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05th Nov 2023

Killian Phillips ends crazy week with big goal as Finn Azaz scores a blinder

Patrick McCarry

After a week of unwanted noise, the midfielder bagged his first goal of the season.

Killian Phillips proved he could shut out the noise by scoring in a man-of-the-match performance to help his side reach the second round of the FA Cup. Nathan Collins was the match-winner for Brentford, against West Ham, while there were Championship goals for Finn Azaz, Georgie Kelly and Alan Browne.

Last weekend, and for the early stretch of last week, Phillips had to endure social media abuse, as well as heckles from the stands and the UK media harrumphing about him. The Ireland U21 star, who is on loan at Wycombe Wanderers from Crystal Palace, opted not to link arms with teammates during a Remembrance Day tribute, at Oxford United.

That personal stance generate a slew of articles and headlines, but Phillips shut all that external noise out to help his side beat Bradford. He scored in the first half after a crisp, low strike, was lively throughout, and almost added a second, late on, as Wycombe beat Bradford 2-1.

In the Premier League, meanwhile, Nathan Collins was also on the scoresheet for his new club.

The Ireland international rose well and powered in a header that helped turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead. The Bees held on to leapfrog the Hammers in the league standings. They are now in ninth, just two points off Manchester United.

Killian PhillipsKillian Phillips of Republic of Ireland U21s. (Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile)

Praise for Killian Phillips

Following that win for Wycombe over Bradford, Wanderers boss Matt Bloomfield had some glowing praise for Killian Phillips.

“Killian was due a goal,” he commented. “His performance levels have been very good but all he was missing was a goal. He finally got that and nearly got another, near the end.”

Premier League and Championship sides do not get filtered into the FA Cup until the third round, so Plymouth Argyle took on Middlesbrough in league action, on Saturday.

The Pilgrims played out a 3-3 draw with a Boro side managed by former Manchester United and England midfielder, Michael Carrick. Finn Azaz was loaned to Plymouth, from Aston Villa, for all of last season and scored eight times in 34 league appearances as the club was promoted from League One.

Plymouth went back to Aston Villa to request his loan deal be extended. The Ireland U21 star is impressing, despite the step-up from third to second tier of English football. He has scored three goals in 17 appearances, so far, this season and his latest was an absolute corker. With the scores tied at 1-1, Azaz cut instead his marker, used a defender as a screen and curled home a lovely goal.

That goal put Plymouth 2-1 ahead but they fell 3-2 behind before Morgan Whittaker equalised in the 77th minute.  The result leaves Plymouth in 18th, no far from the relegation places, while Middlesbrough are 11th.

Elsewhere in the Championship, former Bohemians striker Georgie Kelly scored an equaliser for Rotherham against QPR while Alan Browne slotted home a penalty in Preston’s 3-2 win over Coventry City. Gavin Bazunu kept a clean sheet for ever-improving Southampton as they climbed to fourth in the table.

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