We dissect some of the key talking points from a busy day of action across 33 games in the Championship, League One and League Two
It’s been another busy day across the EFL.
In total there were 33 games taking place and plenty of headlines were thrown up.
There have been some stand-out results such as Blackburn Rovers’ 5-1 evisceration of Cardiff City. Ben Brereton Diaz led the way for Rovers with a hat-trick against Mick McCarthy’s, who have now lost three in a row.
Elsewhere, Stoke City continued their fine start to the campaign with a 2-0 home win over Hull and promotion-chasing Fulham were denied a win late on at Bristol City in a game that finished 1-1.
Here, we look at five key talking points to emerge.
And then there were two
Just two of the 92 teams in the EFL remain unbeaten.
Last night saw West Brom come tantalisingly close to surrendering their tag, having to come from behind against QPR before sealing a victory that sent them top of the Championship.
Today, Bournemouth kept up their side of the bargain. Scott Parker’s side overcame a plucky Luton team, sealing a narrow 2-1 win.
Philip Billing and Dominic Solanke struck in the first half, and despite Reece Burke halving the arrears for the visitors they couldn’t force an equaliser.
Even more sweet for the Cherries was that the win saw them leapfrog Albion into top spot. They now have a two-goal buffer.
Cooper’s Forest bow
Steve Cooper became the latest man to step into the ever-revolving Nottingham Forest hotseat when he replaced Chris Hughton.
And so far, so good. He said all the right things in the build-up to his first game.
And whilst his debut match in charge might not have delivered the win he craved, a 1-1 draw against battle-hardened Millwall is not to be sniffed at.
He was afforded a warm reception pre-match by the City Ground supporters and they will have been pleased with some bright football in the opening half hour.
But Millwall were here to be party poopers and Matt Smith kept up his fine record of scoring against Forest with a header.
Cooper’s ideas will naturally take a while to come across but he will have been pleased with how his new side responded to going behind – Max Lowe’s somewhat fortunate effort ensuring spoils were shared.
Family affair at the Lane
Today’s game between Sheffield United and Derby County had plenty of issues bubbling away in the background.
But ignoring Derby’s ongoing troubles, there was another fascinating sub-plot at play.
United’s George Baldock, 28, was coming up against his older brother Sam, 32.
Rams’ striker Sam had a half-chance in the first half whilst George was keeping busy bombing up and down the right flank, but the game was evenly poised just as it approached the hour mark.
Then Derby goalkeeper Kelle Roos was sent off for bringing down Billy Sharp. A reshuffle saw Wayne Rooney haul off Baldock senior shortly after.
But Derby were defending stoutly and just when it looked as though spoils were going to be shared, the Blades only went and snatched victory.
Curtis Davies’ handball in the area was penalised, and Sharp fired home a late winner from the spot to ensure George had the last laugh over his sibling.
Familiar names in unfamiliar settings
Charlton Athletic v Portsmouth, Ipswich Town v Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland v Bolton Wanderers.
Go back a fair few years and these fixtures would not have looked out of place in the Premier League.
Yet the stark reality for all six clubs is that they now ply their trade in the third tier of English football.
Some have been there for a good while too.
Sunderland and Portsmouth are in their fourth successive year here, Charlton are spending their fourth year out of the last five in such surroundings.
The attendances at all three games today were more than respectable for the division above, perhaps even the top flight.
Unfortunately, come the end of the season it is a blunt fact that at least three of these teams will still be in this division – although it is more likely to be four or five.
Tranmere’s frugal ways continue
If you want to see goals this season then perhaps give games involving Tranmere Rovers a swerve.
Micky Mellon’s side sealed an impressive point on the road today, drawing 0-0 at top-of-the-table Forest Green.
It was achieved despite a late red card for Calum MacDonald and keeps Rovers mid-table on 12 points.
But it also keeps up their remarkable record of being involved in matches with a dearth of goals.
So far this season they have scored four and conceded three, keeping a hugely impressive six clean sheets in that time.
Their league results so far read: 1-0 W, 0-0 D, 0-0 D, 1-0 L, 1-0 L, 1-0 W, 1-0 L, 2-0 W, 0-0 D.
If you’re doing a ‘both teams to score’ coupon next weekend, a word of warning to avoid selecting Rovers.
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