It was FA Cup weekend this week, which gives out-of-favour players a chance to stake their claim for a regular starting berth for their respective clubs.
Every Boro loanee bar Marvin Johnson and Zach Hemming (game was postponed) played their part for their loan clubs in a busy weekend on action.
Here’s the latest round up from up and down the leagues…
Around the grounds…
Aynsley Pears and Luke Armstrong were in FA Cup action for Gateshead, who were handed a tie against League One opposition Rochdale.
The Heed travelled to Manchester having lost their last two games in the National League – but they were looking to defy the odds and cause a cup upset.
It wasn’t to be though, despite their best efforts.
An own goal from Jon Mellish put Rochdale in front before striker Ian Henderson doubled the home side’s lead just minutes later.
The aforementioned Mellish scored a late goal for Gateshead that proved to be a mere consolation.
Back from suspension, George Miller led the line for Bradford in their FA Cup tie away to National League outfit Aldershot Town.
There was a seemingly welcomed break from the league for the Bantams – they’re currently rooted to the bottom of it with no win in eight.
But the cup followed the same kind of narrative for David Hopkin’s side and the win evaded them once again as they drew 1-1.
Miller, who played he full 90 minutes, missed a glorious chance to equalise for the visitors on 55 minutes.
The forward latched onto Jack Payne’s pass and despite his shot beating the keeper, the ball trickled wide with the help of the waterlogged pitch.
— Bradford City (@officialbantams) November 10, 2018
For Yeovil, Alex Pattison played just over an hour in the controversial Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night.
The Glovers faced West Ham’s Under-21 side in what was a dead rubber game. Both sides were already out of the competition having finished outside the top two teams.
But they found themselves 1-0 up within the first 10 minutes courtesy of a Ben Johnson own goal. Three second half goals followed and sealed the win for the home side.
The following game was a cup upset on FA Cup weekend – but not in Yeovil’s favour.
It was Stockport who travelled to Huish Park looking to knock out their league opponents, and that they did.
Pattison played the full 90 minutes in that game but couldn’t help his team avoid a 3-1 defeat in what was one of the shocks of the round.
Enes Mahmutovic played no part in that game, but did play the full 90 minutes in the win over West Ham.
The Luxembourger met a deep free kick to slide home and round the win off with his first Yeovil goal.
— Enes Mahmutovic (@mahmutovic1997) November 7, 2018
Rotation meant the usually ever-present Connor Ripley sat out Accrington’s 2-1 win over West Brom Under-21s on Tuesday night.
But he did reclaim his place in between the sticks against Colchester United on the Saturday.
The 25-year-old kept his fourth clean sheet of the season as Stanley progressed into the second round of the FA Cup.
It may not have been the case had it not been for the goalkeeping heroics of the on-loan Boro man.
Indeed, Harry Pell’s curling effort was destined to hit the back of the net, but for a fine stop from Ripley. He was then on hand to keep out a powerful strike from Sammie Szmodics.
Frank Nouble was the next Colchester player to test the Stanley keeper; he raced clean through from midfield but couldn’t beat the peerless Ripley.
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Nathan McGinley was given a stern test against a talented Arsenal Under-21 side on Tuesday night.
The 22-year-old started and played the full game, but Forest Green Rovers fell to a 3-1 defeat as the young Gunners thrived against league opposition.
The following game was a goalless FA Cup draw against League One side Oxford, in which McGinley again played 90 minutes.
Rovers had the chances though; substitute George Williams hit the post while Reece Brown missed a sitter from close range.
McGinley turned creator late on, crossing low for Williams who got infront of his man and turned the ball goalwards only to see it bounce back off the post.
After the game, McGinley said: “We’re obviously disappointed not to get the win in the end but the performance was really good.”
— Forest Green Rovers (@FGRFC_Official) November 11, 2018
Tyrone O’Neill made his Hartlepool debut on Saturday, just days after signing for the club on loan.
The 19-year-old came on from he bench with just over 20 minutes left to play and impressed new boss, former Boro defender Matthew Bates.
“He did well, he brought a robustness,” Bates said after Hartlepool’s 0-0 draw away to Gillingham.
“He will not give the opposition any time on the ball but he is also very good on the ball.
“He comes into contention for next week. We now have four strikers who are all competing for places in the team.”
Marvin Johnson played no part in the Steel City derby on Friday night as Sheffield United couldn’t force their way through a sturdy Sheffield Wednesday back line and drew 0-0.
• Armstrong – 90 minutes vs. Rochdale
• Pears – 90 minutes vs. Rochdale
• Fryer – N/A (injured)
• Miller – 90 minutes vs. Aldershot
• Pattison – 61 minutes vs. West Ham U21s, 90 minutes vs. Stockport
• Ripley – 90 minutes, clean sheet vs. Colchester
• McGinley – 90 minutes vs. Arsenal U21s and Oxford
• Johnson – Unused sub vs. Sheffield Wednesday
• Mahmutovic – 90 minutes, scored vs. West Ham U21s
• Hemming – N/A (game postponed)
• O’Neill – 20 minutes vs. Gillingham