Story by Richard Curtis
This weekend twenty two of the division’s sides were in action. This week’s report focuses on the teams whose names begin with the letter ‘B’.
Brighton are the division’s early leaders and moved two points clear on Saturday thanks to a 2-1 win away at Millwall. In a lively encounter both goalkeepers were forced into early saves but Brighton deservedly broke the deadlock when Will Buckley’s cut back fell to Ashley Barnes to fire in. Adam El-Abd soon made it two with an incisive close range finish after a corner was not properly cleared. Millwall pilled on the pressure late on and despite substitute Chris Taylor being dismissed for a careless lunge they managed to get themselves back in the game through a Chris Wood drive. Unfortunately for Millwall, Brighton shut up shop and held on to the ball well in the closing minutes preventing an equaliser.
Second placed Blackburn lost ground on the leaders and their unbeaten record in Friday night’s 2-1 defeat at home to Middlesbrough. Striker Lukas Jutkiewicz marked his first start of the campaign following a summer knee operation with both his sides’ goals. Jutkiewicz drove in an early opener and guided in a header from Mustapha Carayol’s cross to ensure Boro’s first away league win of the campaign. Rovers midfielder Grant Hanley headed in a consolation goal for Blackburn late on, before Jordan Rhodes had a penalty appeal rejected, leaving manager Steve Kean fuming. Incredibly despite his sides’ league position Kean faced more chants demanding his departure from angry and in my opinion deluded fans! Third placed Blackpool who already have a goal difference of +11 will hope to leapfrog Blackburn in Monday night’s game against Huddersfield.
This weekend’s surprise result came from St. Andrews where Barnsley recorded one of their biggest ever away victories in their 5-0 demolition of Birmingham City. All the goals came in 19 second half minutes, and four of them were from striker Craig Davies. The Tykes claimed their first clean sheet in 24 away games and their first win in five league matches on the road. Infuriated Birmingham manager Lee Clark’s analysis summed his sides performance up well “It was a totally flat performance in every aspect. Barnsley played through us. It’s an awful performance. There were lots of mistakes but everything we did was so flat. There was no urgency and it was lifeless.”
Bolton continued their recently improved form with a 2-1 win away to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. The visitors went ahead on the stroke of half-time through Marcos Alonso, before on-loan Everton midfielder Ross Barkley equalised for the Owls with a penalty after Anthony Gardner was fouled in the box. Mark Davies was the match winner, netting after a mazy run in which he beat three players before smashing a shot into the top corner of the net claiming Bolton’s first away league win of the season. Burnley also achieved their first away win of the season with a 2-1 win against Derby at Pride Park, thanks to two goals including a last gasp winner from inform striker Charlie Austin. The game was notable for defender Jason Shackell’s return to Derby following his controversial move to Burnley this summer. Bristol City snatched a late equaliser through striker Steve Davies in the 2-2 draw against Watford who ended a run of four straight defeats. A David Wilson own goal and Vydra header had given the hosts the lead before Marvin Elliott and Davies replied.
Elsewhere Glenn Murray scored a second-half hat-trick for Crystal Palace as 6th placed Cardiff City surrendered a two-goal lead in a thrilling game at Selhurst Park. Wolves moved up to 5th position with a 2-0 win away to Peterborough (who are yet to pick up a point this season) thanks to goals from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Bjorn Sigurdarson. Leicester City moved to within 1 point of the playoffs following a 3-1 win at the King Power Stadium against 4th placed Hull City thanks to a wonderful hat-trick from striker David Nugent. Ipswich’s torrid start to the season continued with a 2-1 defeat at home to newly promoted Charlton for whom Ricardo Fuller scored his first goal following his summer move from Stoke City and Nottingham Forest saw their unbeaten league record come to an end as Leeds avenged last season’s famous 7-3 defeat with a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Becchio and Poleon.
Upcoming games to look out for:-
Mon 24th Huddersfield Town Vs Blackpool.
Sat 29th Brighton & Hove Albion Vs Birmingham City.
Sat 29th Cardiff City Vs Blackpool.
Sun 30th Nottingham Forest Vs Derby County.