Championship review: matchday 5 – 2020/21 season
Hornets sink Rams
After the first international break of the season, the Championship returned on Friday night as Watford made the trip to the East Midlands to face Derby County.
Manager Phillip Cocu was under pressure, with some rumours suggesting that if the Dutchman could not turn around Derby’s poor early season form, he would be axed.
If that were to happen, current captain and coach Wayne Rooney could be thrust into the Pride Park hotseat. The game itself was a scrappy encounter, decided by a moment of real quality by João Pedro.
The young Brazilian collected the ball on the edge of the box, created half a yard of space and curled his shot past David Marshall. Watford have only conceded once in five league games and currently sit in fifth place, while Derby’s poor start continued – they are in 21st.
On Saturday, Bristol City took their 100% record to Barnsley, who had Adam Murray in interim charge. This is following Gehard Struber’s departure to the New York Red Bulls.
It was the perfect start for Murray though, as summer signing Michal Helik scored his first goal in English football just two minutes into the match.
Barnsley saw the lead through until half-time. The second half was a different story, though, as Bristol City turned the game on its head within six minutes of the restart.
Firstly, Jack Hunt scored his first goal in 18 months to level the game, courtesy of a deflection. Then, Tyreeq Bakinson took aim four minutes later and saw his shot take a wicked deflection to completely wrong foot Tykes goalkeeper Jack Walton.
City tried to see out the game but in added time, Callum O’Dowda took out Michael Sollbauer for a penalty. The Austrian defender received lengthy treatment on the pitch and was eventually stretchered off.
With 102 minutes on the clock, Cauley Woodrow stepped up to take the spot kick and celebrated signing a new contract in the week in style. He sent Max O’Leary the wrong way and ended Bristol City’s 100% record this season.
Barnsley are in the bottom three and still winless after three games, but Bristol City are top due to goals scored.
Royals’ costly draw
Hot on The Robins heals are Reading, however, they also saw their 100% record end, after a draw away at Middlesbrough.
The home side came the closest to scoring in what was a poor game, with Liam Moore clearing Johnny Howson’s fierce effort off the line. Howson also had a goal chalked off for offside.
The closest Reading came was through Ovie Ejaria’s long range effort which sailed just wide of the post. Reading stay second, while Boro drop to 15th and have only won once at home since Boxing Day.
Cherries fail to pick the R’s’ pockets
Third-placed Bournemouth missed the chance to close the gap to the top two as they drew 0-0 with QPR. The R’s were the better side throughout the game, with Asmir Begović making good saves to deny Bright Osayi-Samuel and Macauley Bonne.
Bournemouth did not register a shot on target all game but stay in third place. QPR are in 14th.
13th placed Huddersfield caused the shock of the weekend, as they inflicted a first league defeat of the season on Swansea. Despite selling last season’s top goal scorer Karlan Ahearne-Grant on Deadline Day, The Terriers took the lead.
On 23 minutes, Harry Toffolo deflected in Juninho Bacuna’s shot from a short corner. Swansea deservedly equalised 10 minutes later from the penalty spot.
Korey Smith beat Huddersfield goalkeeper Ben Hamer to the ball and despite sending his attempt way over the bar, referee Tony Harrington awarded a penalty.
It was dispatched by André Ayew, who sent Hamer the wrong way. But Carlos Corberán’s men headed back across the border with all three points.
Josh Koroma, who’s last goal came for Leyton Orient in the National League, shot low from the edge of the box, and beat Freddie Woodman in the Swansea goal.
Elsewhere, it was an unhappy reunion for Nathan Jones as his old side, Stoke City, beat his current side, Luton Town. After a non-eventful first half, Steven Fletcher headed in Tyrese Campbell’s cross at the back post just one minute into the second half.
Campbell also claimed the assist for the second goal ten minutes later; his back heal resulted in the Luton defence failing to clear the ball and Nick Powell volleyed home through a crowd of players to lift Stoke to 8th place. Despite a second defeat of the season, Luton stay 6th.
Lions’ Roaring Comeback
The team in between these two sides is now Millwall, who climbed the table after a 2-1 win away at Wycombe. The Lions did go behind though, as Wycombe scored their first ever Championship goal.
Bartosz Białkowski dawdled on the ball and he was punished by Scott Kashket. Matt Smith hit the bar for Millwall in the first half, but he was central to Millwall’s equaliser early on in the second half.
It looked like he would head in Mahlon Romeo’s cross, but he was bundled over by Jack Grimmer for a penalty kick. Jed Wallace dispatched, and The Lions were level.
Wycombe had a goal disallowed after Joe Jacobson’s corner floated straight in, but it was disallowed after Kashket’s slight pull on Białkowski. Millwall then went on to punish The Chairboys as Ryan Leonard volleyed home a loose ball on the edge of the box to give Millwall the three points.
Wycombe are still pointless and now they are only four points clear of Sheffield Wednesday, who won away at manager Gary Monk’s old club, Birmingham City.
Wednesday hit the bar in the first half from Josh Windass’ free-kick. The winning goal came from the penalty spot. Callum Patterson beat Adam Clayton to the ball, and it looked like minimal contact was made but a penalty was awarded by referee Graham Scott.
It was dispatched by skipper Barry Bannan, despite City keeper Neil Etheridge guessing the right way. Birmingham are now 16th, one place above Rotherham, who suffered a last-minute defeat to Norwich.
Millers Come Crashing Down
Despite manager Paul Warne in self-isolation following a family member testing positive for Covid-19, it began so well for The Millers. The home side took the lead after just three minutes against Norwich, courtesy of Freddie Ladapo.
The same man had a chance to give Rotherham a two-goal lead on 21 minutes after Clark Robertson was tripped by Adam Idah, but Tim Krul guessed correctly and pushed away the penalty.
It took Norwich 68 minutes to equalise. Max Aarons ran down the right wing and crossed in the box. Michael Ihiekwe attempted to hook the ball away but under pressure from Jordan Hugill, he only succeeded in putting the ball into his own net.
Things went from bad to worse three minutes later as Angus MacDonald was dismissed for an ugly two-footed lounge on Oliver Skipp. Rotherham’s misery was compiled when in the 94th minute when Rotherham debutant Florian Jozefzoon tripped Emi Buendía.
The responsibility was given to Jordan Hugill and he rolled the ball home from 12 yards, sending Jamal Blackman the wrong way, to leave Norwich 11th. One place above The Canaries is Brentford, who comfortably beat Coventry City 2-0.
The Bees are Buzzing up the table
Ivan Toney scored a brace for The Bees in the second half. The former Peterborough striker put the Bees ahead in the first minute of the second half, diverting Bryan Mbeumo’s cross-come-shot past Marko Maroši from just inside the six-yard box.
Toney then doubled the lead nine minutes later when he headed in Emiliano Marcondes’ cross from the left at the back post. Coventry are now 19th, one place above Nottingham Forest, who recorded their first win of the season in Chris Houghton’s first game in charge.
They beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0 at Ewood Park, courtesy of Joe Lolley’s injury time strike, which took a deflection en route off Bradley Johnson.
The final game of the weekend took place on Sunday, at Deepdale, as Neil Harris took his Cardiff side to face Alex Neil’s Preston North End. It was decided by just a single goal.
Liverpool loanee Sheyi Ojo was fed the ball by Kieffer Moore and he rifled a shot beyond Declan Rudd at his near post. Cardiff are now sitting comfortably in 12th place, while Preston slump down to 18th, as the league table begins to take shape.