STANDOUT performances were few and far between for our Aussies Abroad in a weekend with limited action. Scott McDonald continued his stunning resurgence, as did Adam Federici, while Rhys Williams took another important step in his return from injury.
In the English Premier League, Adam Federici kept his second consecutive cleansheet as Reading earned a crucial 1-0 win over West Ham. Federici was barely tested by a toothless West Ham side but looked confident and sharp when called upon, particularly in the first half when James Collins’s header appeared goal-bound, only for Federici to rise and tip it over the bar. Despite the result, Reading are still five points from safety.
Chris Herd played 90 minutes as Aston Villa’s alarming form slump continued, losing 3-0 at home to lowly Wigan Athletic. Brett Holman played 64 minutes in the clash and had a lively first half, setting up Andreas Weimann who drew a good stop from Wigan ‘keeper Ali Al-Habsi before Holman struck the crossbar from a tight angle after latching onto Christian Benteke’s header. The result sees Villa drop to 17th, just one point off the relegation zone.
Mark Schwarzer was absent with a neck problem as Fulham’s poor form continued, losing 2-1 to Swansea. Fulham have now won just one of their past 12 games, while Brad Jones was absent with a virus as Liverpool beat struggling Queens Park Rangers 3-0.
In the English Championship, Rhys Williams started his first game since August, playing the full 90 minutes as Middlesbrough beat Blackpool 4-2. Scott McDonald also played 90 minutes and scored his ninth league goal for the season with a piece of individual quality. McDonald found the back of the net with a fine curling finish into the bottom corner following a run from midfield.
Mile Jedinak played the full 90 minutes as Crystal Palace’s mid-season slump continued, conceding a second half stoppage time goal to draw 2-2 with Nottingham Forest, while Shane Lowry played 90 minutes as Millwall lost 1-0 to league leaders Cardiff City which saw Millwall drop to eoghth. Lowry had some promising attacking moments for the Lions, with his first half cross for Darius Henderson almost providing the equaliser, only for Cardiff ‘keeper David Marshall to make a stunning save.
Elsewhere, Neil Kilkenny played the final 13 minutes as Bristol City beat fellow cellar dwellers Peterborough 4-2. Seb Usai was an unused substitute as Blackburn beat Barnsley 3-1, while Patrick Kisnorbo was absent from the Leeds United side that lost 2-0 to Hull City.
In League One, Dean Bouzanis played a full game in goal for Oldham Athletic as their poor form continued, losing 2-1 to Crewe Alexandra. James Wesolowski also played 90 minutes for Oldham, while Liam Jacob was an unused substitute. Alex Cisak was absent from the match-day squad and may look for a loan move in the coming weeks after having his initial loan spell at Portsmouth cut short following a suspension to Bouzanis. Bradden Inman started and played 73 minutes for Crewe.
Bailey Wright played a full game in defence as Preston North End were thumped 3-0 at home by Doncaster Rovers. Fellow defender Shane Cansdell-Sherriff was an unused substitute for Preston.
In League Two, James Meredith played the full 90 minutes as Bradford City lost 4-2 to Rochdale. Meredith won a first half penalty as his cutback was handled by Phil Edwards and the penalty was duly converted by Alan Connell. Curtis Good was absent from the Bradford match-day squad.
Rain again played havoc across the UK with Aaron Downes’s Torquay United and Jamie Young’s Aldershot Town seeing their games postponed.
In the Scottish Premier League, Alex Baird was an unused substitute as Dundee FC lost 3-1 to Aberdeen.
Hearts’ clash with Ross County was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch leaving Ryan McGowan and Dylan McGowan with no game for the weekend.
In the Scottish Second Division, Marc Warren started and played 82 minutes as Airdrie United drew 1-1 with Partick Thistle.
In the Italian Serie B, Carl Valeri was again absent from the match-day squad as Sassuolo remained at the top of the table following a 5-0 thumping of AC Cesena.
In Portugal, Caleb Patterson-Sewell played a full game in goal as Vitoria Setubal beat Nacional Madeira 3-1.