Reading missed the chance to extend their lead at the top to six points after a second straight defeat. Second placed Swansea drew with Brentford meaning Reading still have a three point lead. Bristol City and Cardiff bonce back from weekend losses with wins. Wycombe make it two wins in two and Prestons impressive away form continues as they make it four wins from five.
Swansea traveled to Brentford, the side that beat them in last seasons play-offs.
The Swans started brightly with Kyle Naughton and Andre Ayew testing the Bees Keeper David Raya. Brentford, however, took the lead in the 32nd minute as Ivan Toney turned in Mathias Jensens cross from close range. Swansea leveled through Ayew, who turned in Matt Grimes’ cross inside the six yard box. Swansea sit second after an impressive start whilst last years play-off finalists sit in tenth.
Swansea boss Steve Cooper thought his side deserved to win the game telling the BBC:
“We thought that we were comfortable in the game and Freddie (Woodman) didn’t have a save to make all game. Their keeper made two world class saves in the early stages.
“You wish after a performance like that coming here that it would have been three points instead of one”.
Thomas Frank told BBC Radio London:
“We didn’t play particularly well in the second half, but neither did Swansea. There was a lot of back and forth, but with their goal, we need to defend better”.
Bristol City, meanwhile, are back to winning ways after five games without one, coming from behind at Huddersfield Town. Josh Koroma gave the home side the lead two minutes from the break.
City turned the game around in the second half with goals from Jay Dasilva and Jamie Paterson. Huddersfield sit 15th in the table whilst Bristol City sit outside the play-off places on goal difference. This was a good time for Bristol to regain some form as they head to south Wales on Friday for the Severnside Derby.
Their host’s on Friday also got a win on Tuesday as Cardiff responded to Neil Harris’ criticism of them after Saturday loss to QPR. Neil Harris switched to a 4-4-2 starting with Kieffer Moore and Robert Glatzel. Junior Hoilett gave the Bluebirds the lead after four minutes skillfully bringing down Joe Bennett’s cross. Joe Ralls added a second just before the break from the spot after Harry Wilson was brought down. Wilson added a third on 77 minutes with a stunning left footed strike from outside the box. Cardiff move to 13th and Barnsley are 18th.
Sheffield Wednesday ended Bournemouth’s unbeaten start with a 1-0 victory at Hillsborough. The goal came from the spot after Josh Windass skipped around Begovic but was brought down by Steve Cook. Cook also saw a red card for the challenge. Barry Bannan calmly put the spot kick home. Wednesday held on to win despite Kadeem Harris being sent off for a rash tackle in stoppage time.
Norwich City were unable to break Millwall’s defence at Carrow Road as Millwall get a vital away point.
Przemysław Płacheta saw his effort just before half time smash the upright. Emiliano Buendia saw his effort saved by Millwall keeper Bialkowski. Norwich boss Daniel Farke told BBC Radio Norfolk:
“We created an unbelievable amount of chances with lots of possession close to the opponent’s box. We had 27 chances today. Can’t complain too much, the only thing we can criticise is our responsibility to finish”.
Elsewhere, Middlesbrough made it nine unbeaten as they drew at Blackburn 0-0.
Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray told BBC Radio Lancashire:
“Let’s hope there are not many games like that the rest of the season. It wasn’t nice to watch, I didn’t enjoy it. Lets take the point put it in the bank and move on”.
Neil Warnock told BBC Tees:
“The only regret was not getting three points but that’s the Championship, if you don’t win you’ve got to make sure you come away with a point”.
Another away win for Preston as they beat leaders Reading by three goals. Despite a missed penalty from Daniel Johnson two goals in four minutes from Scott Sinclair and Emil Riis followed by a Brad Potts goal in stoppage time gave Preston their fourth away win.
A high ball into the box was clearly chested down by Sinclair and slotted into the goal despite Reading appeals for offside. A quick counter saw Preston double their lead Emil Riis reaching a long ball and sliding his shot under the advancing keeper. Another quick break from Preston saw Tom Barkhuizen get behind Readings defence. His squared ball into the box was met by Potts who put the ball into the top corner.
Reading head coach Veljko Paunovic said after the game:
“I’m not disappointed but I feel the pain. When you lose a game, you have to absorb it. That’s what I’ve told the players.
“You have to bounce back and convert the pain into a positive energy for the next game”.
Preston boss Alex Neil said:
“This seems to be quite common for us on the road. We’ve been excellent on the road”.
A five goal thriller at Vicarage Road as Watford beat Stoke City. Stoke took the lead after 2 minutes, Steven Fletcher finishing a training ground corner.
Watford equalised after 28 minutes Tom Cleverley finishing off a lovely piece of passing play from Watford. Cleverley’s shot came off the bar and the ground to be collected by the keeper, after a brief wait the ref gave the goal after receiving a signal form the Goal Decision System.
Joao Pedro’s gave the lead to Watford after Sarr was brought down by Stoke Keeper Angus Gunn. Nick Powell leveled for Stoke with a right footed strike from the edge of the box on 81 minutes. But Watford weren’t done as Sarr found the net three minutes into added time.
Wycombe made it three unbeaten with a 2-1 win at St Andrews. Despite going behind to a Marc Roberts goal just before the break. A late second half fight back with Scott Kashket leveling the game on 75 minutes and an own goal in injury time from Kristian Pedersen. Wycombe after severn points in three games are not just a point of Coventry and getting out of the relegation zone.
Coventry lost out on a point to a 96 minute Lyle Taylor penalty as they lost to Forest 2-1. Scott Mckenna had given Forest the lead before Callum O’Hare squared things up. This was Forests first win in five and they sit 20th in the table. Derby lost again at Pride Park as QPR scored a late winner for the second game running. After a 91 minute winner on Saturday, Macauley Bonne’s late header gave QPR another three points. Luton picked up a good win away at Rotherham 1-0 with a goal from James Collins.
Another busy weekend of Championship action as Friday sees the Serevenside Derby between Cardiff City and Bristol City. Leaders Reading host Stoke in Saturdays early kick off, whilst Norwich v Swansea should be a cracker of a game.
Reading moved to the top of table after their win on Tuesday. The Royals with their fifth win of the season sit three points clear of Bristol City. City suffered a 1-0 defeat on Tuesday evening going down to Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough.
Wednesday night saw Bournemouth earn at point at Cardiff, a home win for Watford and Brentford win at Sheffield Wednesday. Bournemouth remain unbeaten so far and are currently fourth. Watford’s win sees them in thrid spot three points behind leaders Reading.
Reading won at the Madejski thanks to a Lucas Joao goal on 64 minutes. A long ball from the back was taken down by Joao with his back to goal. Turning past two Wycombe defenders he then fired low into the net. Another clean sheet for Reading who have the best defence in the division. A sixth defeat for Wycombe, and having managed only one goal puts them in a difficult position in their first ever Championship Campaign.
Reading manager Veljko Paunovic said after the game:
“Defensively, we’re looking solid so far but we have to keep working to improve going forward and game by game, we’ll keep building and progressing”.
Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth, meanwhile, had this to say:
“I think six defeats on the spin is a first for me and it’s not a nice feeling. We need to get a win on the board and I’m sure that’s just around the corner”.
Bristol City dropped to second after gifting Middlesbrough the winning goal at Ashton Gate. Playing out from the back Bristol defender Luke Moore got caught and lost the ball to George Saville who then slotted it past the advancing keeper.
This was Bristol City’s first defeat of the season, manager Dean Holden told BBC Bristol:
“We were nowhere near the level we were at previously, we didn’t have a shot on target during the game and our performance levels were well below where we’ve been”.
Neil Warnock’s Boro are 11th and the veteran manager told BBC Tees:
“We were always dangerous going forward, we just couldn’t get the bit of luck and we get a goal like that, we worked on closing down and George Saville did exactly that and it’s nice when you get your reward”.
Millwall moved into a Play-off place courtesy of a 2-0 win at home to Luton. A Cranie own goal in first half stoppage time and a stunner from Connor Mahoney. Mahoney’s shot form the edge of the box going in off the post.
Derby’s poor start continued as they lost at Huddersfield by a goal from Juninho Bacuna. Its four games unbeaten for the Terriers. Derby have now lost five of their six games who are in the relegation places.
Swansea remain in the play-off places following their draw with Coventry City. Jordan Shipley after 19 minutes gave Coventry the lead. Andre Ayew equalised on 41 minutes.
Nottingham Forest and Rotherham United shared the points after a 1-1 draw at the City Ground. Daniel Barlaser with a penalty for Rotherham after 51 minutes was cancelled out by Sammi Ameobi goal on 79 minutes. Norwich made it two wins in a row beating Birmingham City by a goal to nil. Mario Vranic with the goal on 87 minutes.
Watford moved up to third after a 3-1 win over Blackburn. A lovely piece of passing was finished by Pedro to give Watford the lead after just 13 minutes. Ismaila Sarrs’ skilful control gave him the chance to shoot, his shot was saved but fell to Tom Cleverley who headed in an open goal. Rovers hit back before half time when Brereton brought the ball down with his chest and volleyed into the bottom right corner from outside the box.
Watford restored their two goal lead just after the restart. A cross from the Watford left was turn into the Blackburn net by Darragh Lenihan. Blackburn had a lifeline to salvage something from the game on 69 minutes when Lewis Holtby was brought down in the box. Alex Armstrong took the spot kick putting it to Ben Forsters right. The keeper went the right way and pushed the ball wide.
Bournemouth dropped below Watford after drawing at Cardiff. The Cherries lead at half time thanks to a Dominic Solanke goal on 35 minutes. Jack Stacey’s cross from the Cardiff left found Solanke free inside the six yard box to tap home. Cardiff had chances in the first half, Harry Wilson shot from the edge of the box zipped just past the post.
The Stacy-Solanke combo almost made it two nil if not for a stunning close range save from Alex Smithies. The game was wide open and Harry Wilson struck the bar from a free kick as Cardiff looked to level. Will Vaulks saw his header from Wilson’s corner tipped over by Asmir Begovic. Cardiff did get level on 62 minutes. Hoiletts’ low ball across the box missed Robert Glatzel but went to Harry Wilson who sent his side footed shot into the corner. Stanislas struck the bar from a free kick, as Bournemouth press for a winner. Cardiff held on to get their first home point of the season.
Two goals from Ivan Toney either side of a Callum Patterson goal gave Brentford all three points at Hillsborough. The win sees Brentford one point behind sixth placed Swansea. Wednesday still have a navigate points tally of -4 which leaves then 7 points adrift of Barnsley.
Barnsley twice lead at Stoke with goals from Elliot Simoes and dominik Frieser. Stoke leveled first though Tyrese Campbell and then Tom Smith. Stoke’s Nathan Collins saw red for an off the ball incident with Frieser.
Preston continued their good away form with a 2-0 win at Queens Park Rangers. Daniel Johnson with a first half penalty and Scot Sinclair with another in the second half. Preston top the table on away form so if they can fin some form at Deepdale they could really challenge towards the top this season.
Cardiff City will host Reading on Saturday in matchday three of the championship. The bluebirds head into the fixture on the back of a good 2-0 away win at Nottingham Forest. Reading have managed two wins from two beating against both Derby and Barnsley by two goals to nil.
The two sides met four times last season drawing both league meetings and two FA Cup games. Reading won the reply on penalties. So expect another tight contest. There was plenty of off the field between the two clubs as well with Reading accusing Cardiff supporters of racist/homophobic chanting at the Madejski and a Reading supporter being ejected at the return fixture for mocking the death of Emiliano Sala.
Cardiff boss Neil Harris held a virtual press conference this week and said:
“After three points on Saturday and a dominant performance, of course everyone is on a high in the training ground,”
“If you can win two or three games in a rowit shoots you up the division, the same as losing three or four. That’s where consistency becomes vital over a period of time. We didn’t have it in our first game, but in the second game we were very good.
“This week to the same against Reading, we’ll have to play very well. We’ll have to be solid defensively against a very good front four, and create goal scoring opportunities from a combination of fluent football, set plays and direct play”.
Reading manager Veljko Paunovic said ahead of the game:
“Cardiff are a good team though coming from a good result. We know their strengths. And, on the other side, we know what we can do welland this is what we can improve”.
Players to Watch
For Cardiff striker Kieffer Moore will be looking to add to his two goals at Forest last week. The big forward is key to Cardiff’s attack with his hold up play as important as his goals.
Marlon Pack played a vital part in Cardiff’s win protecting the back four and helping build up Cardiff Attacks. He told Cardiff City TV:
“Without there being any supporters in there its a bit different, but you still want to create an atmosphere and an intensity at your home stadium”.
For Reading Yakou Meite haunted Bluebird fans last term scoring three times. He has one already for this season scoring from the bench in the 2-0 win v Barnsley.
Portuguese international Lucas Joao for has a flying start to the season and has netted four goals in all competitions. A hat trick in the EFL cup against Colchester and the opening goal in the win at Derby.
How To Watch
This game is avaible to watch on ifollow or can be seen on Cardiff City TV.
Prediction; Cardiff City 1-0 Reading
This will be a close game Reading are in good form but the Bluebirds will be feeling good after a two nil win away to Forest. Cardiff to edge this won.
As football came to a standstill, with the last football fixtures played over a month ago, clubs submerged into circumstances which would cut revenue and throw thousands upon thousands of jobs into jeopardy. Uncertainty of cash flow has seen various individuals sacrifice a wage percentage to ensure non-playing staff receive income. In one example, Reading manager Mark Bowen and chief executive Nigel Howe took a ”substantial percentage” wage cut in order to pay staff at the Berkshire club.
In the uncertain times of today, football clubs and their players have not been short of ideas in helping out and keeping busy. Social media has been flooded with entertainment courtesy of the biggest stars in football, whether that be Cristiano Ronaldo using his children as weights in his home gym or Nottingham Forest winger, Joe Lolley throwing a pan over his house. We have certainly seen a variety!
With recognition that a football club is a colossal source of employment relative to a small town or community, it has become crystal clear just how important the football industry has become to towns and cities across the country. Fears of small clubs being disabled in recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic puts whole communities in a dismal situation. Despite this pressing thought, the football clubs we know and love are giving back through support in the community.
In regards to the 2019/2020 football season as a whole key decisions certainly need to be made. After all, with so much money at stake and livelihoods of many at risk, should there in fact be any relegation’s this season? Dropping down a league is a deeply emotional as well as a troubling financial affair and in the current situation may we see the Premier League and the Football Leagues decide to stop the drop? Perhaps the most likely of the options is to finish the season – when safe for players, immediate staff and reporters to do so- behind close doors. This option is certainly the safest and potentially most sensible option, but both players and fans alike will argue this does not allow for a true representation of the season considering how atmospheres in stadiums can affect the game.
As for promotions and league titles this has to be concluded, not only because the whole team, fans included, have been building towards that target, but have also pledged large amounts of their budget on the basis of gaining promotion. Suddenly having that taken away could have dire financial consequences. When it is safe to do this is still unknown,however some reports say that the start of June is a possibility.
Another thing to consider is how will contracts and the transfer window work? Players and staff contracts usually run until the end of June/July in order to cover the season. Will contracts have to be extended to see out the current season or will a general rule be brought in? How will the Transfer Window work with Social Distancing rules? Could deals be done via video calls, potentially yes, but will everyone be satisfied by this ?
On a large scale, we’ve seen in the space of two weeks players unite with #PlayersTogether. A charity set up amongst the Premier League club captains in order to fund and provide PPE, vital equipment for NHS staff and key workers on the front line of the pandemic.
At a local level, many clubs have delivered for those wonderful individuals of the NHS. In Watford, Vicarage Road has been opened to allow a place of rest and recovery for Doctors and Nurses and Watford General Hospital.
While up north, Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook has transferred managerial skills to supermarket delivery skills, signing up as a key worker to deliver shopping to those in self-isolation.
Manchester United and England striker, Marcus Rashford has also continued his work within the community by partnering with FareShare, a charity which is reaching out to school children who would usually benefit from free school meals. Rashford’s involvement has helped the charity raise over £20 million which is directly bettering lives through distribution of meals to over 400,000 school children.
Arguably social media has been poignant in lifting spirits of everyone bound to their homes, giving us an insight to the lives of footballers and also allowing engagement between clubs and community. Various footballers from all teams have been video calling with young fans and we even had an insight to the Liverpool side having their morning meeting via today’s technology.
Furthermore, the Match Of The Days boys are ever present on social media and also completing one of many football podcasts. In the time slot of the regular highlights programme the show continues to add some routine to football fans across the country.
In a time of little positivity, it is these small gestures that are welcomed to bring light to the situation.
To hear more about football during isolation please listen to our podcast below.
The Isolation Pod: When will football return and Newcastle to be taken over?