As always, there was no shortage of drama in the EFL this weekend. There were even a couple of notable managerial departures too.
Fulham stunned at home; Sheffield United enter top six; Derby continue miraculous climb
Fulham sit top of the tree, and with Bournemouth’s clash with Nottingham Forest postponed they had a chance to extend their lead at the top to nine points. But it wasn’t to be, as Huddersfield stunned them with a 2-1 success at Craven Cottage with goals from Danny Ward and a penalty from Duane Holmes. Bobby De-Cordova Reid scored late on, but it would be a mere consolation. Ward grabbed goal number 11 of the season which makes this season the 30-year old’s best in front of goal. The Terriers and Liverpool are the only two teams to remain unbeaten in 2022 in the top four leagues of English football.
Sheffield United saw themselves enter the top six reckoning for the first time this season. They thrashed Swansea 4-0 at Bramall Lane, with Morgan Gibbs-White getting on the scoresheet twice. George Baldock and Billy Sharp grabbed the other goals. The Blades have now only lost one of their last 14 league games, winning nine of them in the process. Russell Martin’s Swansea side look to be labouring towards a mid-table finish and they are without a win on the road since November.
Another side on the rise are Luton Town. Nathan Jones’ side proudly sit 8th in the league following a 2-0 success at home to West Brom. The Hatters, who were non-league as recently as 2014, are four points from the playoff spots courtesy of a header from veteran Cameron Jerome and Allan Campbell’s strike. They remain unbeaten at Kenilworth Road since a 2-1 defeat against Cardiff City on November 27th.
— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) February 20, 2022
At the bottom end of the table, Derby and Peterborough met at Pride Park in what already seemed like a vital game. The Rams took the spoils courtesy of a late Louis Sibley goal. The goal came after red cards for Derby’s Tom Lawrence and Posh’s Hayden Coulson. Peterborough also accepted the resignation of manager Darren Ferguson the day after the game, ending his third spell at the club.
Morning, Rams! 👋🐏
Start the day with a look at 𝗧𝗛𝗔𝗧 reaction in the dugout! 😍
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) February 20, 2022
There was also a managerial departure at Reading. After weeks of speculation, Veljko Paunovic said goodbye to the Royals after a year and a half in charge with Paul Ince set to take charge at the club. They faced Preston North End at Deepdale and only high-flying Huddersfield have taken more points than the Lilywhites since Ryan Lowe took charge of the club on 7th December. This was Lowe’s first home loss as Paunovic’s last act was a 3-2 success at Deepdale. Two goals from forward Lucas Joao and John Swift’s 10th league goal of the season meant they picked up their first league win since 27th November.
Points shared at the top; Sunderland continue to struggle; Wycombe and Cheltenham play out thriller
The action in League One kicked off on Friday night, with Rotherham playing host to Wigan Athletic. The top two contested a 1-1 draw, with the Millers’ Ollie Rathbone levelling after Stephen Humphry’s gave Wigan the lead. Humphry’s strike was the first Rotherham had conceded in seven League One outings. The draw means they maintain their six-point gap over the Latics, although they still boast two games in hand.
Early season favourites Sunderland cannot buy a win lately. Alex Neil’s side lost their fourth in five games after a 2-1 home loss to fellow promotion challengers MK Dons. Connor Wickham got the winner against his former club.
Sheffield Wednesday won the South Yorkshire derby with Doncaster. They fell behind in the first half but rallied to score three goals in the final 20 minutes with Jamie Paterson, Saido Berahino and Barry Bannan securing a 3-1 success for the Owls and their fifth win in six matches as only goal difference keeps them out of the top six.
Wycombe Wanderers scored five at home to Cheltenham. Unfortunately for them, the Robins also scored five as incredibly the game at Adams Park finished 5-5, with Alfie May grabbing four for Cheltenham meaning the former Doncaster forward has scored eight goals in his last four matches.
— Wycombe Wanderers (@wwfcofficial) February 19, 2022
Plymouth Argyle are officially back in the promotion hunt too. They went to Gillingham and took all three points thanks to Jordon Garrick and Luke Jephcott’s penalty which secured them a 2-0 win. This was Gills manager Neil Harris’ first home loss.
Forest Green Rovers’ unbeaten run ended; Misery piles up for Scunthorpe
Former Newport manager Michael Flynn is now in the hotseat at Walsall following Matty Taylor’s sacking. He got off to the perfect start as they went to leaders Forest Green and won 1-0 courtesy of George Miller’s first half goal. This ended Rovers 19-game unbeaten run and compounded them to only their third defeat of the season.
19 league games unbeaten. Third defeat of the campaign.
— Forest Green Rovers (@FGRFC_Official) February 20, 2022
Second placed Tranmere Rovers were held at home by Port Vale. Jamie Proctor scored late on for the Valiants after Josh Hawkes gave Tranmere a 50th minute lead.
Newport County and Mansfield Town also played out a 1-1 draw at Rodney Parade. The league’s top scorer Dominic Telford scored a late penalty for County after an own goal gave the Stags the lead midway through the second half.
Only promotion chasing Exeter City have picked up more points since John Sheridan returned as Oldham Athletic manager on 22nd January. They climbed out of the bottom two at Carlisle United’s expense after they beat Bradford City 2-0 at Boundary Park. Davis Keillor-Dunn and Hallam Hope got the goals for a side who have 11 points from the last 15 available.
Stuck rooted at the bottom of the football league are Scunthorpe United. They took the lead against Rochdale through Manny Onariase, but second half goals from Liam Kelly and Max Taylor secured a 2-1 away for ‘Dale and The Iron only have one win from their last 17 league games. It doesn’t get any easier, with promotion-chasing Northampton and Sutton next up for them.