Mipo Odubeko

Loan Watch: Odubeko scores first professional goals

Mipo Odubeko enjoyed a fine Easter weekend for Doncaster Rovers, scoring his first two professional goals, with fellow West Ham United loanee Nathan Holland also on the scoresheet elsewhere.

Despite impressing with his general performances, 19-year-old striker Odubeko had gone without a goal – but netted twice in two League One matches over the weekend.

The Republic of Ireland U21s striker’s maiden professional goal was sadly to prove less consequential than the latter, coming just three minutes after emerging from the bench in Rovers’ 2-1 defeat to Bolton Wanderers on Good Friday.

The 19-year-old was well-positioned to apply the finish, lashing home powerfully from inside the penalty area after picking up a pocket of space outside the six-yard area.

But Bolton hit back immediately afterwards to re-take the lead when Kieran Sadlier, an Academy of Football graduate himself, side-footed an effort back across goal from the far post, sealing a win for the Trotters.

The goal was nevertheless enough to earn Odubeko a start in Donny’s next match on Easter Monday: an away trip to mid-table Shrewsbury.

But knowing that realistically three points were required to stay in touch with the teams above the relegation zone, 23rd-placed Doncaster were three goals behind by half-time at New Meadow, despite Odubeko coming close with a snap-shot from the edge of the box.

The forward did, however, kickstart an impressive second-half fightback, running in behind after 54 minutes to slot home his second goal in as many games and reduce the deficit to 3-1.

The West Ham loanee then enjoyed a succession of chances only to be denied by Shrewsbury goalkeeper Marko Marosi, before teeing up Reo Griffiths for Doncaster’s second with a good pass after 77 minutes.

Another former Academy graduate Kyle Knoyle eventually notched the equaliser for Donny four minutes into stoppage time, making it 3-3 – but relegation was all but mathematically confirmed by the result, Doncaster six points from safety with two games left, and a vast gulf in goal difference to make up.

Holland was another Academy of Football loanee to find the target, scoring one goal and assisting another in Oxford United’s 3-2 win away at Fleetwood Town.

Karl Robinson’s U’s had seen their promotion challenge fall away with three successive league defeats in recent weeks, but got off to the best possible start at Highbury when Holland gave them the lead with a placed finish at the back post after two minutes – the 23-year-old’s sixth goal of the season.

Five minutes later, Holland exchanged passes with Cameron Brannagan on the edge of the box before the midfielder powered home, before Billy Bodin added the visitors’ third ten minutes later.

Fleetwood did threaten to mount a Doncaster-esque comeback with two goals either side of half-time, but Oxford – with Holland withdrawn on 59 minutes – held on to move up to eighth in the table, five points off the play-off places with three games to go.

Elsewhere, Conor Coventry and MK Dons’ long unbeaten run came to an end with a 3-2 defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

Despite going into the game undefeated in their previous 15 matches – a run of form which saw Liam Manning’s side push as high as second in the table – Coventry suffered only the second defeat of his half-season loan spell, once again playing the full 90 minutes in midfield.

The Republic of Ireland U21s captain saw his team go three goals down inside the opening 30 minutes, conceding twice from set-pieces and a third to an audacious 35-yard strike.

MK Dons did register once before half-time through Troy Parrott and Coventry did strike the upright in the second half with a long-range drive, but it was only deep into stoppage time that Scott Twine was able to score Dons’ second.

The 3-2 loss saw MK Dons slip to third in the table – the top play-off spot – with three games left to go. However, they remain level on points with Rotherham United, and just four behind Wigan Athletic, having played a game more than both sides. 

Coventry’s next test is away to Academy teammate Holland and Oxford United on Tuesday evening.

Conor Coventry

In Ligue 2, goalkeeper Nathan Trott was restored to bottom-of-the-table AS Nancy’s starting XI but was powerless to prevent a 2-0 home defeat to Niort on Saturday.

Despite producing one particularly good stop early in the first half, Trott was beaten either side of half-time by efforts he could do little to prevent, leaving Nancy now eleven points adrift of safety with just five games left to go – and surely now staring at relegation.

Fellow goalkeeper Joseph Anang enjoyed a more successful Easter weekend in the League of Ireland Premier Division with St Patrick’s Athletic.

Despite being beaten on Good Friday by reigning champions Shamrock Rovers – a 1-0 loss in which St Pat’s had the better of the chances, only to lose to a close-range header – Anang’s adopted club recovered to defeat basement side UCD 2-1 on Monday afternoon.

The 21-year-old ‘keeper saw his side fall behind with 20 minutes remaining after making a good initial save, only to have the rebound converted by UCD.

But St Pat’s rallied and scored twice in the final 15 minutes to move up to third in the League of Ireland Premier Division, albeit seven points behind league leaders Derry City.