Josh Simpson
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Canadian Exports: Simpson ends Manisaspor stint with goal

What a strange 24 hours it’s been for Josh Simpson.

The 28-year-old attacker scored what is likely his final goal for Manisaspor on Monday, during a deflating 2-1 loss to visiting Fenerbahçe. Simpson’s 61st-minute strike brought the hosts level after Fenerbahçe had opened the scoring just moments earlier, but a crazy series of goalmouth bounces in stoppage time provided the winner for the away side.

On Tuesday, Manisaspor announced that Simpson — the club’s leading scorer last season — had terminated his contract with the team due to a salary dispute. According to a statement released by the club, Simpson cited unpaid wages as the reason for ending his pact with the Turkish side, while Manisaspor has denied his claims and is considering legal action against their former player.

Needless to say, it could get messy.

Lost in the legal tug-of-war between Simpson and Manisaspor is the fact that fellow Canadian international Mike Klukowski is still with the club, and he also went 90 minutes in the loss to Fenerbahçe.

Not to be forgotten is goalkeeper Milan Borjan, who is still on the books at Turkish Süper Lig side Sivasspor but hasn’t suited up for weeks. He was nowhere to be seen, again, in Sivasspor’s 3-0 victory over Ankaragücü on Sunday, and is said to be looking for another club.

There was far less off-pitch drama over in England, where David “Junior” Hoilett made his return to the Blackburn Rovers lineup on Saturday. Hoilett, who had missed the past few weeks with a leg injury, played the full 90 minutes of Blackburn’s 3-1 win versus Fulham.

The victory pulls Blackburn out of the cellar and clear of the relegation zone for the time being.

The winning ways extended to Simeon Jackson’s Norwich City, which grabbed three road points in a 2-1 win at West Brom. Jackson started and played 68 minutes in the victory, which saw Norwich move into ninth place in the Premier League standings.

In the English second tier, Burnley continued their fine recent form with a 2-0 victory at Middlesbrough. Defender David Edgar went his customary 90 minutes in the shutout, as Burnley climbed to 10th in the Championship.

Up in Scotland’s Premier League, young attacker Marcus Haber did not etch his name on the scoresheet but was still influential for St. Johnstone as the Saints hosted SPL giants Rangers over the weekend.

In the first half, it looked like Haber had put the hosts ahead with a coolly slotted finish, but he was judged to have been slightly offside. After Rangers had taken a 1-0 lead, Haber met a cross in the visitors penalty area and powered a header toward goal that deflected off opposing defender Carlos Bocanegra and into the Rangers net.

Unfortunately for the home side, Rangers would put the game out of reach with another goal in the final 10 minutes, edging out a 2-1 victory for the Glasgow club.

On the other side of the world in Australia’s A-League, winger Issey Nakajima-Farran featured for the Brisbane Roar in their 2-1 win over Sydney FC on Saturday. The 27-year-old started and played 57 minutes for Brisbane, who look to have overcome a lengthy year-end slump with a four-game unbeaten streak to start 2012.

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