That's a wrap on another weekend in the EFL! Here are five things you may have missed from across the divisions...
Past and present
Birmingham City striker Troy Deeney marked his 600th appearance in professional football with a brace as the Blues saw off Reading in a 3-2 victory on Friday evening in the Sky Bet Championship. West Midlands-born Deeney opened the scoring inside 63 seconds for the hosts before doubling Birmingham’s lead later in the first period from the penalty spot.
The 34-year-old now has five goals to his name this season for the John Eustace’s side, who survived a nervy finish after the Royals grabbed two late goals to put the frighteners on Birmingham, but the Blues held on for maximum points.
And it was another local hero who was the talk of St Andrew’s prior to kick-off. Jude Bellingham paid a visit to his boyhood team to take in a game for the first time since departing for Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2020, following his return from Qatar.
Going the distance
It will be Leyton Orient who sit top of the tree heading into Christmas after the O’s beat local rivals Sutton United 2-0 in front of a sold-out home end at Brisbane Road – just one of two games that weren’t affected by the freezing weather conditions in Sky Bet League Two.
Richie Wellens’ men extended their lead at the summit, now seven points clear of second-placed promotion rivals Stevenage having chalked up an impressive 51 points at this stage of the campaign.
The Club’s leading marksman Paul Smyth struck in the 62nd minute, netting from around 20 yards out to add to his collection of stunning strikes this season for goal number nine. And an Alistair Smith own goal put the game beyond all doubt with 10 minutes left on the watch.
Power of three
For the second time this season, Derby County’s David McGoldrick took home the match ball after notching a hat-trick in a 4-0 triumph over Forest Green Rovers in Sky Bet League One, with his first coming in October in a 4-2 win against Bristol Rovers.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing opened the scoring for the rampant Rams before McGoldrick got going in the 21st minute, capping off an impressive team move to put Derby two goals to the good. As the second period got underway, the 35-year-old made it 3-0 with 69 minutes on the clock and, with three minutes to spare, McGoldrick completed his treble.
That win lifts Paul Warne’s side into the top six and the all-important Play-Off places in League One.
No place like home
This weekend marked 20 years since Hull City first opened the doors to the MKM Stadium, contesting their first game at their new home against Sunderland for the Raich Carter Trophy in 2002 and, as fate would have it, the Black Cats were the visitors to East Yorkshire on Saturday afternoon.
Along with three points, the revived silverware was also up for grabs when the two teams met this weekend, with the Championship fixture ending in a 1-1 draw.
But it was Sunderland returnee Ross Stewart who stole the headlines. After more than three months watching on the from the sidelines, the Scotsman, who came on in place of Ellis Simms on the hour mark, found the back of the net with a smart finish for the Black Cats.
Finding the flow
Five wins on the spin put Barnsley – who achieved that feat for the first time since March 2021 – in a good position as the festive period approaches, with the South Yorkshire side’s latest victory coming against Burton Albion on Saturday.
The Reds, the team with the youngest squad in League One, breezed past the Brewers in a 2-0 win with Devante Cole claiming both goals for Barnsley. Michael Duff’s men have also beaten Forest Green, Shrewsbury Town, Milton Keynes Dons, and Peterborough United since that run began.
Having been winless in four prior to that, Barnsley now occupy fourth place in the standings and continue to climb the ladder.