Canadian Exports: Hoilett the hero for Blackburn
David (Junior) Hoilett rescued Blackburn Rovers from a loss at home with a first-half injury-time strike last Saturday, pulling his side level with visiting Birmingham City.
Hoilett was a bundle of energy from the opening whistle, and his tenacity was rewarded in the seventh minute of stoppage when the young Canadian striker forced Birmingham defender Liam Ridgewell into a turnover and then rounded the 'keeper before coolly slotting home the equalizer.
The 20-year-old subbed off to a great round of applause in the 69th minute as his goal helped keep Blackburn out of the Premier League’s relegation zone for another week.
Down a division in the Championship, striker Iain Hume scored yet again for Preston North End, his sixth goal in as many matches for the club. Hume opened the scoring in PNE’s match against hosts Portsmouth, finding the net just after the half-hour mark.
Unfortunately for Preston, Portsmouth evened things up with a second-half goal of their own, bringing the game to its final 1-1 score line. PNE are still likely to drop down to League One as they are seven points from safety with just six matches remaining, but the past few weeks have certainly been exciting thanks in no small part to Hume’s torrid form.
[inline_node:332969]Another Canuck striker saw game action in the Championship, with Simeon Jackson (at right) coming on as a halftime substitute for Norwich City. The Canaries were already down 3-0 to fellow promotion candidates Swansea at that point, and they had hoped that last week’s hat-trick hero had some more magic up his sleeve.
It was not to be for Jackson and Norwich, though, as the score remained unchanged when the final whistle was blown.
Over in Denmark, Issey Nakajima-Farran started and played just over an hour for his team AC Horsens in a Danish Superliga contest with Aalborg. The midfielder/forward was shown a yellow in the 57th minute, and his side managed to grab a road point in a 0-0 deadlock.
Also in the Danish top tier, veteran Patrice Bernier was in the starting lineup for FC Nordsjælland in their 2-0 victory over SønderjyskE. Bernier had to leave the match after 30 minutes due to a hamstring strain, a precautionary measure given that he had just worked his way back into the side after a lengthy injury spell.
Elsewhere in Scandinavia, goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld went the distance in Vålerenga’s 1-0 loss to Stabæk. The result puts Vålerenga into a seven-way tie at second on the Norwegian Tippeligaen table, although it’s still very early in the season.
In Finland, former Vancouver Whitecaps player Mason Trafford was in the lineup for the full 90 minutes as his side IFK Mariehamn demolished second-division LPS in Finnish Cup play, winning 8-0. Trafford was a member of the Whitecaps for two seasons in Vancouver’s USL days.
Another former Whitecap, Adam Straith, saw nearly a half hour of 2.Bundesliga action for FC Energie Cottbus, his club falling 4-0 to TSV 1860 Munich. Straith was a member of the Whitecaps Residency program until a 2009 transfer sent him to the German club.
Marcel de Jong also featured for his 2.Bundesliga team FC Augsburg, playing just over an hour at left back in a scoreless draw with SpVgg Greuther Fürth.
[inline_node:329610]Over in Holland, Atiba Hutchinson (at right) and PSV Eindhoven had to settle for a 2-2 draw with visiting Heerenveen. Hutchinson logged his usual 90 minutes in the middle of the park for PSV, who sit just behind FC Twente at the top of the Eredivisie standings.
PSV also played a midweek Europa League quarterfinal game at Benfica, with the Dutch side falling 4-1 in the first leg. Hutchinson went the distance in that match, as well.
Meanwhile, Josh Simpson’s Manisaspor played to a 0-0 draw at Konyaspor in the Turkish league, with Simpson starting and playing the first 49 minutes.
Draws seemed to be the order of the day for many Canadian midfielders over the weekend, with Daniel Imhof also seeing action an a deadlocked match as his FC St. Gallen traded goals with Neuchâtel Xamax in a 1-1 draw in Switzerland.
A Canadian midfielder whose side didn’t draw this week was Pedro Pacheco, as his team Santa Clara lost 2-1 to Portuguese Liga de Hondra leaders UD Oliveirense. Pacheco went 90 minutes in that one.
Finally, veteran striker and former Canadian international Tomasz Radzinski played the whole game for Lierse SK as the side lost a Belgian Europa League playoff match 2-1 to Mechelen. The 37-year-old was Lierse’s leading scorer in the Jupiler League this past season, helping the team stay in the top division.