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Review: the opening weekend

9 August 2021

The EFL returned for the 2021/22 season in spectacular fashion at the weekend, as supporters returned to stadiums in their numbers to take in the action across the three divisions.

Here's how it all unfolded...


The Championship action kicked off on Friday evening, and with a typically rollercoaster affair too, as promotion hopefuls AFC Bournemouth and West Bromwich Albion played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in front of the Sky Sports cameras. 

The weekend's big winners, though, would be Hull City and Luton Town, who saw off Preston North End and Peterborough United respectively, each by a three-goal margin. Elsewhere, there were wins for Stoke City in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Reading, and Blackburn Rovers, who saw off last season's Play-Off Finalists Swansea City 2-1. 

Saturday's late kick-off was worth the wait for Birmingham City fans, who travelled in their numbers to Sheffield United and saw their side come away with a 1-0 win, while Coventry City's homecoming brought a dramatic late winner for the Sky Blues at the expense of Nottingham Forest.



It's Rotherham United who top the League One table after round one, having been relegated or promoted in each of the past five seasons. The Millers made the perfect start on Saturday, beating Plymouth Argyle 2-0. They were one of six sides to pick up maximum points on the opening day, with Sunderland AFC treating over 30,000 fans to a 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic.

Arguably the result of the day, however, was Morecambe's 2-2 draw at promotion-chasing Ipswich Town. It might have been more for the Shrimps too, but for a late equaliser for the home side. Elsewhere, another of last season's promoted sides, Bolton Wanderers, scored a late leveller of their own in an enthralling 3-3 draw against MK Dons.

AFC Wimbledon, Burton Albion and Portsmouth all picked up impressive victories on the road to get their respective campaigns up and running, while Wycombe Wanderers were winners on home soil, beating Accrington Stanley 2-1.



League Two, as it so often does, brought plenty of drama on the opening day, with as many as five fixtures settled beyond the 88th minute. That included at Forest Green Rovers, where Sutton United came agonisingly close to registering their first point as an EFL club. Hartlepool United had quite the opposite feeling on their EFL return, scoring two minutes from time to see off Crawley Town 1-0.

Swindon Town sit top of the tree, however, after three goals and three points on the road against Scunthorpe United, followed closely by Harrogate Town, whose dramatic 3-2 win over Rochdale was secured by, you guessed it, an injury-time winner.

In total, nine Clubs picked up wins on the opening day, including Mansfield Town, Northampton Town, Stevenage and Tranmere Rovers, but it was Newport County's late victory at Oldham Athletic that made headlines, with 42-year-old Kevin Ellison grabbing the winner.


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