Loan watch: Maitland-Niles enjoys crucial win

Ainsley Maitland-Niles playing for Southampton against Leicester

Ainsley Maitland-Niles helped Southampton to a precious victory on Saturday as the Saints beat Leicester City to move off the bottom of the Premier League.

Our on-loan defender secured a second clean sheet from three league matches since Ruben Selles replaced Nathan Jones in the dugout, playing the full 90 minutes as Carlos Alcaraz’s goal secured a huge win for the hosts.

Also in Premier League action was Sambi Lokonga, however he couldn’t prevent Crystal Palace from falling to a 1-0 loss at Aston Villa - just his second loss in five outings so far for the Eagles.

In the top league of French football, Reims extended their 10-game unbeaten run in Ligue 1 thanks to a last-minute winner against Ajaccio, although Folarin Balogun couldn’t add to his 15-goal haul this term, while Nuno Tavares played the full 90 as Marseille beat Rennes 1-0 away from home to remain second in the table.

Over in Italy, Pablo Mari helped Monza continue their excellent first-ever campaign in Serie A as they beat Empoli 2-1 to climb into the top half, with our defender making his 19th appearance in their colours, while it was a good weekend for two of our shot-stoppers too, with Arthur Okonkwo keeping the second clean sheet of his time at Sturm Graz as they beat Austria Lustenau 2-0, while Alex Runarsson also remained unbeaten as Alanyaspor tasted victory against Basaksehir 

Mika Biereth returned from a two-month injury layoff to feature in the final stages of RKC Waalwijk’s 1-0 loss to PSV Eindhoven, while Marcelo Flores also saw action for the first time since Christmas as he played 57 minutes of Real Oviedo’s 1-0 loss at Mirandes.

Two of our loanees faced off in the Championship, as Omar Rekik helped Wigan Athletic climb off the bottom of the table by drawing 1-1 with Auston Trusty’s Birmingham City. The Tunisian international played 58 minutes of the contest, although there was no room in the Latics’ matchday squad for Miguel Azeez. Trusty played the full match, however his side are are now winless in five games.

Brooke Norton-Cuffy came on in the 70th minute of Coventry City’s 4-0 win at Huddersfield Town which moves the Sky Blues to within three points of the play-off places, while after his goalscoring exploits on his debut the previous week, Marquinhos was a late introduction in Norwich City’s 3-2 win at Millwall.

After missing the previous three games, Nathan Butler-Oyedeji played the first 71 minutes of Accrington Stanley’s 2-1 win against Forest Green Rovers to help edge them out of the League One relegation spots.

Mazeed Ogungbo came on for the final few stages of Crawley Town’s 1-0 loss at Northampton Town which was their fifth-straight loss and leaves them in the League Two relegation zone, now three points behind Taylor Foran’s Hartlepool United for whom the defender played all of their 1-1 draw at Tranmere Rovers.

In the National League, Tim Akinola helped Chesterfield finally end their wait for a win at the 10th attempt, as they defeated Gateshead 2-1 to keep their play-off hopes intact.

Up in Scotland, Ryan Alebiousu experienced playing at Ibrox for the second time this season, but once again found himself on the losing side as Kilmarnock were defeated 3-1 to Rangers, with Ryan taken off at half-time. His team are now 11th in the table, having not won in four matches,

Alex Kirk’s Ayr United slipped further away from Scottish Championship title contention after losing 2-1 to Inverness, leaving them eight points behind leaders Queens Park, with the defender once again playing the full 90 minutes.

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