The EFL is back and better than ever! The 2022/23 season got underway on Friday evening and there was a lot to digest.
Here are five talking points from the opening weekend...
Bumper crowds make history
Bradford City and Doncaster Rovers, who played out a goalless stalemate in Sky Bet League Two, were watched on by the largest-ever crowd for a fourth-tier game. The two teams set a new record of 19,368 supporters packed inside the University of Bradford Stadium, with 1,971 travelling fans making the trip across from South Yorkshire.
Elsewhere, fans flocked to Portman Road in their droves as Ipswich Town played host to their biggest opening day crowd in 20 years. The Tractor Boys shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Bolton in front of 26,688 supporters.
Late drama delivers
It wouldn’t be the EFL without some last-gasp antics and Hull City provided just that. Midfielder Jean Michael Seri, who arrived at the MKM Stadium in the summer from Fulham, made an instant impression on the Tigers faithful, grabbing an extra-time winner as they edged Bristol City 2-1 in the Sky Bet Championship.
And Forest Green Rovers enjoyed their first taste of Sky Bet League One football. The Gloucestershire side left it late to secure maximum points against Bristol Rovers. Regan Hendry struck in the 89th minute as Ian Burchnall’s side ran out 2-1 victors.
New managers off to flyers
There was delight in the dugout for a number of new managers as recently appointed Burnley boss Vincent Kompany got the Clarets up and running in a 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town on Friday night.
On Saturday, John Dahl Tomasson’s Blackburn Rovers beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0 thanks to a screamer from newly appointed captain Travis Burns.
Meanwhile Michael Appleton’s Blackpool saw off Reading on the same score-line in his first game in charge. In League Two, Pete Wild’s Barrow held on for a 3-2 victory over Stockport County, and AFC Wimbledon saw off Gillingham 2-0 under Johnnie Jackson.
And Rob Edwards saw Watford to a 1-0 win over Sheffield United last night in the Hornets' season opener at Vicarage Road.
Worthy wondergoals on show
The hotly contested Goal of the Season competition is well and truly underway! Clubs wasted no time in getting their entries in early for the accolade, with some stunning strikes on show in the opening weekend.
Harry Darling’s effort from range made for a memorable debut for the Welsh team, whilst Viktor Gyokeres’ piledriver for Coventry City against Sunderland caught the eye, and Lewis Travis’ match-winner was something to behold.
Oh Darling! 👏 #EFL | @SwansOfficial pic.twitter.com/8yv3N0VBrO— Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) July 31, 2022
Wycombe Wanderers star Josh Scowen’s strike to make it 3-0 to the Chairboys against Burton Albion was the pick of the bunch, and Tom James came up with the goods for Leyton Orient, catching the ball perfectly on the half-volley.
1⃣ game in and we already have a Goal of the Season contender! 😍#EFL | @leytonorientfc pic.twitter.com/WWMyZgQREv— Sky Bet League Two (@SkyBetLeagueTwo) July 31, 2022
EFL debuts don’t get much better than Danny Johnson's bow for Walsall. The attacker, who linked up with the Saddlers last month, took home the match ball, scoring a hat-trick in an emphatic 4-0 win over Hartlepool United.
Teenage defender Charlie Cresswell impressed on his first outing with Millwall. The teenage defender, on loan from Leeds United, notched both goals in a 2-0 triumph over Stoke City.
Meanwhile, John Swift got off the mark for West Bromwich Albion, scoring the equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough. Romaine Sawyers also marked his first appearance in a Cardiff City shirt with a goal in a 1-0 win over Norwich City, and Ian Maatsen was on target for Burnley.
And Conor Hourihane was the difference for Derby County as the Rams defeated Oxford United 1-0.
✅ A winning start for @dcfcofficial!#EFL | #SkyBetLeagueOne pic.twitter.com/8aA5CLqH9D— Sky Bet League One (@SkyBetLeagueOne) July 30, 2022