Winners and Losers

San Marino made history and Roy Keane was as brutal as ever as Ali Rampling reflects on the winners and losers in the world of football.


San Marino

Source: @Oddschanger

Minnows San Marino made history in the Nations League on Saturday during their 0-0 thriller with Gibraltar. The two sides mustered a full one shot on target over the course of the 90 minutes, but the stalemate was a momentous occasion for San Marino.

The national team have famously won just one match in their history – a 1-0 win over Liechtenstein in a 2004 friendly. Having held the same opponents to a goalless draw in an October Nations League fixture, San Marino’s point against Gibraltar marked the first time the team had ever gone two games without defeat.

San Marino even managed to record their historic consecutive draw despite being reduced to 10 men for 41 minutes following Davide Simoncini’s dismissal. Captain Dante Rossi was reduced to tears at full time such was the magnitude of his country’s achievement.

MK Dons

MK Dons travelled to Sunderland on Saturday sitting one point above the drop zone and without a win away from home in their last 20 – a run stretching back to September 2019.

Opponents Sunderland are the division’s big fish, had lost just once all season and could have moved into the automatic promotion places with victory.

The hosts led through a Max Power strike, but this was cancelled out by Cameron Jerome’s header inside the opening 16 minutes. The visitors hit the winner from the penalty spot shortly after the restart, with Scott Fraser converting from 12 yards after he had been brought down by Power to end MK Dons’ 14-month wait for a league win away from home – and at the most unlikely of places.

Tranmere Rovers

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It’s not been a joyous five months for Tranmere. The Merseyside outfit were relegated to League Two by virtue of points-per-game in June, and their slow start to life back in the fourth tier resulted in manager Mike Jackson being shown the door at the end of October.

However, they gave supporters a match to cherish during Saturday’s league trip to Port Vale. Tranmere had been 2-0 down inside 25 minutes via a Tom Conlon penalty and a slick set piece, David Amoo applying the finishing touch.

Rovers pulled themselves level in the second half thanks to James Vaughan’s brace after Vale’s Luke Joyce was given his marching orders, but the 10-man hosts re-took the lead through Devante Rodney 15 minutes from time.

The game had a final twist in stoppage time as Kaiyne Woolery grabbed another equaliser for Tranmere in the 93rd minute, before Kieron Morris netted in the sixth minute of injury time to bring the three points back to Prenton Park and conclude a seven-goal thriller in style.


Katie McCabe

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The Republic of Ireland captain put in a typically robust shift as Arsenal ended their run of six straight defeats against rivals Chelsea with a 1-1 draw in the WSL on Sunday.

McCabe’s perfectly timed sliding tackle to prevent Sam Kerr flying clean through on goal was a particular highlight, but the left back was also on the receiving end of a thumping challenge from Erin Cuthbert as the pair jostled for the ball.

McCabe was sent thudding onto the Boreham Wood turf, and received absolutely zero sympathy from her partner – Leicester’s Ruesha Littlejohn – who took to Twitter to comment: “Cheers Erin Cuthbert send me ur bank details I’ll transfer you that tenner.”

Shrewsbury Town

The Shrews are not renowned for their free scoring football, having found the net just seven times in their opening 10 League One fixtures this season.

However, they scored three league goals for the first time in almost 12 months against Swindon on Saturday – but still failed to come away with all three points.

Shrewsbury led 2-0 and 3-1 but conceded a 93rd minute Matthew Smith equaliser to give Swindon a share of the spoils..

It is just the second time in the last year that Shrewsbury have scored more than three league goals in a game. The other previous occasion was against Bristol Rovers in November 2019 – the Shrews lost 4-3.

Etrit Berisha

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Albania ran out 3-1 winners over Kazakhstan in the Nations League on Sunday, but Albania goalkeeper Etrit Berisha got a bit carried away after his side took a 2-0 lead after 23 minutes.

Berisha was caught casually lingering on the edge of his box as Kazakhstan restarted play, and midfielder Aybol Abiken took full advantage of the Albania number one’s lack of concentration by audaciously floating the ball over his head from inside his own half straight from kick off.

Berisha desperately back-peddled and ended up in the back of his own net as the ball crossed the line. ITV pundit Roy Keane opted to not give the goalkeeper the benefit of the doubt, stating: “You’d never forgive him.”

Follow Ali on Twitter @AliRampling

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