By scoring his fourth goal in five appearances for Swansea, Fabio Borini once again leads the headlines as we catch up with Chelsea’s young loanees.
With Daniel Sturridge cup-tied for Bolton’s Wembley date with Stoke, and with Michael Mancienne (Wolves) and Gael Kakuta (Fulham) enjoying a free weekend due to cup rescheduling, attentions turned to England’s lower leagues.
Borini’s latest effort came in the 53rd minute of the Swans’ trip to Turf Moor, where he went head to head with Burnley’s Jack Cork. He timed his run perfectly to latch onto a defence-splitting pass and remained perfectly composed to finish coolly past Lee Grant.
You can watch the goal here.
The Italian completed 90 minutes and earned the plaudits of his team’s supporters once more for another energetic and at times talismanic display. Cork also saw out the duration of the match, showing no ill effects after his recent health scare.
It was his second full outing in a week, having turned out in a 2-0 loss to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night. Borini played 75 minutes at home in a 1-1 draw with Hull, who are excellent away from home.
Jacob Mellis played 72 minutes for Barnsley in a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough with neither side having anything left to play for this season, and played well in a creative central role. It followed 77 minutes at home to QPR four days previously, and neither outing saw any sign of the hamstring injury which had dogged him for the best part of a month.
Ben Gordon, meanwhile, was an unused substitute for Scunthorpe away to Crystal Palace after playing 90 minutes at home to Reading on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, it was a Saturday to forget for Leicester duo Jeffrey Bruma and Patrick van Aanholt. The Foxes crashed to a 3-1 defeat at Reading and in doing so saw their faint playoff dreams all but die.
Comprising two of the back four, the Dutchmen were given a torrid afternoon by Jimmy Kebe and the Royals and looked all at sea throughout. Whilst it would be unfair to focus solely on their displays as neither Sol Bamba (who was replaced) nor Kyle Naughton covered themselves in glory, it was a display that earned the ire of the supporters and one they will want to quickly move on from.
Earlier in the week, van Aanholt had featured against Crystal Palace in a 1-1 draw but Bruma was unable to break back into the team after suspension, sitting on the bench throughout.
In League Two, Sam Walker was suspended for Giuliano Grazioli’s debut game in charge of Barney away to Bury, and replacement Liam O’Brien was unable to prevent a 2-0 defeat.
Rhys Taylor was once again between the sticks for Crewe in a 1-1 draw at home to Lincoln which finally extinguished any faint hopes the Railwaymen had of a late-season surge into the playoff berths. The Welshman made a number of smart stops as Crewe’s typically leaky back line presented the Imps with plenty of chances to win the match.
In Holland, captain Slobodan Rajkovic missed his third consecutive match with a back problem, whilst Matej Delac dutifully backed up Eloy Room in a 2-1 win at home to Groningen.
Jhon Pirez was an injury time substitute for Defensor in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Fénix, one which leaves the club a point off league leaders Nacional.