Championship Round-Up: Matchday 7 – 2020/21 Season
East Midlands Derby
The Friday night game was the first East Midlands derby between Nottingham Forest and Derby County. Both sides had made a poor start to the season and were in desperate need of three points.
It was The Rams who took the lead, courtesy of Martyn Waghorn’s stunning free-kick on the half hour mark. They were unable to hold on though, as Lyle Taylor pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area and prodded past David Marshall to earn a point for Forest.
This extends the Tricky Trees’ unbeaten run under new boss Chris Houghton to three games. Derby, though, thought they had won the game 13 minutes from time. Kamil Jóźwiak found the bottom corner but the goal was very harshly disallowed for offside against Waghorn, who was deemed to be impeding the view of Forest keeper Brice Samba. The point means Forest rise to 19th while Derby remain in the relegation zone.
Parity at Vicarage Road
The lunchtime kick-off on Saturday was between two of last season’s relegated teams, as Bournemouth travelled to Watford. The visitors were lucky not to go down to ten men as early as the second minute, Lloyd Kelly fortunate to only see yellow for a dangerous challenge on Ismaïla Sarr.
Sarr was pivotal to the opening goal in 13 minutes though. He collected Craig Cathcart’s sublime switch and then he crossed low for Croatian Stipe Perica to score on debut.
It looked like Bournemouth would lose their unbeaten league record but in the 95th minute, Watford failed to clear a corner and Kelly’s volley was flicked in practically on the goal line by fellow defender Chris Mepham for a deserved point for the visitors.
Watford remain third and Bournemouth stay one place behind them. Both sides missed the chance to climb into the top two.
Wells’ Penalty salvages point for Robins
Bristol City failed to win for the second game in a row as yhey hosted Swansea City, who made the short trip along the M4. It looked like it would be a trip worthwhile for The Swans as Jamal Lowe found the top corner six minutes into the second half.
However, with seven minutes left, Swansea defender Connor Roberts was deemed to have fouled Antoine Semenyo by referee Oliver Langford. It looked a soft penalty at best and there was even question marks over whether the foul was inside the penalty area.
Nonetheless, substitute Nakhi Wells stepped up and cheekily dinked the ball down the middle to secure a point. Swansea are sixth and despite staying in the top two with the point, Bristol City lost ground on league leaders Reading.
The Royals moved five points clear of Bristol City with a comfortable 3-0 win over Rotherham United. It did take Reading 41 minutes to have their first shot on target, though.
Nonetheless, it resulted in a goal. After good footwork, Ovie Ejaria’s floated cross was controlled by Yakou Méïté and he slotted home, although visiting keeper Jamal Blackman will feel as if he should have done better.
The game was put beyond doubt with just over ten minutes left to play. Michael Olise’s corner was allowed to bounce all the way through to Méïté and after a piece of control on the chest, he acrobatically added his and Reading’s second of the game.
There was still time for top scorer Lucas João to get involved. He bulldozed his way through the Rotherham defence but as he bared down on Blackman’s goal, his progress was halted by Michael Ihiekwe for a penalty kick.
The Portuguese striker dusted himself down and despite Blackman guessing the right way, João scored his fourth of the season.
Millwall collect point despite missing Rowett
Elsewhere, Adam Barrett took interim charge of Millwall, following Gary Rowett testing positive for Covid-19. The Millwall manager had minor symptoms on Friday morning and tested positive later that day, so was watching the game from home.
While it was the first game in temporary charge for Adam Barrett, it was a last game in charge for Adam Murray at Barnsley. They confirmed that Valérien Ismaël would be their new manager and he watched on from the stands at The Den.
The first half was poor but on the 44th minute, the visitors took the lead, courtesy of Alex Mowatt’s spectacular strike which left Bartosz Białkowski helpless.
However, the visitors could not see the lead through until the break. Jake Cooper connected with Connor Mahoney’s corner with a towering header and despite Tykes keeper Jack Walton getting a hand on it, the ball ended up in the back of the net.
The second half was all one-way traffic, with Millwall desperate to win their third game in a row. However, Walton made some inspired saves in the second half, first to deny Mason Bennett and then he thwarted Kenneth Zohore in the last minute of the game to ensure Barnsley took a point back to Yorkshire.
They remain 22nd, while Millwall drop to seventh.
Canaries victorious despite red card
Replacing Millwall in the play-off places are Norwich City. They rose to fifth, as they beat a still pointless Wycombe. Norwich took the lead just three minutes in; Teemu Pukki went through on goal and dinked it over a helpless Ryan Allsop.
However, Wycombe equalised with just their second goal of the season just nine minutes later. The goal came courtesy of Scott Kashket, who also scored their first goal of the season.
He capitalised on a defensive mix-up between Norwich defender Grant Hanley and keeper Tim Krul, as he nipped in between the two of them to prod the ball past Krul.
Wycombe then felt they should have had a penalty as it looked like Fred Onyedinma was pulled down by Ben Gibson, but referee Gavin Ward was unimpressed with the claims.
Nonetheless, it looked like Wycombe would hold out for their first ever Championship point. Instead, they were left heartbroken in the 91st minute. Substitute Mario Vrančić curled in a free kick for the hosts to score a late winner for the second game running.
There was still time for a red card as well – Adam Idah was dismissed for the hosts five minutes into added time after he lashed out at Wycombe defender Joe Jacobson.
Wycombe remain 23rd, still four points clear of bottom placed Sheffield Wednesday who crashed to another home defeat, this time at the hands of Luton Town.
The visitors missed some guilt edge chances in the first-half as Danny Hylton had an effort cleared off the line by Aiden Flint then Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu missed a one on one, slotting his effort wide.
With 20 minutes left to go, Wednesday were reduced to ten men as Joost van Aken was dismissed for an ugly challenge on Mpanzu. The Luton man then went on to rub slat in the wounds of Wednesday as he scored the winner three minutes later.
He controlled the ball on his chest, produced a burst of acceleration to get past Barry Bannan then fired low with his left foot into the bottom corner of Cameron Dawson’s goal.
Luton rise to ninth following the win, after losing their previous two. One place below them are free-scoring Blackburn Rovers, who scored another four this weekend.
Rovers Running Riot
Rovers travelled to Coventry City but nearly found themselves a goal down 12 minutes in, as Matty Godden crashed a shot off Thomas Kaminski’s post. 90 seconds later, the hosts found themselves down to ten men and about to face a penalty kick.
Ben Brereton was in on goal but was pushed in the back by Michael Rose, who found himself dismissed by Darren England, who deemed him to be the last man.
Adam Armstrong dispatched the penalty for his sixth goal of the season. Just after half-time, he scored his seventh of the season to move level with Ivan Toney at the top of the scoring charts.
Brereton slipped through the Newcastle academy graduate and he struck his shot with power. Sky Blues keeper Marko Maroši got something on the ball but it had so much power on, he only managed the push the ball onto the under side of the bar before it found the back of the net.
The match was put beyond all doubt with 62 minutes on the clock. Brereton was involved again – his cross found Liverpool loanee Harvey Elliott and the 17-year-old scored his first ever senior goal.
Rovers added a fourth two minutes from time – Elliott turned provider this time as his pullback was finished off by Sam Gallagher, although Maroši will be disappointed he did not save it.
Coventry crash to 20th and are now winless in five league games. Blackburn are now above Brentford on goal difference after The Bees lost 3-2 away at Stoke City.
Potters edge Bees
The hosts took the lead after just nine minutes. After a surging run forward by James McClean, he fed Tyrese Campbell and his cross was headed in by an un-marked Steven Fletcher at the back post.
With 35 minutes on the clock, The Potters had doubled their lead. Campbell was involved again as he laid the ball off for McClean and his cross took a deflection off Charlie Goode to completely wrong foot David Raya.
Just before the hour mark, it looked like it was game, set and match to the hosts as Campbell turned scorer, curling a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area.
However, ten minutes later, Brentford gave themselves a glimmer of hope as Ivan Toney slipped in Marcus Forss and the Finnish striker scored his second of the season.
He added his third in stoppage time, capitalising on Josh Tymon’s under hit back pass and rounding Adam Davies before finishing from a tight angle but the goal proved to be too little, too late.
North End heading for the pointy end
One place below Brentford are Preston North End, who have now won back-to-back games. They had to come from behind against Huddersfield, after Fraizer Campbell reached Lewis O’Brien’s through ball and slotted past Declan Rudd.
However, a two-minute second half brace from Alan Browne meant Preston left with the points. His first goal was a curling effort which found the far corner, despite Ben Hamer in the Huddersfield goal getting a hand to it.
The second was due to a goalkeeper error, as Hamer came for a cross but dropped the ball and Browne hooked the ball into the net. 12 minutes from time, Huddersfield went down to ten men as Nabby Sarr hauled down Emil Riis Jakobsen. It looked like the Norwegian striker was through on goal and there was only one outcome.
Huddersfield have slipped to 14th, but Preston are now 12th. The team in between these two sides is Middlesbrough, who dropped two places in the league table after a draw at manager Neil Warnock’s old club, Cardiff City.
It looked like Warnock’s current side would make his return to the Welsh capital a happy one, as George Saville flicked in Marcus Tavernier’s corner for his second goal in two games.
Instead, with 20 minutes left, Cardiff responded with a corner of their own; Harry Wilson’s delivery was met at the back post by Kieffer Moore and his header into the goalmouth was diverted in by Liverpool loanee Sheyi Ojo.
Despite the protests from Boro players, the goal stood. Neil Harris’ men now sit 15th on nine points, two points and one place above QPR.
They hosted Birmingham City in what turned out to be a game low on quality and both sides are now winless since the opening day. QPR’s only shot on target nearly resulted in a goal but Harlee Dean cleared Bright Osayi-Samuel’s effort off the line.
Birmingham’s best chance came late on, as an Ivan Šunjić shot from 20 yards out was well saved by Seny Dieng. Birmingham sit one place below The R’s but have only scored three goals so far this season – with none coming from open play.