EFL Championship Round-Up: Matchday 10 – 2020/21 Season
Brentford 1-1 Swansea
With league leaders Reading not playing until Wednesday, second place Swansea City had the chance to close the gap on the league leaders Reading. However, they faced a difficult trip to Brentford in a rematch of last season’s play-off semi-final.
It was the hosts that took the lead at the Brentford Community Stadium, with Ivan Toney scoring his tenth goal of the season in just ten games – the first Brentford player to score ten goal in his first ten games since 1932.
He finished Mattias Jensen’s pullback after good work from Bryan Mbuemo. However, the Welsh side equalised 13 minutes from time as Matt Grimes’ cross was finished by André Ayew.
Ayew thought he had won the game in stoppage time but his header from Connor Roberts’ free kick was ruled just offside as the spoils were shared. Swansea now have 19 points from their opening ten games but are four points adrift of Reading. Brentford, meanwhile, are eighth.
Norwich 0-0 Millwall
Swansea dropping points opened the door for Norwich City to jump into the top two, but they also drew. They hosted Millwall, who had Gary Rowett back in the dugout after his self-isolation period finished.
Norwich created the better chances all match but ex-Ipswich keeper Bartosz Białkowski pulled off some great saves. Przemysław Płacheta struck the post in the first half as Norwich could not score passed the stubborn Millwall defence.
Emi Buendía saw a shot saved by Białkowski on 73 minutes before his rebound was cleared by Shaun Hutchinson. Millwall, who didn’t register a shot on target all game, did nearly win their first game at Carrow Road since 1968 in the last minute.
Mason Bennett broke down the wing and his pull back found experienced midfielder Shaun Williams, whose curling shot hit the crossbar. Nonetheless, Millwall will be happy to take a point and after Wednesday’s fixtures, they are eighth in the league. Norwich are now third, one point behind Swansea.
Cherries lose to relegation-favourites
Bournemouth were another team who could have jumped to second place with a win on Tuesday, but they lost their first game of the season, against bottom of the league Sheffield Wednesday.
The game finished one-nil to The Owls, with the winning goal coming from the penalty spot. Josh Windass has got in behind The Cherries defence and a combination of goalkeeper Asmir Begović and defender Steve Cook bought down the Wednesday striker.
Referee Jeremy Simpson decided Cook was more the guilty party and dismissed the defender. Barry Bannan then sent Asmir Begović the wrong way and Wednesday saw the game out from there as they moved onto -1 points for the season.
They did finish the game with 10 men as well – Kadeem Harris was sent off after a lounge then an off the ball incident with Jefferson Lerma. Sheffield Wednesday’s week got even better on Wednesday as their 12-point deduction was halved to just six points.
They are still bottom of the league due to results around them but now only three points off 21st. Bournemouth are now fifth. Meanwhile, Bristol City were temporarily able to rise back into the play-off places on Tuesday night with a 2-1 away win at Huddersfield Town.
Huddersfield 1-2 Bristol City
They had to come from behind though, after Josh Koroma converted Issac Mbenza’s cross with 43 minutes on the clock. However, Dean Holden’s men turned the game on its head with two late second half goals.
Jay DaSilva equalised with 77 minutes on the clock following a low cross from substitute Antoine Semenyo for his first goal in 55 appearances from Bristol City. Semenyo was sent on as part of a double substitution on 68 minutes with Jamie Patterson and it was Patterson who scored the winner on 83 minutes.
Goal scorer DaSilva turned provider as the ball fell to him on the left wing after a goalmouth scramble. His low cross was turned in at the near post by Patterson, making the 415-mile round trip well worth the journey, as City got their first win in five games.
Huddersfield’s inconsistent run of form continues – they now find themselves 15th.
Boro end Blackburn’s scoring run
One place above Bristol City is Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough. They extended their unbeaten run to nine games with a 0-0 draw at Blackburn Rovers to keep themselves in the play-off places.
The game was low on clear cut chances, with just four shots on target all game. Ex-Middlesbrough goalkeeper Aynsley Pears was in goal for Rovers following a summer transfer move between the clubs and he made some excellent saves to preserve a point for the hosts.
Despite being the highest goal scorers in the league, Blackburn are now 17th. The last Tuesday night game saw Barnsley manager Valérien Ismaël take his side across the River Severn to the Welsh capital.
They played Neil Harris’ Cardiff City, but it was a tough evening for the visitors, who found themselves a goal down in just four minutes, thanks to Junior Hoilett’s close range finish.
The lead was doubled one minute into added time from the penalty spot after Harry Wilson was fouled by Michał Helik. Joe Ralls, who scored and missed a penalty on the weekend, made no mistake from the spot.
Liverpool loanee Wilson then added a third with 13 minutes left as he collected the ball from Ralls and fired a left footed shot into the corner from 20 yards.
Cardiff are now 13th; Ismaël’s honeymoon period is now over after two wins in his first two games. Barnsley are now 18th.
On Wednesday, Reading had the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table to six points, but they faced a difficult home game against Preston North End.
The visitors had recorded all of their 10 points away from home this season and they were presented with a glorious opportunity to take the lead early on in the second half.
Emil Riis Jakobsen’s dashed into the box and was halted illegally by Tom McIntyre and referee John Brooks awarded the spot kick.
Preston captain Daniel Johnson stepped up, but his penalty was weak and it was a comfortable save for Rafael Cabral – it was Johnson’s first penalty miss in his professional career.
However, North End were not hindered by the miss and took the lead on 64 minutes. Joe Rafferty’s tackle went straight to Scott Sinclair and after an excellent piece of control on his chest, the ex-Swansea City winger prodded past Rafael for his fifth goal this season.
Just four minutes later, the lead was doubled courtesy of Riis Jakobsen; he read the spin on Ryan Ledson’s through ball and burst past McIntyre before slotting under Rafael.
The visitors then added some gloss to the score line in added time as a good run from substitute Tom Barkhuizen saw him set the ball up for Brad Potts, who finished emphatically.
Preston are up to 12th after this impressive display, but Reading are now winless in two and have conceded six goal in two games; it was also the first time they had fired a blank all season. Nonetheless, they are still top of the league.
Hornets edge thrilling encounter
Despite Preston’s impressive display, the game of the night was at Vicarage Road where Watford left it late to return to winning ways against Stoke. They had to come from behind though, as the visitors led after just two minutes.
A short corner routine saw the ball worked to Steven Fletcher and he was presented with an easy chance which he was not going to pass up. Watford then levelled on 28 minutes in controversial circumstances.
Tom Cleverley’s curling effort from the edge of the area was tipped onto the crossbar by Stoke keeper Angus Gunn and bounced down onto the line before Gunn gathered it.
Gunn was then bundled into by Watford striker João Pedro, forcing him to carry the ball over the line. Instead of awarding the foul, referee Andy Davies awarded the goal.
Watford then led with 62 minutes on the clock from the penalty spot. Danny Batth completely missed his clearance allowing the ball to run through for Ismaïla Sarr.
Sarr then had his run abruptly halted by Gunn and Mr Davies awarded the penalty. Pedro stepped up and sent Gunn the wrong way and despite this, the young Brazilian was subbed a minute later by under pressure Watford manager Vladimir Ivić.
Stoke then looked like they would take a point back home after Nick Powell’s low strike found the bottom corner with nine minutes left. Instead, The Potters were left heartbroken as in the 93rd minute, Ken Sema hit the by-line and his pass found Sarr.
Even with many defenders and the keeper to beat, Watford’s club record signing was still able to find the bottom corner with a very composed finished. The three points lifted Watford to fourth but Stoke fall to tenth.
Lower table clashes
Stoke have consequently been leapfrogged by Luton Town, who are now eighth and are one point outside play-offs. They won by a goal to nil at Rotherham United thanks to a James Collins volley from Luke Berry’s inviting delivery.
Rotherham stay 19th, one place above Nottingham Forest, who won 2-1 against Coventry City.
Forest hit the front on the half hour mark as shots from Samba Sow and Luke Freeman were both blocked but the ball then fell to Scott McKenna and the summer signing from Aberdeen fired in his first goal in English football.
Coventry did equalise on 57 minutes – Callum O’Hare glanced in an equaliser from a brilliant in-swinging cross from Sam McCallum.
A point would have kept Coventry ahead of Forest but in the 96th minute, Lyle Taylor had his run towards goal clumsily halted by Kyle McFadzean and while the contact was minimal, there was no doubt it was a penalty.
Taylor walked up to the ball and very casually sent Marko Maroši the wrong way with the very last kick of the game. Forest are now 20th and Coventry 21st.
R’s sink Rams
Forest are now three points clear of East Midlands rivals Derby County, who fell to 23rd place after a 1-0 home defeat to QPR.
The goal came on the 88th minute from Macauley Bonne. An excellent cross from defender Rob Dickie was headed in by the summer signing from Charlton for his second goal of the season.
QPR are now 16th but Derby are now only one point clear of Sheffield Wednesday at the bottom of the table. Wycombe Wanderers have now overtaken The Rams and are now one point from safety after they recorded back to back wins and also their first win of the season.
They beat Birmingham City 2-1 at St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium. The hosts did take the lead five minutes before half-time as Marc Roberts headed in Jérémie Bela’s in-swinging left-wing corner for the hosts.
Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth was absent for a second game in a row after undergoing back surgery on 30th October, but his side fought back and equalised on 75 minutes. There was some good work from winger Fred Onyedinma and his shot was deflected in off the thigh of Scott Kashket.
Wycombe then won the game in the 92nd minute as City keeper Neil Etheridge failed to claim a cross and the ball was returned into the six-yard box. The final touch came off City defender Kristian Pedersen. Wycombe are 22nd and one point from safety, Birmingham are 14th.