Mid-table Dijon were held at home to bottom side Metz on Saturday evening at the Stade Gaston Gérard in a 1-1 draw, with on-loan Sunderland man Papy Djilobodji receiving a straight red card in injury time for a horrendous, unnecessary two footed lunge from behind on forward Nolan Roux.
With the Senegalese defender behind his opponent and with no realistic chance of winning the ball, he dove off the ground with two feet raised, leaving his opponent crumpled in a heap.
Despite reports across the season suggesting that Djilobodji had in fact performed admirably since joining Olivier Dall’Oglio’s side, the rash, needless two-footed assault he carried out on Roux (which you can see in the video below) perhaps suggests that the old Papy that we know and love still comes out to play from time to time.
Elsewhere in France, Rennes were comfortable beaten by Marseille 3-0, with Wahbi Khazri bowing out of the game late in the first half due to injury. Since leaving Sunderland Khazri has found himself slotting comfortably in a role as a deep-lying striker, and has six goals from eleven starts for his new club.
Youngster Andrew Nelson continued his fine start to life at Falkirk with a lively performance for the Bairns in their 1-0 away win at Greenock Morton, putting in a hell of a shift which earned him praise from manager Paul Hartley;
Nelson is a handful, he probably should have scored. He had some good opportunities. But I tell you what he goes out there and works centre-backs. He takes the ball in and keeps it. Both Andrew and Louis Longridge have a really nice partnership going on and we’ve added Alex (Jakubiak) from Watford too, so the team is beginning to take shape now.
Nelson’s loan at the Falkirk Stadium runs until the completion of the Scottish Championship season, and still has one more year left on his current Sunderland contract.
Republic of Ireland U19 international goalkeeper James Talbot started again for Conference North side Darlington, who were left to rue their mistakes after taking an early lead when they managed to concede an equaliser in injury time - with Talbot the man at fault.
Heading into the completion of the game, Talbot was involved in an altercation with Alfreton’s Tom Allan and subsequently received a red card for his troubles, with Alfreton awarded a penalty kick in the process which was duly converted.
Talbot took to Twitter after the game to apologise to the Darlo supporters, insisting that whilst he knows what he did was wrong, he felt he was on the receiving end of some harsh decision-making from the officials.
Hold my hands up today. I was wrong for reacting like I did although I strongly disagree with the decision and with the linesman to have such a solid game and to do that at the end is my fault and I can only apologise for that.. @Official_Darlo— James Talbot (@jamestalbot197) January 13, 2018
Fellow U23 player Daniel Wright made his debut as a substitute for non-league South Shields on Saturday in their 5-1 home win over Mossley, playing alongside Sunderland legend Julio Arca in the Mariners midfield for the final half an hour of the game.
Wright - who scored two goals for our U23s last week in their victory over Derby County - signed for the South Tynesiders on a one-month contract on Friday night, just in time to make his first appearance for the club the following day.
Elsewhere, Poland U21 international Max Stryjek was yet again an unused substitute for League Two high-fliers Accrington Stanley in their 2-0 away win at Cheltenham. Despite starting in his first game for Lancashire club, the Polish stopper succumbed to injury just nine minutes into his debut and hasn’t featured since, only appearing in their Checkatrade Trophy games and for their U23s side. Stryjek’s deal with the club runs until the end of the season, and he’ll be hoping to feature more as the season progresses.
Fabio Borini’s AC Milan haven’t played since the 6th of January but, since the arrival of new head coach Gennaro Gattuso, the utility man has barely featured and it’s unclear just what his future with the Serie A club actually holds.
Jeremain Lens’ Besiktas have been on a winter break, but squeezed in a friendly on Friday afternoon at home to Albanian Superliga side Skënderbeu Korçë, which they won 3-2 thanks to two goals from Mustafa Pektemek and one from former Middlesbrough and Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo.
Crisis-club Hartlepool United had a break from action this past weekend, but Michael Ledger may well find himself playing in front of a massive crowd for the Monkey Hangers this coming weekend when they take on Wrexham at Victoria Park.
The Hartlepool public will be out in force to support the club after news emerged last week that they’re facing financial ruin if they can’t pay their bills this month, which apparently total around £200,000.