Once again, the Football League was rife with action this past weekend. Many teams continued their 100% starts to the campaign, with some also losing their unbeaten status. League One saw the highest number of goals with 35. League Two then followed with 31, with the Championship trailing on 25 from Saturday’s fixtures. There’s plenty to pick from, but here’s the best of what happened in this week’s Football League Roundup.
Football League Roundup: Week Three
Forest Continue Strong Start
After avoiding relegation on goal difference last season, Nottingham Forest have made a completely contrasting start to the new campaign. Seven new arrivals over the summer have bolstered the squad at the City Ground. This has helped them to three victories from their opening four games.
Included in this is their 2-1 win over promotion favourites Middlesbrough. The visitors were relegated from the Premier League last season largely due to their lack of goals. They were punished for this yet again, as it was only Ben Gibson’s consolation that saw them register in this game. Before this match, they had also only scored three. These came in a 1-0 win over Sheffield United and a 2-0 win against Burton Albion.
It was two of the new signings who did the business for Forest in this game. Barrie McKay, signed from Rangers, opened the scoring in the 16th minute. He raced through to slot Kieran Dowell’s pass beyond Darren Randolph.
Britt Assombalonga, who left Forest to join Middlesbrough in the summer, then wasted two glorious opportunities. Twice he was one-on-one with Jordan Smith in the Forest goal, but he shot wide on both chances.
Daryl Murphy doubled the lead from the penalty spot for Forest. Ben Gibson was penalised for a push on Ben Brereton. Gibson made amends not long after, however. In the 83rd minute he poked home from a corner to give the away side a lifeline, but Forest held on to go fourth in the Championship.
Shrewsbury Surprise Again To Go Fourth
Another side defying the odds early on are Shrewsbury Town. The Shrews are currently fourth in League One after finishing the last campaign just two points above the relegation zone.
Wins against Northampton and AFC Wimbledon in their opening two games had put them in a good position. They continued this fine form again in an entertaining 3-2 win over Rochdale at New Meadow.
Despite the Shrews having the momentum, it was Rochdale who actually took the lead in the game. The first of two penalties from Steve Davies was converted in the 17th minute after Toto Nsiala fouled Brad Inman.
Shrewsbury then got a penalty of their own after half an hour. Shaun Whalley was brought down by Oliver Rathbone, and Whalley picked himself up to fire the Shrews level. Just three minutes later, Shrewsbury completed the turn-around. On-loan Norwich forward Carlton Morris volleyed home Alex Rodman’s cross to put the home side in front at the break.
In the 63rd minute, the referee pointed to the spot for the third time. It was awarded to Rochdale, and Davies converted once more to draw the visitors level.
Shrewsbury would have the final say on the game, however. Stefan Payne, who only joined from Barnsley on Friday, burst through and fired into the net.
The home side may find it hard to maintain this form right through the season, but the early signs at New Meadow are far more impressive than in recent years.
Newport Shock Sees Them Gain First Win
Coventry City had started their League Two campaign with three wins from three. Newport had started theirs with just two points from six. There should really have only been one winner at the Ricoh Arena.
Newport hadn’t read that script however, as they shocked the Sky Blues with just a single goal to take all three points back to South Wales.
The home side dominated every aspect of the statistics, but it was Reece Cole’s goal that ultimately separated the two sides. The on-loan Brentford midfielder shot speculatively from distance, and his tame shot slipped through the hands of goalkeeper Liam O’Brien.
It had been a slow start for Newport in the league this season. They were one of the talking points of the last campaign after their miraculous survival, but their total of two points from two games at the start of this season made it seem like they would struggle again. However, this win puts them on five points and has propelled them to ninth position in the table.
This is most likely just a small blip in Coventry’s season. They remain one of the strongest outfits in the league and will no doubt be fighting for promotion for the remainder of this season.
Phenomenal Forest Green Fight Back
They may have featured in a Football League Roundup already this season, but Forest Green’s win against Yeovil means they deserve another appearance. A draw on the opening day at against Barnet was followed by their first loss away at Mansfield. However, this weekend, when it seemed least likely, they had their first success.
Visitors Yeovil took an early lead at the New Lawn through Olufela Olomola. He tapped in a simple goal before Otis Khan doubled the visitors’ lead from the penalty spot.
Christian Doidge pulled a goal back for Rovers on just 23 minutes. Yeovil regained their advantage, however, when Francois Zoko nodded in. Reece Brown’s exquisite free-kick, though, ensured Forest Green went into half time just one goal behind.
Barely four minutes into the second half, Forest Green were level in comic fashion. Charlie Cooper had a go from distance, and Artur Krysiak in the Yeovil goal let it slip through his grasp.
Krysiak didn’t cover himself in glory for the winner either. The Polish ‘keeper was slow off his line, and Omar Bugiel beat him to the ball to head over into the empty net.
In the Championship, Sheffield United continued their impressive start back in the second tier with a 1-0 win over Barnsley. Billy Sharp scored the only goal at Bramall Lane. Both sides finished with 10 men after United’s Leon Clarke and Barnsley’s Angus MacDonald were sent off for an off-the-ball incident.
Aston Villa got their first win of the season as Conor Hourihane’s hat-trick helped them beat Norwich 4-2. It wasn’t such a good day for Bolton however, as a David Nugent double saw Derby take all three points.
Sheffield Wednesday and Preston both claimed 1-0 wins in their games. Steven Fletcher got Wednesday’s goal at Craven Cottage against Fulham, whereas Jordan Hugill’s goal saw the Lilywhites beat Reading.
Cardiff continued their 100% start with a 2-1 win away at Wolves. Ipswich also remain unbeaten as they brushed aside Brentford 2-0 at Portman Road.
QPR left it late to beat Hull at Loftus Road. Idrissa Sylla popped up in the 91st minute to give Rangers their second win of the season.
Leeds put in an excellent performance at Sunderland to win 2-0. Samuel Saiz finished off a move with a classy finish before Stuart Dallas’ powerful header confirmed the win for Leeds.
Finally, Millwall remain without a win this season after holding Bristol City to a 0-0 draw at Ashton Gate.
In League One, Blackburn got their first win of the season after Dominic Samuel scored the only goal against Bradford. There were also 1-0 wins for Scunthorpe and MK Dons. Scunthorpe beat table toppers Oxford United, while Osman Sow scored on his Dons debut against Gillingham. Josh Wright had a late chance to level for the Gills, but he fired a penalty over the crossbar in the 88th minute.
Bristol Rovers left Bury relieved after a late revival from the home side. Rovers led 3-0 at Gigg Lane but stoppage time goals from Jermaine Beckford and Nicky Ajose made it a nervy finish for the visitors.
Doncaster and Blackpool played out a six goal thriller at the Keepmoat Stadium. Callum Cooke’s goal 15 minutes from time rescued a 3-3 draw for the visitors. Fleetwood and Wigan both won 2-0 against AFC Wimbledon and Oldham respectively to maintain their 100% starts.
Peterborough also remain unbeaten after defeating Rotherham 2-1 at London Road.
Walsall held Portsmouth to a 1-1 draw at Fratton Park, as did Plymouth at Southend.
Billy Kee’s late goal ensured a 2-1 win for Accrington against Mansfield in League Two. Mansfield had been unbeaten up to that point.
Cheltenham suffered a 3-0 defeat on a long trip to Carlisle, and Port Vale’s much shorter trip to Chesterfield ended in a 2-0 defeat for them.
Cambridge were 1-0 victors at Crawley thanks to Jabo Ibehre’s goal, and Crewe won by the same scoreline at home to Barnet. Exeter also defeated newcomers Lincoln 1-0 in their game at St James’ Park.
Luton continued their high-scoring start to the season by putting three past Colchester at Kenilworth Road, while near neighbours Stevenage also scored three in a 3-1 home win over Grimsby.
Swindon left Morecambe with all three points thanks to Donal McDermott’s goal, and finally Notts County came away from Wycombe with a 4-2 win in an entertaining game at Adams Park.
The Carabao Cup takes centre stage this midweek with some Premier League clubs joining the action. The league games continue next Friday as Bristol City and Hull host Aston Villa and Bolton respectively in the Championship.
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