The new season is well and truly underway, with fixtures coming thick and fast in the EFL – already in League Two there are now three matchdays in the books for most teams.
Forest Green go top but at a cost
Forest Green Rovers made it three wins from three to put them in top spot. However the evening was marred after an injury to Udoko Godwin-Malife saw him stretchered off and then taken to hospital.
Rovers took the lead in the first half thanks to a goal from Jamille Matt. Alex Newby then put the home side level with a fierce strike into the roof of the net. But just a minute later Matt Stevens put his side back in front.
Nine minutes of added time were announced due to Godwin-Malife’s injury with Paul Edwards’ side seeing it out to claim their place at the top of League Two.
Rovers win on the road 👊 #WeAreFGR 💚
— Forest Green Rovers (@FGRFC_Official) August 17, 2021
Cook first-half hat-trick sinks Stevenage
Bradford City continued their unbeaten start to the season, bringing Stevenage’s one to an end in the process as they won 4-1 at Valley Parade.
⚽️⚽️⚽️ | The moment @andy9cook became the first #BCAFC player since @DWindass10 – in April 2000 – to net a first-half hat-trick…
👨🍳 | Breaking 2️⃣1️⃣-year-old records, with goals like this. #TakeMeHome pic.twitter.com/Ue59hVuzCz
— Bradford City AFC (@officialbantams) August 17, 2021
Most of the significant action took place in a wild opening 45 minutes, which saw Andy Cook find the net inside 60 seconds before completing a first-half hat-trick.
The visitors had equalised – against the run of play – before Cook’s second and third strikes. Bradford also had a penalty saved by Stevenage’s keeper Joseph Anang, although the relief from that was short-lived as the corner which came as a result of the save led to Cook’s second goal.
The second half was less eventful, with Bradford eventually adding a fourth late on to end any vague hopes of a dramatic Stevenage turnaround. The victory took the Bantams to second in the table.
Salford yet to win
Salford City’s slow start to the season took a concerning turn after they left Sussex empty handed –losing 2-1 – despite taking the lead against Crawley Town.
Ian Henderson put Salford ahead with a powerful header in the seventh minute and had a wonderful chance for a second in the 30th – Henderson was through on goal, but Crawley’s Morris came out on top in the one-on-one to deny the striker.
Morris was a busy man between the sticks, also denying Conor McAleny and Tom Elliot before the game turned.
The hosts equalised before half-time through Ashley Nadesan, and had the better chances before Jake Hessenthaler with 15 minutes to go. It was Crawley’s first points of the season, while Salford have just two points from three games.
There was drama in Essex as Colchester United left it very late to snatch a point against Mansfield Town. In a game with plenty of chances, it was surprising that it took so long for Mansfield to take a deserved lead, with the first goal coming in the 72nd minute via an Elliot Hewitt header.
The visitors almost held on for all three points, but deep into injury time Colchester won a penalty. Freddie Sears was able to handle the pressure, and his conversion denied Mansfield a third consecutive win in the league.
After two defeats already this season Bristol Rovers claimed their first victory thanks to a goal from Harvey Saunders. It was a much needed victory for Joey Barton’s side as the result ended a run of eight defeats stretching back to last season.
However the result leaves Oldham at the foot of the table and the only side with no points.
There were three goalless draws with Barrow vs Exeter, Port Vale vs Carlisle, Swindon vs Tranmere all finishing 0-0.