The last 100% records go, we have new leaders and the Hammers win away from home. All these and more are featured in TheHardTackle’s Top 6 highlights from Round 5 of the Championship:-
1. Winning streak ends for Southampton and Derby County
Going in to the weekend both Southampton and Derby County had 100% records, having won their first 4 games. On Saturday, their perfect starts finally came to an end.
Southampton travelled to the Walkers Stadium to face Sven-Goran Eriksson’s big-spending Leicester City. Within 3 minutes, the leaders were behind as former England man Darius Vassell prodded the home side into the lead. Midway through the first-half, Leicester City doubled their lead, as midfielder Richie Wellens scored from outside of the box.
The Saints got a goal back through Dan Harding, before the game’s major talking point on the stroke of half-time. From a Leicester corner, Saints striker Rickie Lambert headed into his own net, although he looked to have been fouled by a Foxes’ player. The referee waved away Southampton appeals, resulting in a two-goal cushion for Leicester again.
Feeling aggrieved, Southampton came out fighting in the second half with David Connolly reducing the deficit on 53 minutes. They looked for an equaliser, but some heroic goalkeeping from Kasper Schmeichel ensured that Leicester hung on for their first home win of the season, following two previous defeats.
Joint-leaders Derby faced Burnley at Pride Park. The hosts went close early on through Jason Shackell, before Burnley striker Charlie Austin hit the woodwork with a header.
After the break, Austin made up for his miss as he scored from close range to give the visitors the lead. Derby levelled through Theo Robinson in the 71st minute, before Austin doubled his account 3 minutes later, when he capitalised on keeper Frank Fieldings’ fumble.
Despite late pressure from the home side, Burnley held on to end the Rams’ perfect start.
2. Seagulls take advantage and fly to the top
Defeats for both Southampton and Derby allowed Brighton and Hove Albion to leapfrog them into first place, with a 2-0 home win over Peterborough United.
Craig Noone fired the Seagulls ahead when he intercepted a Posh goal-kick, advanced with the ball, and then struck a low left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Peterborough nearly leveled when Lee Frecklington’s shot was cleared off the line by Inigo Calderon; then Brighton keeper Kasper Ankergren pulled off good saves from Grant McCann and Paul Taylor.
The hosts cemented the win in the 65th minute, when Ryan Harley brilliantly curled a 30-yard strike into the top corner. It was nearly 3-0 when former Peterborough striker Craig Mackail-Smith headed wide.
The win puts Gus Poyet’s side top of the league by a point, whilst like Middlesbrough, they remain unbeaten.
3. Hammers continue to impress away from home
West Ham United have yet to win at home this season, with Wednesday night’s shock Carling Cup defeat to lowly Aldershot Town being the latest failure.
However, on their travels, the Hammers look a completely different team. Having already won at Doncaster Rovers and Watford, Sam Allardyce’s men travelled to the City Ground to take on Nottingham Forest in Sunday’s televised clash. A superb performance saw them run out 4-1 winners, moving into 5th spot in the table.
An own goal from Forest defender Liam Chambers put the Hammers ahead after 21 minutes. Thereafter, two first-half headers from Kevin Nolan and Carlton Cole meant that the away side lead 3-0 at the break.
American international Robbie Findley got a goal back for the home side on 70 minutes, before Winston Reid rounded off the Hammers’ success.
With Spurs-bound Scott Parker not in the squad, this was an impressive victory for Allardyce’s side.
4. Leeds suffer disciplinary problems again
Leeds’ up-and-down start to the season continued as they lost away at Ipswich Town.
The home side had conceded 12 goals in the two previous games, so when Ross McCormack headed the visitors into the lead, the writing looked on the wall for Paul Jewell’s struggling Tractor Boys.
However, early in the second-half, Leeds were reduced to 10 men when full-back Aidy White brought down Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, when the ex-Arsenal man was through on goal. It was Leeds’ third dismissal of the season already, whilst they have totalled up a multitude of yellow cards.
With numerical advantage, the home side grew in confidence. Their pressure finally paid off when substitute Jason Scotland struck from 20 yards.
With time running out, Town midfielder Keith Andrews settled the game when his deflected shot beat Andy Lonergan.
5. Another Rooney scores in Sunday stalemate
Whilst Wayne Rooney was scoring a hat-trick in Manchester United’s 8-2 demolition job over Arsenal, another Rooney was on target in the Championship.
Adam Rooney scored his second goal of the season to put Birmingham City ahead at Watford. A much-needed win for the Blues looked on the cards until Marvin Sordell equalised for the Hornets with 10 minutes to go.
Chris Wood put Birmingham ahead again with two minutes to go, only for ex-Brum defender Martin Taylor to earn the home side a share of the spoils in injury time.
The draw did no good for either side. Watford remain 3rd from bottom with 3 draws from 5 games, whilst Birmingham sit only a point and place ahead of them as they struggle to acclimatise to the Championship, following last season’s relegation from the Premier League.
6. 2008 FA Cup Final Repeat
On 17th May, 2008, Portsmouth met Cardiff City at Wembley in the 2008 FA Cup final. This weekend saw The Championship stage a repeat as the two sides met at Fratton Park.
In a game of many chances, both sides struck the woodwork and spurned a number of guilt-edged opportunities before the Bluebirds took a 71st minute lead when full-back Andrew Taylor drilled the ball into the Portsmouth net.
With ten minutes left, Nwanko Kanu, the man who settled that FA Cup final, got his name on the scoresheet again when he came off the bench to head in Tal Ben-Haim’s cross.
The result leaves Cardiff in 7th on 8 points and Portsmouth twelfth with six.
Round 5 Results:
Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 Peterborough United
Crystal Palace 1-1 Blackpool
Derby County 1-2 Burnley
Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Bristol City
Hull City 1-0 Reading
Ipswich Town 2-1 Leeds United
Leicester City 3-2 Southampton
Middlesbrough 1-1 Coventry City
Millwall 0-0 Barnsley
Nottingham Forest 1-4 West Ham United
Portsmouth 1-1 Cardiff City
Watford 2-2 Birmingham City