In this weekend’s big clash, West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United each walked away with a share of the spoils as they maintained their unbeaten starts and continued to improve their Championship football odds.
After a quiet first period, the Baggies twice took the lead but twice found themselves pegged back by a persistent United side, who eventually managed to secure a draw courtesy of a late David Cotterill penalty. The point proved useful for both teams, as fellow pace setters Cardiff and Middlesbrough slumped to defeat.
For Cardiff it was a case of a bad day at the office, as they were caught off guard by an impressive Doncaster performance. Bluebird’s boss Dave Jones was left to reflect on a slow start.
“Do I feel happy? No I don’t.” Jones told the BBC.
“I don’t think we turned up in the first 20 minutes and you can’t afford to do that to any team at this level as we gave them a two-goal start.”
While Cardiff’s defeat may have been down to a slow start, Middlesbrough’s problems are altogether more concerning.
Gareth Southgate’s team had won three games in a row but having lost two of their best players in mid-week (Tuncay Sanli and Robert Huth), it was a significantly weaker side that took to the field against Bristol City. The Robins took full advantage of the situation and claimed a 2-1 victory, courtesy of two goals from the sort of long ball that big defender Robert Huth was so good at dealing with. With another couple of days till the close of the transfer window, Southgate will be desperate to ensure there are no more departures.
It was also a miserable weekend for Simon Davey, who left Barnsley by mutual consent following a 3-1 home defeat to Reading. It was a decision that many felt inevitable, following a largely difficult two and a half years in charge.
Davey had been asked by the club’s owner to make a “persuasive case” for him to stay, after avoiding relegation on the final day of last season. The 39 year old remained in charge over the summer but his stay of execution has proved predictably short lived.