Three West Ham United loanees were in action for their respective clubs this weekend, with Frederik Alves and Joseph Anang both making their FA Cup debuts on Saturday.
Representing League One side Sunderland, for Alves, a 45-minute appearance in the FA Cup first round proper marked the Danish defender’s fifth start – and seventh appearance – for the Black Cats.
Sadly, the result was not to be a positive one for the 22-year-old at the Stadium of Light as League Two outfit Mansfield Town caused an upset with a 1-0 win in the North East, courtesy of Rhys Oates’ fifth-minute goal.
After struggling for invention in the opening half, Sunderland manager Lee Johnson rang the changes at half-time with defender Alves one of four players replaced by attacking reinforcements – yet they could not find an equaliser in the second period.
Having started many of his side’s cup games so far this season, Alves will hope to retain his place in the starting XI for Tuesday’s Papa John’s Trophy game at home to Bradford City.
Also returning to the starting line-up was goalkeeper Anang, making his first start in three games for Stevenage as the League Two side battled to an impressive 2-2 draw away at League One promotion chasers MK Dons – earning a replay in the process.
The 21-year-old ‘keeper made a strong start at Stadium MK when Max Watters managed to run in behind and lob the West Ham man, who scrambled back well to palm the ball off the goal line and gather.
MK Dons would take the lead just before the 30-minute mark when a short corner led to a free header for Harry Darling – Anang left isolated by his defenders – before Aden Baldwin’s looping cross almost caught the ‘keeper off-guard, striking the top of his crossbar.
But Stevenage rallied after half-time and scored twice in three second-half minutes when Brad Berry tapped in a cross from close range and Elliott List side-footed home at the culmination of a precise counter-attack, giving his team a shock lead.
Sadly, Anang and Stevenage could not hold out, the ‘keeper beaten by a rocket of a finish from Watters with 15 minutes remaining to tie the scores at 2-2.
Stevenage’s next game is a Papa John’s Trophy decider, with the Boro needing a positive result at home to Cambridge United on Tuesday night to advance from their group.
And in Ligue 2, Nathan Trott enjoyed only AS Nancy’s second win of the season as they sprung a surprise by beating promotion-chasing Niort 3-1 away from home.
Fresh from being named the French club’s Player of the Month for October, the England U21 ‘stopper – who has been an ever-present for Benoit Pedretti’s side since joining on loan in the summer – helped his team to a well-earned victory.
After Mickael Biron had granted Nancy an eleventh-minute lead, Trott got down superbly to deny Lenny Vallier’s cross-shot shortly after, before Biron added a further two goals in the second half.
Mamadou Thiam’s own-goal from a set-piece had threatened to give Niort a route back into the match, but Trott firmly shut that down with a superb near-post stop from Bilal Boutobba late on.
AS Nancy have now picked up eight points from their last five league games to claw back the gap between themselves – bottom of Ligue 2 – and 17th-placed Valenciennes to just four points.
Elsewhere, in the Championship, Conor Coventry was named on the bench for Peterborough United’s 1-0 defeat at home to Fulham, but did not acquire further minutes on the pitch.