Skip to main content Skip to site footer

EFL: Memorable opening day match-ups

20 June 2017

It’s the eve of EFL Fixture Release Day, and the first thing football fans across the divisons will be looking out for is who they’ve got first up.

As the excitement continues to build, we've taken a look back at some memorable opening day clashes from over the years. 

Sky Bet League One – 2009/10: Norwich City 1-7 Colchester United

It was the curtain-raiser to the Sky Bet League One season, and somewhat of a nightmare for the hosts.

Kevin Lisbie and Clive Platt both netted a brace, and David Fox, David Perkins and Scott Vernon scored as Colchester hammered in seven goals at Carrow Road.

The result followed the Canaries’ relegation from the Championship, and they went on to hire the manager that humiliated them on the opening day – Paul Lambert – after Bryan Gunn was shown the door after two matches.

Despite the early-season showing from both of these sides, it didn’t turn out to define the campaign. Norwich went on to earn promotion as champions, while Colchester finished eight points outside the Play-Offs in eighth.

Sky Bet Championship  2006/07: Coventry City 2-1 Sunderland

The last time the Black Cats opened up a season in English football’s second tier, they did it against now Sky Bet League Two side Coventry City.

Niall Quinn was the man in the Sunderland dugout that day, and it was a baptism of fire for him in the division as he witnessed his side surrender their lead. Daryl Murphy had opened the scoring, but goals from Stern John and Gary McSheffrey rescued the three points for the Sky Blues.

Again, the result would not define these sides’ seasons. Sunderland went up as champions, and Coventry finished 17th.

Sky Bet League Two – 2013/14: Portsmouth 1-4 Oxford United

A memorable day for U’s fans came on the south coast at the start of the 2013/14 season, when they triumphed 4-1 over Portsmouth.

Doubles from Deane Smalley and Alfie Potter led to an emphatic win for Chris Wilder’s men, whilst a sending off for Pompey skipper Johnny Ertl ensured it would be a day the Fratton Park faithful would rather forget.

Will their fortunes be different in a new league this time around? They could even see themselves matched up with Oxford on the opening day once again with both clubs now in Sky Bet League One. 

Sky Bet Championship  2016/17: Nottingham Forest 4-3 Burton Albion

Last season saw Burton Albion step foot in the Championship for the first time in their history, and their fans were dealt a short trip to the City Ground on the opening day to face Nottingham Forest.

It was looking good for the Brewers after half an hour too, recovering from a goal down to go 2-1 up heading into the break, but Thomas Lam grabbed a stoppage-time goal to send the teams in level.

Another Forest youngster, Oliver Burke, then put the hosts ahead, before Britt Assombalonga made it 4-2. Tom Naylor scored a late header to set up a nervy finish, but the home side hung on for all three points.

Sky Bet League Two  2010/11: Rotherham United 2-1 Lincoln City

Lincoln City's last EFL season opener saw them travel to Yorkshire, and they came away without a reward for their efforts.

The Imps went a goal down early on when Adam Le Fondre followed up a Kevin Ellison strike and, although Chris Sutton’s side drew level early in the second half, they could not hold out for a point, as Millers' debutant Ryan Cresswell scored an 86th-minute winner.

Rotherham would go on to finish just two points outside of a Play-Off position, while Lincoln were relegated from the EFL after their 23rd-placed finish.

Advertisement block