SA players in action


However, while there was joy for Benni McCarthy and Aaron Mokoena (pictured) after Blackburn Rovers’ fine 4-2 English Premiership win against Reading, Steven Pienaar watched sadly from the bench as Everton conceded a last-minute penalty which gave Liverpool a 2-1 victory in their Merseyside derby.

Mokoena was not called from the sidelines, nor was Andrew Surman, whose Southampton side jumped seven places in the Championship after a great 1-0 win over Cardiff at the coast.

The Saints are now just outside the play-off zone, and there was also some welcome relief for Sheffield Wednesday supporters and Burton O’Brien as the Owls scored twice in the last five minutes to defeat Stoke City 4-2 away, to move off the bottom of the log.

O’Brien had a shot blocked in the 3rd minute, and twenty minutes later put a neat cross over for a teammate to head home the second goal.

Justin Miller came up against his former club, Leyton Orient but yet again Port Vale failed despite leading 1-0 at half time - the Valiants succumbing to three goals in seven second-half minutes. With their 3-1 loss, they are now languishing at the foot of the League One table with only eight points.

In League Two, Milton Keynes Don’s Bally Smart came on as a substitute in the 76th minute, and shortly afterwards his team scored their winning goal at Hereford to maintain pole position.

Glynn Hurst, who had a quiet home game for Bury, came off just before the end as Shrewsbury held the Shakers to a 1-1 draw before a crowd of only 2 667.

There was also plenty of action in the Non-League arena, with Warren Goodhind’s Ebbsfleet United recording a good 3-1 Conference win against lowly Altrincham, while Paul Evans’ Bath City dropped to fifth after going down 1-0 to Basingstoke in the Conference South.

In the same division, Paul Harris’ Eastleigh beat Lewes 3-0.

North of the border in Scotland, Chad Harper watched from the sidelines as Kilmarnock was held to a 1-1 draw by Falkirk in a Premier League game.

In the Second Division, Graeme Brown’s Alloa Athletic put two goals into Peterhead’s net and moved up to third position.