CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND-UP: WEEK ONE
There were shocks, goals and no little drama on opening weekend
reviews the season’s opening 12 fixtures - 11 of which came on the back of the Bluebirds' Friday night draw at Ewood Park. Leah NedahlThe Championship is back – and providing shocks and coupon-busters in week one!
Brentford 1-1 Charlton Athletic
took on Greenwich side Charlton Athletic at Griffin Park on Saturday. Brentford were marking their first appearance in the second tier since 1993 and managed to secure a hard-earned 1-1 draw; Mark Warburton’s team looked noticeably slicker this season, with fans confident that a mid-table finish isn’t beyond the Bees. Although there were flashes of dominance, the first 45 went without much to talk about, but this was remedied in the 63 minute when Charlton’s Igor Vetokele headed the ball into the net. Brentford equalized on 84 minutes when former Cardiff City player Tommy Smith put his new team on an equal footing.BrentfordHounslow-based
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday
Giles Coke scored the only goal of the match for the Owls claim a win over the Seagulls. Coke’s strike came on 40 minutes, allowing his team to feel comfortably in control before half-time in a game that had seen Brighton looking strong. But although they won their opener, Sheffield Wednesday’s plans to undergo a squad revamp has been somewhat delayed, with the club only succeeding in recruiting two players over the summer (Westwood and Hutchinson). Four yellow cards and a red marred this game, with four of the bookings going to Brighton players.
Derby County 1-0 Rotherham United
Newly-promoted Rotherham United were subjected to a harsh defeat, losing out to East Midlands team Derby County at their iPro Stadium. Rams player Jeff Hendrick sent his team into the lead in the 82nd minute - a blow to the Millers, who battled throughout even though they had poor possession overall (33% to Derby’s 67%).
Huddersfield Town 0-4 Bournemouth
Bournemouth got their season off to a thrilling start with a 4-0 win over Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium. Eddie Howe’s team showed that they would make a habit of scoring after just 25 seconds into the game. Marc Pugh’s superb early opener was followed by debutant Callum Wilson scoring twice (32’, 64’) - along with an early second half effort from Yann Kermogant (50’). It would mean for a parting of the ways between the Terriers and manager, Mark Robins.
Ipswich Town 2-1 Fulham
Fulham’s fresh young side learned a harsh lesson at Portman Road as they lost 2-1 to Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town. The recently relegated Premier League club, unbeaten in their last five opening day matches, couldn’t keep The Blues at bay despite looking confident to begin with and dominating possession by 66% to 34%. On 32 minutes, Ipswich’s Daryl Murphy scored, giving his team the upper hand and boosting hopes. Fulham’s strikers took time getting into the game, only managing to put pressure on their opponents in spurts. Ipswich got their second goal from David McGoldrick, who has been out of action with an injury for the past six months. A late rally from Fulham led to a goal at 86 minutes from Tim Hoogland, though it wasn’t enough to deny Ipswich the points.
Middlesbrough 2-0 Birmingham City
Middlesbrough got their campaign off to a superb start with a 2-0 home win over Birmingham City at the Riverside Stadium. Birmingham’s Lee Clark had signed 11 new players in time for the Championship opener; unfortunately for him, they looked a little unprepared and at times helpless as sharp Spanish wonder-boy striker Enrique Garcia Martinez (a.k.a. Kike) and his team-mates dominated. Daniel Ayala scored a terrific header in the 33 minute, with deft control from Kike to finish off the opposition at 66. The match saw excellent performances from Boro’s Omeruo (on loan from Chelsea) and Lee Tomlin. New ‘keeper Tomas Mejias Osorio was under-used, as Birmingham failed to get anywhere near Middlesbrough’s danger zone.
Millwall 2-0 Leeds United
Mark Beevers scored for Millwall after just eight minutes, setting the stage at the Den for his team’s 2-0 win over Leeds. Millwall’s former Celtic player Scott McDonald was at the heart of the game, never far from chances to score. Leeds lacked fluidity and precision, while their opponents had the ideal opportunity to make headway – and they certainly took it. Shaun Williams scored at 88, with Ian Holloway’s Lions claiming a confident win.
Nottingham Forest 2-0 Blackpool
Despite a trying summer at Bloomfield Road, Jose Riga’s Blackpool looked good in the opening 20 minutes. But it didn’t last long at the City Ground, as Nottingham Forest took the advantage and on 25 minutes, former Sheffield Wednesday winger Michail Antonio scored. Shortly later, at 30’, former Bluebirds Chris Burke, assisted by Jack Hunt (on loan from Crystal Palace), got the second goal, putting paid to any hopes the Tangerines had. New Forest Manager, Stuart Pearce, who has a long history with the Reds, was thrilled with the win and vowed that the club will do its best to continue on the path to glory.
Watford 3-0 Bolton Wanderers
Watford took on Bolton Wanderers in what ended as a fruitful league opener for the Hornets with a superb 3-0 win for the Hertfordshire team at their Vicarage Road Stadium. Watford were raring to go from the first minute and their enthusiasm paid-off, with new Captain Troy Deeney scoring on 16 minutes for an early lead. At 22 minutes, Matej Vydra got the second goal, meaning that Watford were well in control and on their way to the three points. A second-half stunner from Forestieri left Bolton fans feeling frustrated and disappointed.
Wigan Athletic 2-2 Reading
A late Wigan equaliser prevented Reading from securing victory at the DW Stadium. The Royals, who showed promise for the season in the second half, put pressure on the home side time and again - but just couldn’t pull away far enough to secure a third goal. Wigan’s Callum McManaman put Wigan ahead after 26 minutes, with Cummings and Morrison responding by scoring just 6 minutes apart in the second half (70’, 76’ respectively). Scotsman James McArthur scored a second goal for his team three minutes into injury time though, with the frantic finish resulting in a frustrating draw for Reading.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Norwich City
Wolves hosted Norwich City at Molineux and it was a lively start, even though the first half saw both teams struggle to get into attack mode. Wolves had the upper hand when it came to possession (58% to 42%) in a game that was beset with fouls from both sides. In the 60th minute, Olsson was shown a red card, leaving his team a man down and looking less and less likely to triumph. At 64 minutes, Welshman Dave Edwards headed the ball into the net and it proved the only goal of the game for a side that was two tiers below their opponents back in May.