London (AFP) – Scotland international Steven Naismith was among the scorers as Norwich City ran rampant with a 4-1 win at Blackburn Rovers in their opening Championship game on Saturday.
Newcastle United, the hot favourites for the title, had slipped to a 1-0 loss at Fulham on Friday.
And Norwich, who like Newcastle are aiming for an immediate return to the Premier League, were the most convincing winners on an opening day packed with goals.
The Canaries made a dream start at Ewood Park, with veteran Republic of Ireland international Wes Hoolahan, who signed a new contract this week, putting them two goals ahead in the 20th minute after Jacob Murphy’s early opener.
Cameron Jerome added a third soon afterwards to make it a nightmare start on the Rovers bench for Owen Coyle.
The former Bolton Wanderers coach reacted by sending on ex-Celtic striker Anthony Stokes at half-time, but it was the visitors who extended their lead as Naismith made it four.
Stokes did get one back for the hosts, but far too late to affect the outcome.
Wolverhampton Wanderers fought back from 2-0 down with 10 men to seal a 2-2 draw at Rotherham United in Walter Zenga’s first game in charge.
Goals from Danny Ward and Will Vaulks put the hosts in control, but George Saville gave Wolves hope before half-time.
England Under-21 international Dominic Iorfa was sent off in the second half, but Icelandic international striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson grabbed a point with 25 minutes to play.
Nigel Clough didn’t enjoy a fairytale return to Nottingham Forest as his Burton Albion side ended up losing a thrilling encounter 4-3.
Clough looked to be on course for a memorable victory with his cheaply-assembled side when they came from 1-0 down to take the lead.
However, Forest came storming back as Britt Assombalonga crowned his comeback appearance after 18 months out injured with a brace.
Jaap Stam, another new face in a Championship dugout, got off to a winning start as Reading beat Preston North End 1-0 thanks to a first-half winner from John Swift.
Sunday’s action sees Aston Villa, the third of the relegated Premier League sides, travel to last season’s beaten play-off finalists Sheffield Wednesday.
The day’s other game pitches fallen giants Leeds United, with former Swansea City coach Garry Monk in charge, against Queen’s Park Rangers.