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Match Roundups

Review: 2018/19 EFL Opening Weekend

A round-up of the first weekend of the 2018/19 EFL season

6 August 2018

The EFL season is back with a bang! There were plenty of goals and plenty of drama on the opening weekend. Here’s a round-up of the action.

Brentford were Saturday’s big winners, racing to the top of the table after a 5-1 rout of Rotherham United on the first Saturday of the new season.

Neal Maupay scored twice, with Sergi Canos, Ollie Watkins and Lewis Macleod also getting themselves on to the scoresheet at Griffin Park.

There were mixed results for the Championship newcomers, with arguably the shock result of the day coming at the Hawthorns, where goals from Josh Magennis and Yanic Wildschut earned Bolton Wanderers a 2-1 victory.

Swansea City made a winning return, however, as Oli McBurnie and Yan Dhanda strikes overturned a one-goal deficit to help the Swans emerge victorious at Sheffield United in the evening kick-off.

Sunday's only fixture saw Leeds United overcome promotion favourites Stoke City at Elland Road on Marcelo Bielsa's EFL debut, running out as 3-1 winners. Benik Afobe's penalty proved only a consolation as Mateusz Klich, Pablo Hernandez and Liam Cooper's goals were the fruits of a dominant Leeds display.

Newly promoted Wigan Athletic claimed a fine 3-2 win over Sheffield Wednesday, with Michael Jacobs registering two goals for the Latics. Danny Graham and Bradley Dack looked to have done enough to earn Blackburn Rovers maximum points too, but Tayo Edun struck a late leveller for Ipswich Town.

There were two more 2-2 scorelines which featured late drama. Middlesbrough goals from Martin Braithwaite and George Friend in the last few minutes denied Millwall victory, and Norwich City’s Onel Hernandez salvaged a point with a last-gasp equaliser at Birmingham City.

Alan Browne’s second-half goal gave Preston North End a winning start, against Queens Park Rangers, while Bristol City and Nottingham Forest played out a 1-1 draw at Ashton Gate.

On Friday night, the Championship season began in fine fashion — Frank Lampard getting off to a winning start as Derby County manager thanks to Tom Lawrence’s 94th-minute winner at Reading.

On Monday night, Aston Villa fought back from a goal down to take three points at Hull City.

After Evandro’s early opener, the Villans’ defence stepped up with Tommy Elphick, Ahmed Elmohamady and Alan Hutton replying in a 3-1 triumph, which wrapped up the opening weekend of the new season.

Barnsley are in pole position after the first round of League One fixtures, courtesy of a thumping 4-0 win against Oxford United on the opening day.

Mamadou Thiam scored two fine first-half goals, before Brad Potts and Victor Adeboyejo added the gloss deep into the second half.

There was late drama in the first game of the new season, where Lynden Gooch headed home a late winner to see Sunderland past Charlton Athletic.

The Black Cats had trailed in the lunchtime kick-off to Lyle Taylor’s first-half goal, but Josh Maja levelled things up before Gooch’s injury time intervention.

Comebacks were the case for Scunthorpe United and Walsall, too. Debutants Stephen Humphrys and Andy Dales scored the goals to help the Iron overturn a one-goal deficit at Coventry City, while Andy Cook and Luke Leahy helped Walsall swing things around to win 2-1 at home to Plymouth Argyle.

That fixture was also notable for the welcome return of Pilgrims defender Ryan Edwards, who scored in his first game back since being given the all-clear from cancer.

A 2-1 scoreline proved common, with Peterborough United emerging victorious at home to Bristol Rovers, and Rochdale winning by the same scoreline at newly relegated Burton Albion courtesy of a Bradden Inman brace.

Promoted pair Accrington Stanley and Luton Town were both given rude awakenings, slipping to respective defeats against Gillingham and Portsmouth. Brandon Hanlan and Josh Parker did the business for the Gills, while Jamal Lowe’s first-half strike was enough to see Pompey past the Hatters.

Wycombe Wanderers fared slightly better, however, sharing a goalless stalemate with Blackpool despite Michael Harriman’s late dismissal.

In the battle of the new managers at Montgomery Waters Meadow, Michael Collins got the better of John Askey — Jack Payne on target in a narrow success for Bradford City against last season’s losing play-off finalists.

Joey Barton’s reign as Fleetwood Town manager started unsuccessfully too as the Cod Army lost 1-0 at home to AFC Wimbledon, while Doncaster Rovers held on to beat Southend United 3-2 in an entertaining encounter at Roots Hall.

Crewe Alexandra produced the standout result on the opening weekend of the EFL season, hitting Morecambe for six in a stunning performance at Gresty Road.

Alex Nicholls and James Jones scored two each, with Charlie Kirk and Chris Porter also getting in on the act for the rampant Railwaymen.

There was no shortage of goals elsewhere, either. Forest Green Rovers trailed at Grimsby Town, but Christian Doidge netted twice as the visitors scored four without reply.

Newly promoted Macclesfield Town looked to be on their way to victory, leading Swindon Town 2-1 deep into injury time. However, Michael Doughty converted two late penalties to grab three points for the Robins and the match ball for himself.

Tom Pope scored two, adding to Ricky Miller’s first-half goal, to help Port Vale to a 3-0 win over Cambridge United, and it was a similar story at the One Call Stadium — Otis Khan finding the net twice after Tyler Walker’s opener to see Mansfield Town comfortably past Newport County.

Paul Tisdale got off to a winning start as Milton Keynes Dons manager, guiding his side to a 2-1 win at Oldham Athletic in a battle between two sides relegated last term. For Exeter City, life after Tisdale began well too as three debutants — Nicky Law, Jonathan Forte and Tristan Abrahams — scored in a 3-1 win at home to Carlisle United.

Bury struck Gold late on — Gold Omotayo netting in the 89th minute to break the resistance of nine-man Yeovil Town, while there were also 1-0 wins for Crawley Town and Lincoln City. Matt Green headed the Imps to victory at Northampton Town, while his strike partner from last term, Ollie Palmer, got the goal to see Harry Kewell’s side past Cheltenham Town.

Tranmere Rovers fought back from two down to earn a point at Stevenage with James Norwood netting both goals for the League Two newcomers, while Notts County and Colchester United played out a goalless draw at Meadow Lane.

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