Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Championship Review – Matchday One

Deke Hardman in Editorial, English Championship 5 Aug 2019

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If the opening round of the Championship season is anything to go by, we are in for one hell of a campaign…

The action commenced on Friday evening with Luton Town and Middlesbrough sharing the spoils in a six-goal thriller – the perfect start to a weekend filled with goals, gaffes and talking points aplenty.

Leeds United wasted no time in bouncing back from their play-off disappointment as they eased past Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Sunday afternoon.

Pablo Hernandez put Marcelo Bielsa’s men in front with a stunning strike on twenty-six minutes, before turning provider for Patrick Bamford twelve minutes into the second half.

Jack Harrison added a third soon after and while Andreas Weimann pulled one back for the hosts with ten minutes still on the clock, it was the title favourites’ day and it is they who have the honour of holding first place after one game played.

This is Leeds’ sixteenth season outside of the top flight, and they can be backed at 3/1 to end their exodus, as champions.

Despite seeing their manager depart just two weeks prior to the season getting underway, Sheffield Wednesday too secured a 3-1 away win, and did so with ten men against a Reading side who prop up the rest of the division.

Wigan Athletic caused somewhat of a shock as they came from behind to beat Cardiff City at the DW Stadium , while there was also an impressive victory for Queens Park Rangers, who beat Stoke City by two goals to one.

Charlton Athletic, playing at this level again after a three year absence, beat Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, with Barnsley also beginning life back in the second tier with a win – Luke Thomas with the only goal of the game against Fulham.

One goal was also enough for both Birmingham City and Millwall, who beat Brentford and Preston North End respectively

Swansea City came from behind to take all three points against Hull City, while West Bromwich Albion did the same at Nottingham Forest in a game to forget for the goalkeepers.

Matty Cash put the Reds ahead early on, with fingers pointed at Sam Johnstone for not getting to his near post in time to make the save, though the focus was soon on his opposite number.

Aro Muric, making his debut for Forest having signed from Premier League champions on a season-long loan will not want to see the Baggies leveller again, nor their winning goal though in fairness to the Kosovo international even goalscorer Matty Phillips probably wasn’t even aware that he was shooting.

Derby County fared rather better than their East Midlands rivals, securing a 2-1 win at Huddersfield Town on Monday evening meaning that all three teams relegated from the top flight last term end matchday one pointless.


Deke Hardman

Freelance football writer with a love of the game that goes back to the mid nineties when both his beloved Nottingham Forest and England had genuine hope of acheiving some level of success. A regular contributor to both SoccerNews.com and FreeBetting.com, Deke also dabbles in music journalism with his heart and head still stuck in the latter years of the twentieth century.



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