EFL Roundup: An emotional day at Brisbane Road and opening day struggles for some of the big boys


The EFL got back underway with a bang this weekend and in a new weekly feature for the site I’ll be running down the key results and talking points from around the divisions.


Leeds bounced back from their playoff heartbreak in the best possible fashion on Sunday. Marcelo Bielsa’s side comfortably dispatched of Bristol City 3-1 at Ashton Gate. Goals from Pablo Hernandez, Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison saw them race into a three goal lead before Andreas Weimann netted a consolation goal for the home side.

This is a particularly impressive result for Leeds as after spending a fair chunk of money over the summer, Lee Johnson’s side were being backed for big things this season. Questions will now be asked of Johnson as he seeks a replacement for the departed Adam Webster before Friday’s deadline.

Another club who look like they’ll be busy replacing a key player before the window shuts is Brentford. The fact that Neal Maupay wasn’t included in the matchday squad seemed ominous and Brentford suffered without him as they lost out 1-0 to Birmingham City. The Frenchman has since completed a move to Brighton for a reported £20 million.

Despite the fact it was their only shot on target, Kristian Pedersen’s extraordinary header from just outside the penalty area was enough to secure all three points for the Blues at Griffin Park.

Meanwhile, two of last season’s relegated sides had a rude re-awakening to life in the Championship. Cardiff lost out to Wigan despite taking the lead through Joe Ralls in a topsy turvy game at the DW Stadium.

Michael Jacobs equalised for the hosts just before the hour mark and shortly after Josh Windass made up for his earlier missed penalty with a fine strike to give the Latics the lead.

Former Wigan loanee Omar Bogle then equalised for the Welsh club, cue a hand cupped to his ear celebration to his former clubs fans, but his celebration were short lived as midfielder Lee Evans struck just five minutes later to seal all three points for his side.

Fulham came unstuck away at newly promoted Barnsley. Tykes manager Daniel Stendel has had to deal with losing several of his key players over the summer but the replacements he’s brought in look to be more than up to the task.

One of those new signings Luke Thomas bagged the only goal of the game when he broke clear of Fulham’s defence and struck the ball powerfully past Marcus Bettinelli. Scott Parker’s side pushed for an equaliser late on but, despite the efforts of second half substitute Anthony Knockeart, they couldn’t find one.

Stoke were tipped for a big improvement under Nathan Jones this season but they got off to the worst possible start losing 2-1 at home to QPR. The talented Eberechi Eze scored the pick of the goals at the Bet 365 stadium. The 21-year-old’s burst from the half way line left half the Potters side for dead before he slotted home to give his side a 2-0 lead.

League One

Ipswich made a fine start to their first season in the third tier since 1957. The Tractor Boys ran out 1-0 winners over Nigel Clough’s Burton Albion side, thanks to a goal early on from Luke Garbutt.

Paul Lambert’s team deserved their victory and the game was affectively ended as a contest in the 78th minute when Burton were reduced to ten men after former Hull midfielder Stephen Quinn received his second yellow card.

Elsewhere, two of the title favourites, Portsmouth and Sunderland both failed to pick up an opening day victory. Pompey fell down 1-0 away at Shrewsbury, with the only goal of the game coming via a wonder striker from 19-year-old Wolves loanee Ryan Giles.

Despite new signing John Marquis playing the full 90, Kenny Jackett’s side couldn’t find an equaliser and their troubles were worsened by midfielder Ross McCrorie’s late red card.

Sunderland drew the most league games out of any League One side last season and they carried on that habit in their opening match of this campaign.

The Black Cats could only manage a point at home to an Oxford side that have been struggling to bring bodies into the Kassam Stadium throughout the off-season, Tariqe Fosu and Lynden Gooch with the goals in that one.

Finally in League One, there was major controversy during the week as the EFL informed Bury that they would be postponing both of their opening games due to the club being unable to provide sufficient proof that they have the necessary finances in place.

Whereas on the other side of Manchester, fellow crisis club Bolton were given a reprieve and their game away at Wycombe was deemed allowed to go ahead.

However, following a turbulent summer, thoughts of recruitment have understandably been on the backburner and Phil Parkinson had to name an 18 man squad with an average age of just over 21.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that Wycombe picked up a comfortable win at Adams Park, goals from Paul Smyth and Fred Onyedinma enough to give the Chairboys a 2-0 victory.

League Two

Two of the Football League’s new boys picked up wins that were extremely important for differing reasons. Salford managed to get the better of Stevenage 2-0, live in front of the Sky Sports cameras in Saturday’s early kick off. A Manny Dieseruvwe double was enough to earn the ‘Class of 92’ owned club their first win in their first match in the EFL.

For Leyton Orient, following the tragic death of their manager Justin Edinburgh over the summer, the three points earned against Cheltenham were arguably even more significant. Tributes were paid to Edinburgh prior to kick off on an emotional day at Brisbane Road and the O’s did superbly to produce a performance that epitomised their former manager in such extenuating circumstances.

It was also fitting that the man that got the only goal of the game was Josh Wright. The former Bradford midfielder was Edinburgh’s last signing as Orient manager and also a close personal friend of the 49-year-old following their time spent working together at Gillingham.

Plymouth Argyle got their campaign off to the best possible start by hammering Crewe 3-0 away from home. Argyle have took advantage of the dire circumstances Bury find themselves in over the summer and not only have they managed to nab the Shakers head coach Ryan Lowe, they’ve also picked up several of the side Lowe managed to promotion last season, including defender Callum McFadzean, who netted two goals on debut at Gresty Road.

Life back in League Two didn’t quite go as well for Bradford as they laboured to a 0-0 draw at home to Cambridge. Gary Bowyer’s side probably couldn’t have picked a more ideal first opponent than the U’s, who’ve lost key players over the summer such as Jevani Brown and Brad Halliday.

After a goalless first half, it looked all set up for the Bantams to claim all three points, when Liam O’Neill was sent off mid-way through the second half. But Bradford couldn’t capitalise on the man advantage and despite bringing in experienced goal getters James Vaughan and Clayton Donaldson over the summer they didn’t manage to find that elusive goal.


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