It was a Halloween special for Boro’s loanees this week – but was it more of a trick or a treat for the eight available out-on-loan players?
George Miller was suspended for his red card last week. Whilst there’s a new name on the loan watch; Zach Hemming joined Boro’s neighbours Darlington on Tuesday
Here’s the full lowdown on the action, starting with Darlington’s new keeper:
Hemming impresses for Darlo…
Zach Hemming joined Darlington on loan this week, aiming to follow in the footsteps of fellow Boro goalkeeper Aynsley Pears who impressed for the National League side there last season.
He was immediately thrown into the starting line-up for their trip to Bradford Park Avenue and, although there was no debut win or clean sheet, the youngster made a good early impression.
Had a great game, unlucky we didn’t win
— Larry Carter (@pitlanescoop) October 30, 2018
Had a solid start last night well played👏👏
— Noel Hollis (@Hollis79N) October 31, 2018
“I thought I played well,” he said after his debut. “I did some good stuff but it’s a big ask going from Under-23s football to men’s football. The mentality is different – it’s all about winning.
“There were a few crosses and nudges today that you don’t get in Under-23s football, it’s more physically demanding.”
His second game did result in his first clean sheet – a goalless draw against Guiseley.
Aynsley Pears and Luke Armstrong have been flying with Gateshead of late, so of course there was a Halloween spook in the tale when AFC Fylde hosted the Heed on Tuesday.
Pears was called upon early door to claw a shot off the line, grasping at the rebound from Fylde midfielder Andy Bond as Gateshead stood firm to the hosts’ pressure.
Armstrong then displayed his threat on the attack, unleashing a shot which was saved by Jay Lynch after some good build up play with Greg Olley.
He then turned creator, driving a ball across goal which was turned onto the bar by strike partner Steven Rigg.
At the other end, the Gateshead goal was tested again. Pears punched clear a cross straight into the path of Danny Rowe, who blazed high and wide from inside the box.
In an evenly contested clash between two teams vying for promotion, it appeared Gateshead were on the back foot as the game approached stoppage time.
Fylde’s pressure eventually prevailed in the 93th minute when Rowe slotted the ball home from a cross, denying Pears and Gateshead their fifth successive clean sheet.
There was little to cheer about in the following game against league leaders Wrexham, which also ended in defeat.
Armstrong’s consolation goal in the 88th minute the only positive take-out from a game which proved too much for the play-off hopefuls.
Elsewhere around the leagues…
In League Two, Alex Pattison was dropped to the bench for Yeovil’s visit to Morecambe in favour of former Hartlepool midfielder Jake Gray.
Shrimps’ striker Ajay Leitch-Smith put the home side in front against his former club and could’ve bagged a second from the penalty spot but for a smart stop from Glovers’ keeper Nathan Baxter.
Yeovil finished the first half strongly but Morecambe doubled their advantage early in the second half through Rhys Oates.
It was then time for Yeovil to introduce Pattison as they attempted to get themselves back into the game. And it looked like having the desired effect.
The 20-year-old changed the game for the away side, adding an injection of fresh attacking impetuous which manager Darren Way touched on in his post-match presser.
He told The Visitor: “I felt when (Alex) Pattison came on, he dominated and quite clearly that’s the difference.”
Yeovil did get one goal back through Olufela Olomola with just over 20 minutes left to play, but it wasn’t enough for the League Two side to get a result.
Enes Mahmutovic was an unused substitute again during this game.
Don’t understand how we came away with nothing today. But onto the next week, still in a great position. Nice to see my family amongst the away fans⚽️💚
— Alex Pattison (@alexpattison100) November 3, 2018
In League One, Connor Ripley and Accrington were looking to solidify their place in the play-offs when they travelled to Coventry, who were just a place below them in the league table.
It was a frenetic first-half in which Stanley striker Billy Kee hit the crossbar after linking up well with the lively Jordan Clark.
Ripley was called into action in the second half, tipping over a shot from Connor Chaplin.
The visitors took the lead when striker Offrande Zanzala worked himself some space in the penalty area before firing past Coventry goalkeeper Lee Burge.
Ripley looked to be heading towards a clean sheet but for a late strike from Michael Doyle.
Very difficult game today against a strong @coventrycityfcofficial side! The lads are gutted that we couldn’t get the 3 points but it just shows the high standards that we set ourselves!! 💪🏼🔥⚽️❤️ #ASFC @ASFCofficial pic.twitter.com/1vA2ty9Zvz
— Connor Ripley (@ripley_connor) November 3, 2018
Down a league and Nathan McGinley started for Forest Green Rovers in their 2-1 defeat to table topping Lincoln City on Saturday.
The 22-year-old was making his 13th appearance for the League Two side and it was immediately one that went without luck.
With eight minutes on the clock, Rovers were already one goal down after John Akinde fired home, picking up on Harry Anderson’s pass to shoot low into the left-hand corner.
But Rovers responded superbly, equalising just four minutes later through Reece Brown, whose low strike beat Lincoln keeper Josh Vickers.
The visitors squandered multiple chances to take the lead and were made to pay for their lack of ruthlessness in the finla third.
Kellan Gordon grabbed what proved to be the winner on 74 minutes. Shay McCartan found Gordon in the six-yard box and the substitute calmly found the bottom corner to give Lincoln on three points.
Marvin Johnson was an unused substitute once more as Sheffield United were aiming to retain their place at the summit of the Championship.
It wasn’t to be for the Blades though, as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to Aitor Karanka’s Nottingham Forest.
• Armstrong – 90 minutes vs. Fylde, 90 minutes and goal vs. Wrexham
• Pears – 90 minutes vs. Fylde, 90 minutes vs. Wrexham
• Fryer – N/A (injured)
• Miller – N/A (suspended)
• Pattison – 40 minutes vs. Morecambe
• Ripley – 90 minutes vs. Coventry
• McGinley – 90 minutes vs. Lincoln
• Johnson – Unused sub vs. Stoke and Wigan
• Mahmutovic – Unused sub vs. Morecambe
• Hemming – 90 minutes vs. Bradford PA, 90 minutes, clean sheet vs. Guiseley