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Loan Report: Contrasting Cup Success For Smith And McNulty

Our latest look at how the Royals' loanees have fared for their various clubs.

Sunderland v Leicester City U21: Cup Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

How Cambridge United managed to earn a replay against Exeter City in the FA Cup first round is quite remarkable. The Us had much less possession and only two shots in the entire game, but one of them came from Reading loanee Sam Smith, and his 93rd-minute shot squirmed under the body of Exeter keeper Jonny Maxted. This unexpected equaliser meant that Colin Calderwood’s side would get another chance at the second Round.

Tuesday night saw Cambridge play their final game in the EFL Trophy for this season, losing 2-1 to rivals Peterborough United. Unfortunately for The Us, the gulf in quality between the two teams was too much for them to be able to get a result and meant they finished bottom of their group. The hosts were 2-0 up on half an hour. Smith started the game on the bench, but was brought on with twenty minutes to go. United pulled one back with ten minutes to go but were unable to find an equaliser.

Similarly to Cambridge, Marc McNulty’s Sunderland will also have to negotiate a FA Cup first-round replay, after a 1-1 draw with Gillingham at the Stadium of Light. Aiden McGeady put the hosts 1-0 up after 15 minutes, but a goal immediately after half time saw the visitors grab their equaliser, and make the long journey back down to Kent knowing they still have an opportunity at the second Round. McNulty came off the bench with 25 minutes to go, but could not help his side find a winner.

Tuesday night saw Sunderland travel to Scunthorpe United in the last game of Group A in the EFL Trophy. A rare opportunity for McNulty to start did not pay dividends for the Black Cats. 20 minutes into the second half, Sunderland player Luke O’Nien gave away a penalty and was sent off for his troubles. Lee Novak converted the penalty and the flood gates opened from then on, with Scunthorpe winning the game 3-0. This result sees Phil Parkinson’s team knocked out of the EFL Trophy. McNulty played the full 90 but was merely a passenger in this game.

A trip to Besiktas gave Denizlispor their second defeat in as many games, and their inconsistent form leaves them just one point above the relegation zone in the Super Lig. Former Tottenham winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou grabbed the winner for the hosts twenty minutes from time, in a match where the visitors were outclassed. Mo Barrow started on the left-hand side, but had the fewest touches of any player on his team who started this game, and his failure to make an impact meant he was substituted, just a couple of minutes after the goal.

It seems that every week at the moment, the story for Atletico Baleares is how they have won again, maintaining a gap at the top of the league. This weekend however, for the first time in nine games, the islanders dropped points, with a 0-0 draw coming after a visit to Atletico Madrid B. A battle of the top two in the league, there was nothing to separate the two teams. Jordan Holsgrove started the game and after scoring last week, would have been looking to add to his goal tally once again, but was unable to help his side get in front before being substituted with just under twenty-five minutes to go. Baleares still maintain a five-point gap at the top of the league though.

Hamilton’s disciplinary record this season has been poor, and that trend continued on Saturday when they picked up another red card in a 2-2 draw away at Kilmarnock. The visitors were cruising, 2-0 up after 25 minutes, but a red card a few minutes later and the ten men could not hold on to their winning position, conceding goals either side of half time. Luke Southwood was once again an unused sub in this game.

KSV Roeselare picked up an important win in the Belgian second tier last weekend, defeating Lokeren 2-1, as other teams around them picked up points too. The hosts were 1-0 down five minutes into the second half, but a goal on 65 minutes, followed by a 94th-minute winner, meant the strugglers picked up all three points. Tom Holmes was an unused sub in this game.