Conor Clifford scored the first goal of his fledgling professional career in another week of highs and lows for Chelsea’s young loan starlets.
The Irish Under-21 international capped the final week of his month-long spell at Yeovil Town by scoring for the first time in senior football in Friday night’s FA Cup victory away to Fleetwood Town.
Clifford – playing at the top of a midfield diamond – scored midway through the second half to put the Glovers 2-0 up and apparently into the third round of the competition, but two late goals by the hosts ensured a replay at Huish Park.
His goal was well taken, gathering a first time pass on the run before rifling it into the roof of the net from inside the box. You can watch his strike HERE by selecting the appropriate match from the highlights console.
Nothing has been confirmed yet but all indications are that the deal will be extended much further into the season, with all parties satisfied with the player’s improving progress.
Elsewhere, it was a case of maintaining the status quo as a handful of players continue to make solid progress, whilst others sit on the sidelines wasting yet another season.
Sam Walker will have been relieved to have had the weekend off after Northampton’s recent form; the Cobblers not in action having been eliminated from the FA Cup by Luton Town in Round One.
Patrick van Aanholt was not selected in Wigan’s matchday squad for their home humbling by Arsenal, whilst Gael Kakuta was unused from the bench as Bolton lost at Tottenham. The Frenchman has played just 52 minutes of league football this season, and will almost certainly not be staying at the club beyond January 1st.
In Spain, Thibaut Courtois was absent from Sunday’s home win over Rayo Vallecano serving a one-game suspension for his dismissal in last weekend’s Madrid derby, but he was in midweek action away to Celtic in the Europa League.
Under the watchful eye of Chelsea’s goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon, the Belgian international played well, keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory which secured Atléti’s place in the competition’s knockout rounds.
Lollichon had also taken the opportunity to watch Courtois in international action against his native France a few weeks ago and was very impressed with what he saw, telling Chelsea TV (paraphrased):
‘If I had gone to the match without knowing anything I would never have believed he was making his international debut. He has the air of somebody much more mature, much more experienced.’
In Germany, Jeffrey Bruma and Hamburg continued their good form with a 2-0 home victory over Nurnburg on Sunday. The Dutchman was booked and went off just after half time with a shoulder injury, but there is no early indication as to how serious the problem is.
Incidentally, if you want to see the best moments of two of Bruma’s recent performances, you can do so by watching these two videos:
Over in the Netherlands, Tomas Kalas and Vitesse kept another clean sheet as the Arnhem club beat RKC Waalwijk 4-0 at the Geldredome. The Czech teenager has been a part of five shutouts in his nine Eredivisie starts and has been a revelation at centre-back.
Ulises Dávila was not involved but continues to turn out for Jong Vitesse, putting in a strong showing over 90 minutes in a midweek defeat to FC Utretch.
To finish with, Matej Delac was once again not involved for Ceske Budejovice, who beat Dukla Prague 3-2 this weekend.