Loan Watch – Pattison grabs assist on return, Pears puts in MOTM display

Alex Pattison made a near perfect return to action after a long injury lay-off this weekend.

The midfielder has been sidelined with a back problem since the beginning of the festive period, and hadn’t featured for Darren Way’s side since the 3-0 home defeat to Port Vale at the end of November.

But he made his return in the 39th minute of this weekend’s game against Grimsby – coming on for Matt Worthington as Yeovil looked to gain control of the midfield.

It was a difficult match for Pattison to try to get back into the swing of as the Glovers were already 2-0 down by that point.

Yeovil managed to come into the game more in the second half but were soon reduced to ten men, allowing Grimsby to take advantage and bag a third.

Pattison supplied what was a mere consolation for the home side. His pacey free-kick was headed in by Alex Fisher in the 90th minute to give the Huish Park crowd something to cheer.

Aynsley Pears was involved in a goalless draw at home to Havant and Waterlooville – a game in which he was named Man of the Match.

The 20-year-old made several fine saves within the game, including two one-on-ones, keeping Gateshead’s point and promotion push in tact.

His dominant display has only enhanced his reputation on Tyneside, with many Heeds fans calling for the shot stopper to remain at the club beyond his current loan spell.

After the game, Pears said: “I thought we were solid, we defended well and we played some good stuff.

“It was actually one of the better games we’ve played at home, we passed it well but we just couldn’t finish it off.

“We didn’t really have any clear-cut chances but there were a lot of half-chances so on another day we could have nicked the game 1-0 but it just wasn’t to be, it was a good point in the end and a good solid clean sheet.”

The draw means Gateshead are just a point outside the National League play-off places and unbeaten in four under new manager Ben Clark.

Pears has praised the side’s defensive structure but admits improvements are to be made in front of goal.

“I think we’ve done really well since the gaffer has taken over,” Pears said.

“We just need to try and be bit more clinical and score more goals but defensively we’ve been really good.

“I think Clarky obviously being a defender has come in and our shape has been really good, we’ve worked a lot on that with him and Mike [Williamson].

“We want to push on now really because we’re good enough, we can create chances and play good stuff so hopefully we can kick on and get in the play-offs and hopefully stay there.”

Pears was also named in the Non-League Paper’s Team of the Day

Sam Stubbs has had a positive impact since joining League Two strugglers Notts County on Deadline Day, which was only shown again on Saturday.

The 20-year-old was a starter again as the Magpies faced sixth placed Forest Green Rovers at The New Lawn – a tough test for a side without an away win since October 6th.

His natural leadership skills appear to have already improved a leaky defence which ranks the worst in the league, conceding a whopping 61 goals so far this season.

On paper, this weekend’s game should have been a certain victory for Mark Cooper’s side, but goals from Jim O’Brien and Enzio Boldewijn either side of a Joseph Mills free-kick meant Notts County were the ones to take home all three points.

It was a valuable victory for Neal Ardley and his team, who are now just four points away from safety.

Fans again took to Twitter after the game to laud Stubbs on his defensive display, with one even saying: 

Sam Stubbs celebrates the win over Forest Green Rovers

Martin Braithwaite has been thriving for La Liga side Leganes of late.

The Dane had already scored three goals and registered an assist in the six games he’s placed since his move to the Estadio Municipal de Butarque, including goals against Real Madrid and Barcelona.

He produced another attacking return on Sunday against Real Betis, setting up Leganes’s third goal of the afternoon.

Braithwaite appears to have forged a potent partnership with strike partner Youssef En-Nesyri, who scored all three goals in the victory.

According to WhoScored, Braithwaite was rated as Leganes’s second-best player, coming out with 8.2 – second only to En-Nesyri’s 9.9.

He attempted 8 dribbles and completed 4 of them – the joint most in the game. He also won the most aerial duels (3) and had a passing accuracy of 75%.

Martin Braithwaite has been in great form for Leganes

Luke Armstrong came on in the 66th minute for former Boro youngster Callum Johnson as Accrington Stanley were defeated 2-0 by Scunthorpe.

Stephen Walker played the last 11 minutes for promotion chasing MK Dons in their 3-2 defeat to Swindon Town.

Ben Liddle was an unused substitute in Forest Green Rover’s 2-1 defeat to Notts County.

Marvin Johnson was an unused substitute for Sheffield United in their 3-3 draw against Aston Villa.

Hayden Coulson was an unused substitute for Cambridge as they defeated Port Vale 1-0.

Middlesbrough Minutes:

• Aynsley Pears – 90 mins and MOTM vs. Havant & Waterlooville
• Sam Stubbs – 90 mins vs. Forest Green Rovers
• Stephen Walker – 11 mins vs. Swindon Town
• Alex Pattison – 51 mins and assist vs. Grimsby
• Martin Braithwaite – 90 mins and assist vs. Real Betis
• Luke Armstrong – 24 mins vs. Scunthorpe

Not involved: Marvin Johnson, Hayden Coulson, Ben Liddle (unused sub), Joe Fryer (injured)

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