A new calendar year began in the EFL and there were some players who started it with a bang…
Nathan Bishop – Southend United v Gillingham
Southend United got back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory against Gillingham in Sky Bet League One, no small part down to goalkeeper Nathan Bishop.
The result could have been so much different if not for some vital saves from the 19-year-old, most notably against the prolific goal-scoring figure of Tom Eaves.
Mark Connolly – Crawley Town v Colchester United
After Crawley were reduced to 10 men in the first half of their game against Play-Off chasers, you need players to step up and be counted, and that’s exactly what Mark Connolly did. The defender was awarded Man of the Match for his display, after leading his side to a clean sheet in a 2-0 win.
Ben Williams – Luton Town v Barnsley
You know you are always in for a difficult game when you visit Luton, but that seemed to spur on young Barnsley defender Ben Williams. The Welshman controlled the back line and kept the partnership of James Collins and Danny Hylton quiet on the day, which saw the Tykes pick up a valuable point at Kenilworth Road.
Charlie Mulgrew – Blackburn Rovers v West Bromwich Albion
You would associate eight Sky Bet Championship goals at this stage of the season with an attacking player, but try telling that to Blackburn Rovers captain Charlie Mulgrew. The Scottish international got on the scoresheet against West Brom, as his left-footed corner flew over everyone and found the bottom corner of Sam Johnstone’s goal, which ultimately helped Rovers to a 2-1 victory at Ewood Park.
Archie Collins – Swindon Town v Exeter City
Archie Collins and Exeter City kept up themselves in the Sky Bet League Two Play-Off places with a well-deserved 2-0 win over Richie Wellens’ Swindon Town. Collins was impressive throughout and also managed to score a curling effort from just outside the box.
Jack Colback – Nottingham Forest v Leeds United
It was a New Year’s Day to remember for Jack Colback as he netted two goals against Championship leaders Leeds United. The former Newcastle United man rounded goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell to give Forest the lead after five minutes, and scored again in the second period to pull the topsy-turvy game back level with 20 minutes remaining, as Forest went on to win.
Ruben Lameiras – Plymouth Argyle v Oxford United
With the help of two Ruben Lameiras strikes, it was a happy New Year for Argyle fans as the Pilgrims lifted themselves of the bottom of the League One table. The highlight of the attacker’s afternoon was a wonderful solo goal to put the hosts 3-0 up in-front of 10,223 people at Home Park.
Kamil Grosicki – Hull City v Bolton Wanderers
There was a mauling at the KCOM Stadium as Hull City put six past struggling Bolton. Kamil Grosicki earns his place in the Team of the Week after his two sensational strikes, which lifted the tigers to 13th in the league standings.
John Marquis – Doncaster Rovers v Rochdale
Marquis certainly enjoyed his New Year’s Day, finding the back of the net on two occasions. His double, alongside goals from Alfie May, Ali Crawford and James Coppinger saw Rovers thump Rochdale 5-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium, subsequently lifting Grant McCann’s side into the League One Play-Offs.
Lee Novak – Peterborough United v Scunthorpe United
The biggest shock of the day in League One came at the ABAX Stadium as Scunthorpe United saw off Play-Off chasers Peterborough United by two goals to nil. Lee Novak’s two cool but clinical finishes gave the Iron three valuable points as Stuart McCall’s side continue their fight against relegation.
Billy Sharp – Wigan Athletic v Sheffield United
It was a record-breaking day for Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp; his clinical finish inside the six-yard box not only gave the Blades three points over Wigan Athletic, but also made him the top scorer in England’s top four division this century. Sharp followed up goals from David McGoldrick and Mark Duffy to put Chris Wilder’s side within two points of the automatic promotion places, but it was his 220th league goal that saw him take over the former holder, Rickie Lambert.
Paul Tisdale – MK Dons v Cambridge United
MK Dons set League Two alight on New Year’s Day with a 6-0 demolition of Cambridge United at Stadium MK. Two goals apiece from Kieran Agard and Rhys Healey set Tisdale’s side well on their way to three points, and Chuks Aneke and Osman Sow also got in on the act as they cut Lincoln City’s lead at the top of League Two to four points.