Loan watch: Mixed results for Silva and Akinola
West Ham United loanees Xande Silva and Olatunji Akinola both picked up another start for their respective clubs over the weekend, with the Academy duo on opposite ends of 1-0 scorelines.
In Super League Greece, Silva was restored to Aris Thessaloniki FC’s starting line-up for their trip to Apollon Smyrni – marking the Portuguese forward’s fourth start in the last five games.
The 23-year-old set out to impress immediately from the right flank and, inside the opening quarter of an hour, played two clever passes as part of the build-up to shooting opportunities for his team.
When Aris did take the lead after 18 minutes, it was a scrappy affair. Apollon failed to clear a corner towards the near post and the ball subsequently took three further deflections on its way to Nicholas Ioannou. A yard out, unmarked, the left-back bundled it over the line.
By some margin the dominant force in the game, Silva had the chance to double Aris’ advantage just before half-time when he brought down a high cross at the back post and – after showing some quick feet to evade his marker – was closed down by Apollon goalkeeper Davino Verhulst from a tight angle.
A tighter match ensued in the second half and Silva was withdrawn with 63 minutes played to be replaced by Ergys Kaçe, but Aris ultimately saw the game out with a degree of comfort at Giorgos Kamara Stadium.
The result keeps them in second place, eleven points behind Super League Greece leaders Olymipakos.
In League Two, Leyton Orient and Akinola’s three-game run of clean sheets and victories came to an end with a 1-0 home defeat to Forest Green Rovers.
Manager Ross Embleton had named an unchanged side from the one which saw off Morecambe 2-0 last weekend.
The result was a fourth consecutive start for Akinola at centre-back – but the home side’s defence faced a busy afternoon from the early stages at Breyer Group Stadium.
With Forest Green Rovers having found the net at least once in every league game since October, their attacking outfit made a bright start and came close early on through a header from top scorer Jamille Matt.
Orient rallied and created chances of their own, but it was the visitors who took the lead midway through the first half when Bailey Cargill played the ball between the centre-backs for Nicky Cadden, who poked home a finish from close range.
Orient continued to press for an equaliser but their task was made that much more difficult by a second yellow card for Akinola’s defensive partner Dan Happe, who made a clumsy challenge on the halfway line to warrant it.
A flurry of late attacks ensued but Forest Green Rovers held on to inflict Orient’s first defeat of the calendar year.
Akinola’s adopted club are in ninth place in League Two, six points off Cambridge United and Forest Green Rovers at the top of the table.