loanees in action
Xande Silva struck his first goal of the calendar year for Aris Thessaloniki FC, as one of three West Ham United loanees in action over the weekend.
The 23-year-old forward, introduced from the bench in each of his last three appearances for the Super League Greece side, was on-hand to produce a match-clinching goal away at fellow European hopefuls AEK Athens on Sunday.
After centre-back Lindsay Rose had opened the scoring with a scrappy goal after 29 minutes, Silva was introduced from the bench with 15 minutes left to play in a tight game at Athens Olympic Stadium.
And in the first few seconds of injury time, Silva produced a splendid finish to seal the game, sidestepping a defender on the edge of the area and blasting a low shot into the bottom corner.
The goal was Silva’s second – to go with two assists – in 16 Super League Greece appearances so far this season and keeps Aris ahead of much of the chasing pack for a Champions League spot – with Olympiakos’ lead at the top now seemingly unassailable.
Silva's goal can be seen at 3:58 in the video below.
In the Championship, Winston Reid made his second appearance of the week for adopted club Brentford on Saturday afternoon.
The New Zealand international was introduced in the closing stages of his adopted club’s 4-1 win at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium, featuring for the final seven minutes after playing the final four of the 3-2 win over Bristol City last Wednesday.
Feeling his way back into first-team football since the conclusion of the Major League Soccer season – which he spent on loan at Sporting Kansas City – Reid will now hope to channel his experience towards Brentford’s Championship title charge, with the Bees one point off top place as it stands.
In League Two, fellow defender Olatunji Akinola helped Leyton Orient to two back-to-back clean sheets – and two consecutive 0-0 draws – last week.
The defender has now started the O’s last six league games, helping them to four clean sheets in that time while only conceding three goals.
Last Tuesday, Ross Embleton’s side claimed a creditable draw at Crawley Town’s Broadfield Stadium, having played almost an hour with ten men after midfielder Hector Kyprianou was shown a straight red card.
Despite the numerical disparity, Akinola and his teammates held firm and prevented the hosts from having a single shot on target throughout the course of the 90 minutes.
The centre-back was Orient’s third-best performing player, according to respected analytics website WhoScored.com, producing two interceptions, two clearances and a blocked shot.
That trend continued on Saturday as Leyton Orient secured a 0-0 draw at home to Colchester United, who themselves only enjoyed a single shot on target as Akinola once again came away with a strong analytical rating.
Leyton Orient currently lie tenth in League Two, four points outside the play-off places with 19 games left to go.
Also in League Two, fellow Academy of Football defender Ajibola Alese was an unnamed substitute for leaders Cambridge United in their 2-0 win at Barrow on Saturday, after signing on loan until the end of the season last week.
Striker Oladapo Afolayan, meanwhile, will be hoping to make his Bolton Wanderers bow when they host Morecambe at the University of Bolton Stadium tomorrow.
On the continent, Felipe Anderson did not feature in FC Porto’s matchday squad at FC Braga, having made only his third start in all competitions against Belenenses in midweek.
Portuguese defender Gonçalo Cardoso, meanwhile, was an unused substitute in FC Basel’s 2-2 draw at home to Sion on Sunday, and is also seeking debut appearance for his adopted club, having joined them on loan last week.