It’s been a successful week for Southampton’s loan players, with no fewer than four goals and three assists across the footballing pyramid as youngsters Ryan Finnigan, Luke Pearce, and Jack Turner all scored for the first time at senior level. All this and more in this week’s Loan Watch…
Starting at the top of the pyramid in England, centre-back Jack Stephens played his second successive 90 minutes for AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League; he kept a clean sheet and earned a place in the Team of the Week as the Cherries won 1-0 against Wolves.
In the Championship, Nathan Tella’s Burnley continued their dominance at the top of the table with another unbeaten week.
On Tuesday night, they missed out on a league-record 11 wins in a row but stayed unbeaten thanks to a late equaliser from ex-Saint Michael Obafemi in a 1-1 draw against Watford.
Tella played the full 90 minutes in midweek, before playing just over an hour at the weekend in a 1-0 win over Luton Town.
Elsewhere, Will Smallbone had a productive night on Wednesday in Stoke City’s 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town as he assisted the opening goal with a corner that was headed home by Phil Jagielka.
He followed that up with a full 90 minutes on Saturday as the Potters fell to a narrow defeat against Blackpool.
Down a division in League One, Dynel Simeu continued his development at Morecambe, playing a full 90 minutes against league leaders Sheffield Wednesday despite their defeat.
In League Two, there was more success as both Ryan Finnigan and Kazeem Olaigbe continued to impress in their starts to life at Crewe Alexandra and Harrogate Town respectively.
On Valentine’s Day, Finnigan was feeling the love from the Railwaymen faithful as he scored his first professional goal in a 2-0 win against Hartlepool United.
After a wide free-kick was cleared out to the edge of the area, Finnigan chested down the loose ball and fired an impressive volley into the back of the net to confirm all three points before half-time.
He followed that performance up with another 90 minute display at the weekend, helping Crewe come from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Harrogate Town.
Olaigbe also enjoyed an unbeaten week, and lined up against Finnigan for Harrogate in the 2-2 draw at the weekend.
The young Belgian assisted the opener in the first half before scoring the second goal of the game in the 52nd minute, lashing home a loose ball in the penalty area to score his second in three starts for the club.
That impressive performance came after another solid display earlier in the week, as the Yorkshire club drew 1-1 against Salford City on Tuesday night as Harrogate sit three points clear of the relegation zone with games in hand.
Outside of the EFL in the National League, Nico Lawrence continued his impressive spell at Torquay United with a fifth successive 90 minute performance.
The Gulls picked up a vital 2-1 win over Barnet at Plainmoor, moving them up to just one point away from safety.
Elsewhere, Lewis Payne made a late substitute cameo for Eastleigh in midweek as the Spitfires won 1-0 away from home against Dagenham & Redbridge to continue their playoff push.
Down a division in the National League South, there were two more maiden senior goals to celebrate for Saints’ B team loanees.
Jack Turner came off the bench for playoff-chasing Braintree Town on Tuesday night and scored their third goal of the game in their 3-2 win over Dulwich Hamlet.
Then, at the weekend, Luke Pearce enjoyed a successful afternoon with Eastbourne Borough in their 2-0 win over Farnborough; the young forward assisted the opener just after the hour mark before slotting home the second to keep his side’s playoff hopes alive.
Pearce was deservedly awarded the Man of the Match award, with manager Danny Bloor stating:
“Luke has taken a couple of games to settle but, especially in the second half, he looked like a proper player.”
Elsewhere in the division, Will Tizzard continued his development with Chippenham Town as he helped keep an impressive clean sheet against league leaders Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday night in a 0-0 draw.
Jack Bycroft played twice in the week with Taunton Town as their three-game unbeaten run came to an end against Farnborough and Havant & Waterlooville.
Finally, up in Scotland, Thierry Small made two substitute appearances for St Mirren as they fell to defeat against Motherwell before bouncing back with a 1-0 win and clean sheet against Ross County as they have risen up to 5th in the Scottish Premiership.