The congested League One playoffs delivered more drama last week, with Norwich City loanees Sean Raggett and Sam McCallum right in the thick of it.
The two met on Tuesday night as Coventry City welcomed Portsmouth to St. Andrews, the former emerging 1-0 victors.
McCallum played every minute of that game as well as Saturday’s, in which the left wing-back contributed an assist for Callum O’Hare as Coventry beat Southend United 2-0. He was unlucky not to score, rattling the crossbar with a great free kick.
The Sky Blues are looking good for promotion, now second in the league, level on points (57) but with a game in hand on Rotherham United.
As for Pompey, they’ve forced Ipswich Town out of the playoff spots and sit sixth in League One on 53 points. The nine-game winning run came to an end with the aforementioned defeat to Coventry on Tuesday night, but Raggett and co more than made amends on the weekend.
Shrewsbury Town were the visitors at Fratton Park as Raggett delivered another Man of the Match performance, keeping a clean sheet and winning 2-0. The centre-back has now won the fan-voted MOTM award more times than any other Portsmouth player this season (five).
One tier down, Diallang Jaiyesimi was involved in Swindon Town’s 2-1 win away to Northampton Town – one that keeps them at the top of League Two by two points over Crewe Alexandra and three over Exeter City (who both have a game in hand).
There was only one other City loanee on a winning side this weekend, as Under-23s forward Isak Thorvaldsson made his debut for Fleetwood Town, coming on in the 84th minute of their 2-1 win at home to Peterborough United.
Fleetwood are also involved in the race for League One promotion, now eighth in the division, two points behind Portsmouth and one below Ipswich.
In the 2 Bundesliga, Phillip Heise was deployed in an attacking role on the left wing for 1. FC Nürnberg's 2-2 draw away to promotion pushing 1. FC Heidenheim. Heise notched an assist for Hanno Behrens, helping his side to 13th in the league and eight points off the bottom.
One of the few non-league games not to be called off courtesy of Storm Dennis was Braintree Town 0-0 Hemel Hempstead, with Billy Johnson keeping his first clean sheet for the former. Braintree are 18th and ten points from the bottom of the table.
Back in League One, Carlton Morris and Louis Thompson both played their part in Milton Keynes Dons’ 1-1 draw away to Lincoln City. Teammate Alex Gilbey told the media: “He’s ridiculous – I love playing alongside Carlton. Since he came in, I got a connection with him straight away - those are the sorts of players you love playing with.”
MK Dons moved up to 18th and are ten points clear of the relegation zone.
There was also a 1-1 stalemate for Charlie Gilmour in the Eerste Divisie, as SC Telstar achieved an impressive away draw at third-placed FC Volendam to remain eleventh in the league.
January signing Melvin Sitti was one of five City loanees to taste defeat last week, although he’ll feel hard done by with how it came about. FC Sochaux were 2-0 up away to Valenciennes when Sitti was substituted off. They ended up losing 3-2, a result that puts them eleventh in Ligue 2.
Akin Famewo played all of St. Mirren’s 2-1 defeat at Livingston on Wednesday, meaning they stay tenth in the Scottish Premiership on 22 points, just two above Hamilton Academical.
Nick Hayes also played the full 90 for Bury Town in the Isthmian League South, as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at Bedfont Sports, keeping them 16th and six points above the drop.
Mason Bloomfield continued his return from injury with 57 minutes in Crawley Town’s 2-1 defeat away to second-placed Crewe Alexandra in League Two. Crawley are 14th in the league and eleven points adrift of the playoffs.
Finally, Rocky Bushiri came back from suspension to feature in the final eight minutes of St. Truidense VV’s 1-0 home loss to bottom-placed Cercle Brugge in the Belgian First Division A. The club are 12th in the league and still 15 points ahead of Brugge.
Players not involved in matchday squads: Savvas Mourgos (FC Dordrecht), Caleb Richards (Yeovil Town), Daniel Barden (Bury Town)
Players whose teams didn’t play competitive matches: Louis Lomas (Tampa Bay Rowdies), Timi Odusina (Hartlepool), Alfie Payne/Simon Power (King’s Lynn Town), Aston Oxborough (Wealdstone FC)
Image credit: Jason Brown (Portsmouth FC), ProSportsImages (Crawley Town FC)