Whilst everybody was talking about the return of the Premier League, the Football League’s second week got underway at the weekend.
No early game meant that all the action started together, with exception of Middlesbrough’s 1-0 win over Sheffield United, which was the late kick-off.
Once again, there were plenty of goals across the three divisions; 30 in the Championship, 28 in League One and the same in League Two made sure that the second week was just as exciting as the first.
100% Start From Coventry
Coventry City made sure they were the only team in League Two with a 100% record with a 2-0 away win at Grimsby Town. The Sky Blues took the lead in the 67th minute. Marc McNulty scored a controversial goal, picking up the ball when it had seemingly been rolled back to Grimsby ‘keeper James McKeown to take. The referee allowed the goal to stand, much to the dismay of the home crowd and players.
Coventry doubled the lead 13 minutes later. Jack Grimmer powerfully headed home a corner, before Grimsby were reduced to 10 men for the latter stages of the game, with James Berrett receiving a second yellow card.
Having been in the Premier League as recently as 2001, Coventry will want to shrug off the form that has seen them plummet through the leagues to the basement of the EFL. If early season form is anything to go by, they’re in good stead to make a swift return back up.
Slow Out Of The Blocks From Aston Villa
After being held to a draw by Hull last week at Villa Park, Aston Villa will have been hoping their fortunes would change away at Cardiff. It wasn’t the case, however. Goals from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing either side of Junior Hoilett’s strike ensured that Cardiff remained unbeaten at the start of their campaign and left them at the summit of the Championship.
The score-line was justified as well. Villa were outplayed by the Bluebirds, prompting some fans to question whether Steve Bruce is the right man for the job, even this early in the season. While it may be too early to suggest managerial sackings, it would be harsh to blame the Villa fans for wanting more.
Villa were booed off by some travelling fans at half-time. However it didn’t have the desired effect, as Cardiff went on to score twice in the second half after Mendez-Laing’s opener.
Steve Bruce said after the game “It was on the edge of embarrassment, if I’m being brutally honest. It’s a rude awakening for us, very early again. Arguably that’s the biggest doing I can remember having in the Championship.”
Villa travel to Reading in midweek where they will be hoping to pick up their first league win of the season.
Five Start Rotherham Destroy Southend
Kieffer Moore’s first half hat-trick helped Rotherham on their way to a resounding 5-0 win over Southend.
Two goals in two minutes from Moore set the Millers on their way, before Joe Newell made it three after just 23 minutes. Moore added his third in first-half stoppage time, and Ryan Williams made it five on the hour.
It could have been worse for Southend were it not for ‘keeper Mark Oxley. He made numerous saves to deny a ruthless Rotherham attack, but was powerless to stop Moore, Newell and Williams.
It was just what Rotherham needed after their opening day loss at Fleetwood last week. The Millers are back in League One after a torrid Championship campaign which saw them win just four times last season. If they can maintain this form, it won’t be long until they’re back.
Chesterfield Struggling After Relegation
Chesterfield were high-flying in League One a few seasons ago. After promotion from League Two in 2013/14, they made the League One play-offs in 2014/15, losing out to Preston in the semi-final. That seemed to knock them off their stride, as they struggled to an 18th place finish in 2015/16, but things got worse the campaign after. An awful season saw them finish at the foot of League One. They conceded 78 goals that season, the worst in the league.
While maybe not expecting an instant return after such a poor season, the Spirites would have still hoped for a better start than they have produced. Two losses from their opening two league games see them rooted to the bottom of the Football League, so soon after they were on the brink of the Championship.
A 3-1 home loss to Grimsby on the opening day set the tone early on. Week two didn’t bring around any joy either, as they were comfortably beaten away at Notts County.
It seemed as though Chesterfield could have got something out of the game. On the fringes of half time, though, they were reduced to 10 men. Scott Wiseman was dismissed for shoving Terry Hawkridge in a moment of madness.
Jorge Grant took advantage of the numerical imbalance, scoring twice to earn County their first league points of the season.
There was plenty to talk about elsewhere in the Football League, too.
Hull City put four past Burton in the Championship to send the Brewers sinking to the bottom of the Championship. Abel Hernandez scored a hat-trick with Kamil Grosicki also netting. Jackson Irvine had Burton level momentarily, but was dismissed five minutes after his strike for a second yellow card.
Nottingham Forest got their first Championship away win since last November with a 4-3 win at Brentford. Andreas Bouchalakis scored twice for Forest, with Daryl Murphy and Kieran Dowell also netting. John Egan, Andreas Bjelland and Neal Maupay scored for the hosts. However, it still wasn’t enough to beat Mark Warburton’s side.
In League One, MK Dons continued their slow start with a 1-0 loss at Blackpool. Sean Longstaff drove the Tangerines in front early on after the Dons failed to deal with a corner. Ethan Ebanks-Landell came the closest to a response for Robbie Neilson’s team, but he glanced Gboly Ariyibi’s free-kick just wide.
Finally, despite scoring eight last week, Luton stuttered to a 1-0 loss away at Barnet. Jack Taylor’s brilliant goal in stoppage time ensured the Hatters left north London with nothing for their efforts.
The Football League continues on Sunday when Norwich entertain Sunderland in the Championship. Also, Wigan host Bury in League One in a League One Lancashire derby.
Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Images