EFL: Tenderness, tackles and tributes among the things you may have missed

Craig Noone runs to celebrate with Stephen Darby
Craig Noone runs to celebrate with Stephen Darby after scoring

Forget the aggression, the physicality and the tribalism of football for a second. This round-up is unashamedly kicking off with tenderness.

Grab a tissue, and feel the love.

Here's the best of what you may have missed from Saturday's English Football League fixtures.

Heartfelt celebrations

Few Bolton goals at the University of Bolton Stadium, or the old Burnden Park for that matter, will have been hailed with such emotion as Craig Noone's winner against Derby County.

It was not a 35-yard-swerver; nor a spectacular bicycle kick. It was a routine header. The celebrations are what made it so special.

Having cutely nodded past Rams keeper Scott Carson, midfielder Noone hot-footed it to the stands, clambered up over the hoardings and gave his pal Stephen Darby a big hug.

Darby was forced to hang up his boots earlier this month after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

In the first game since the enforced retirement, Trotters players paid tribute to their team-mate before kick-off by each walking onto the pitch wearing shirts with the defender's name and number 23 on the back.

Stephen might not be out there anymore with his pals, but he's definitely still with them.

Togetherness spreads

Last weekend's helicopter airlift helped Stephen Croft get to hospital
Thankfully Stephen Croft, who was airlifted at Oakwell last weekend, has made progress in hospital

Just as Bolton's players came together to wish their teammate the best, so did Barnsley to pay tribute to volunteer Stephen Croft after he was taken to hospital last weekend.

Croft was airlifted before the visit of Burton to Oakwell last weekend, forcing the match to be postponed, but thankfully his condition has since improved.

The players paraded a shirt with Croft's name on the back, and were able to secure a win in his name, beating Fleetwood 3-1 thanks to goals from Jacob Brown, Kieffer Moore and Mamadou Thiam.

Meanwhile, Fleetwood's Sheffield-born goalscorer Harrison Biggins would have been a familiar name to visiting fans, as his father Wayne scored 16 goals in 47 games for the Tykes.

UN award not enough to win at Macclesfield

Forest Green Rovers
They might have a UN award but it was not enough to get all three points at bottom-side Macclesfield

Sometimes what do you as a football club, well, transcends football. Forest Green Rovers have done a pretty good job of rising through the ranks to become an EFL club after years in non-league.

But in winning a 'Momentum for Change' award for their commitment to sustainable living and being the 'greenest club in the world', they've leapt ahead of some of football's biggest brands.

Their success in fighting climate change have been matched by their results on the pitch as well, winning three and drawing six before Saturday's visit to strugglers Macclesfield Town.

However, not even the world's biggest humanitarian organisation could help them win at Macclesfield, though their unbeaten run does remain intact.

"It was always going to be a difficult game and we're very lucky to get a point," boss Mark Cooper told BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

Ipswich and Plymouth also failed to end their winless runs, despite scoring two goals apiece against Birmingham and Doncaster respectively, on a prolific day in the EFL.

Cattermole: Renaissance man?

Lee Cattermole
Lee Cattermole has scored three goals this term, his best return of goals for a season in his career

Lee Cattermole might be remodelling himself as some kind of free-scoring Renaissance Man for Sunderland this season, but it's good to know he's not forgotten his roots.

On an afternoon of contrasts, the 30-year-old midfielder scored his third goal of an impressive personal campaign - the best return of his 13-year career in a 1-1 draw with Coventry.

However, before that it was more familiar territory for the man who has made slide tackling an art-form when he reached his fifth yellow card of the season.

He was lucky to be let off about five minutes before in a typically all-action display, but then hauled down Conor Chaplin and was greeted by the familiar sight of the 'carton jaune'.

Five bookings, three goals, all before we get to October... good going Lee.

Getting a shout-out from the boss

Stevenage tweet
What a win... but not many fans got to witness the result after getting stuck

Football is one of the few things in life that will convince rational adults to climb aboard a coach and spend eight hours in the company of strangers.

Why would you do so otherwise, eh? If it weren't for the craic, the celebrations, the right to say 'Yes, I did go to Carlisle away'.

But what if you did go almost all the way to Carlisle, but didn't see the game? What could possibly make up for that disappointment?

It's a fate that befell Stevenage supporters on the club coach, which was denied progress by a weekend closure of the A66, and had to turn round and head back home.

It was enough to earn them a shout-out from the gaffer Dino Maamria at the very least, as they missed an impressive 1-0 win against the Cumbrians.

"That three points was for the fans who got stuck today," Maamria told BBC 3CR. "We almost played without any fans today.

"If they hear me then I'll give them that performance and that result today."

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