EFL: Love at first bite and a baby hat-trick among five things you may have missed

By James LawBBC Sport
Declan Rudd, Adam Davies and Chris Basham (left to right)
Declan Rudd, Adam Davies and Chris Basham (left to right) all had good reasons not to play on Saturday

The 'mini Beast from the East', Saint Patrick's Day and the Six Nations finale were overriding themes on Saturday, but 32 games were also played across the English Football League.

Those matches brought tales of red card misery, a baby hat-trick and a case of love at first bite in Swindon.

BBC Sport takes you through five things that may have escaped your attention.

'The second kid normally pops out quick'

Declan Rudd's Instagram page
Declan Rudd posted a picture with his newborn son Luca on his Instagram page

It's not uncommon for a player to miss a game to be at the birth of a child, but three in one afternoon is quite unusual.

Goalkeepers Declan Rudd and Adam Davies, of Preston and Barnsley respectively, and Sheffield United's Chris Basham were all excused from Championship games to support their partners through the process.

"It's their second kid so normally it pops out pretty quick but it's not happened this time," Preston boss Alex Neil told BBC Radio Lancashire of Rudd's imminent arrival.

"They were in labour from late last night until today - it's taken its time so unfortunately he couldn't make it."

Good news Alex, your keeper has become father of a baby boy - and as a goalkeeper Declan should be a safe pair of hands.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder had to amend his plans at short notice when Basham's new arrival decided to put in an early appearance.

"I got a call off Bash this morning saying he had to shoot up to Newcastle because his wife was just about to give birth. That was a change we didn't expect because the baby was due in the international break," he told BBC Radio Sheffield.

Brown gets teeth into new job

Phil Brown smiles on the sidelines
Brown has a fine set of gnashers but perhaps Matt Taylor should steer clear

Remembered for his infamous half-time team talk on the pitch while at Hull, Phil Brown marked his return to the dug-out by masterminding Swindon's victory over Cambridge in League Two.

He dedicated the result to midfielder Matt Taylor, who had one game as player-boss before he took over, while possibly revealing some hitherto unpublicised vampiric tendencies.

"I've bled him dry this week, I've sucked everything out of him," Brown told BBC Radio Wiltshire.

"The enthusiasm of Matty Taylor this week has been infectious. It's been brilliant for me and brilliant for the players."

Maybe it'll be love at first bite for Brown and the Robins.

Rubbing salt into the wounds

Jake Clarke-Salter (left) in action before being sent off
Sunderland have had six red cards in 22 games under manager Chris Coleman

You've served a three-game ban for a straight red card and your team have continued to struggle in your absence - Sunderland defender Jake Clarke-Salter must have been keen to make up for lost time on his return from suspension against Preston.

However, the Chelsea loanee suffered the same fate, sent off for two bookable offences on the hour mark of a 2-0 defeat for the Black Cats, who remain bottom of the Championship and without a win in 10 games.

His boss Chris Coleman was looking to take Clarke-Salter off, but was beaten to it as his man left the pitch under the referee's orders.

"We're trying to get Jake Clarke-Salter off the pitch, he makes a mistake and gets sent off and we're down to 10 men," he told BBC Radio Newcastle.

"You're thinking here we go - it has been a common theme where it doesn't seem to go right."

In other red card news, Peterborough captain Jack Baldwin was dismissed at Oxford for the second season running, sent off in stoppage time of their 2-1 loss in League One.

Accrington Stanley win again - exactly

Accrington's Kayden Jackson on Twitter
Kayden Jackson scored in stoppage time to secure the points for Accrington

Luton have rightly gained admirers for their expansive style of play, but Accrington have quietly put themselves three points clear of their nearest rivals at the top of League Two with a game in hand.

A 3-1 win against Forest Green means they have won a remarkable 12 of their past 14 matches, taking 37 points from their last 42 available.

"We are finding ways to win at the moment," manager John Coleman said after an eighth successive home win.

"We responded when they scored and that's because the players have the belief and a steely determination at the moment."

Could Stanley be taking on the likes of Sunderland and Birmingham in the third tier next season?

A snow sequel

'The Beast from the East II', coming soon to a cinema near you...

The sequel to the original Beast from the East earlier this month claimed just one victim from the EFL fixture list, with Gillingham's game against Blackburn in League One postponed, though the snow did throw up some interesting subplots.

Birmingham and Hull play in the snow
Spot the ball competition, anyone? Birmingham's game against Hull was picture perfect
Bramall Lane
Several clubs painted their lines different colours to distinguish from the snow - I reckon that could become a thing...
Notts County chairman Alan Hardy sweeping the lines at Meadow Lane
Notts County chairman Alan Hardy mucked in to clear snow off the pitch, though his side went on to concede a 99th minute equaliser against Mansfield

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