Football League Winners and Losers [28/08]



Cardiff City

And then there was one. With Ipswich losing at home to Fulham, Cardiff’s win against QPR means they are the only team left with a 100% record five games into the Championship campaign.

This time the Bluebirds had to do it the hard way, coming from behind for the first time this season to claim a 2-1 victory with Junior Hoilett scoring the first and providing the assist from a corner for Sol Bamba’s winner.

“That’s as good a Cardiff team as I’ve ever seen,” said QPR boss Ian Holloway afterwards. On current form they look a formidable outfit, but the trip to revitalised Fulham in two weeks’ time (following the international break) will provide a thorough test of their promotion credentials.

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It’s been a challenging 2017 for Barnsley after a squad that was in promising form last season was carved up in the January transfer window. Conor Hourihane and James Bree both departed for Aston Villa, while Sam Winnall, who scored 41 goals in 97 league games for the Tykes, left for Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

Paul Heckingbottom has worked hard to strengthen his options over the summer, bringing in 15 new players after also losing Marc Roberts, Josh Scowen and Marley Watkins. Barnsley suffered defeat in the opening two games, but Saturday’s 3-0 win over Sunderland marks an impressive upturn in form that includes victory against Nottingham Forest two weeks ago.

It’s likely to be a season of transition given the significant turnover in players, but the Tykes look capable of consolidating their place in the Championship in their second season after winning promotion from League One. If the reported Chinese takeover happens, then who knows the limits of the club’s ambitions.

Hull City

After back-to-back 90th minute defeats in Hull’s last two outings before Friday’s stroll against Bolton, we’re just glad this man is happy again…


A first win of the season achieved in style with a 4-0 thrashing of Norwich.

It was a great team performance from Millwall, who were keen to avenge their lack of fortune in the first four matches. Neil Harris’ side could have beaten Nottingham Forest on the opening day, should have won against Bolton, and were somewhat unfortunate to lose at home to Ipswich. On Saturday, Norwich felt the full force of their frustration.

Leeds United

Three games (in all competitions) since Chris Wood’s departure, three victories and nine goals. That follows two successive 0-0 draws in Wood’s final two appearances before joining Burnley. Strangely, Leeds don’t appear to be missing last season’s top scorer.

Billy Sharp

Two goals in Sheffield United’s win over Derby to go joint top of the Championship scoring charts with four strikes. The real question is how is he still only 31?


Peterborough United

Top of League One with the only remaining 100% record thanks to Saturday’s 4-1 shellacking of hapless Northampton. If summer signing Jack Marriott maintains his current form, Grant McCann’s side can cement their place as promotion contenders in the run up to Christmas.

Charlie Mulgrew

Blackburn’s top scorer with three goals so far and a brace in the 4-1 win over MK Dons at the weekend. The former Celtic defender possesses the quality to play at a much higher level, and Tony Mowbray will hope to avoid any late bids in the last week of the transfer window.

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Tom Eaves

It’s been a tough start to the campaign for Gillingham, but Tom Eaves refused to finish on the losing side once again in an entertaining 3-3 draw at home to Southend.

The visitors had almost twice as many shots as the hosts, but Eaves claimed a second-half hat-trick to secure a vital point. Adrian Pennock will hope the result acts as a catalyst to drive the Gills up the table.

Charlton Athletic

A fan base that remains at odds with the club’s hierarchy, but a team that are somehow putting all that to one side, climbing into fourth with their third win in the opening four games. Karl Robinson has experience of winning promotion from this division and it’s slowly beginning to tell.

Scunthorpe United

After finishing third last season, the Iron are still unbeaten in the current campaign and reminded everyone of their quality by hammering Plymouth 4-0 at Home Park. In Josh Morris, they have one of the most talented players in the division.

Shrewsbury Town

Their 100% record might be gone, but the Shrews still claimed an impressive late draw at Oxford to stay third.

Second-half Walsall

A brilliant fight-back from 3-0 down to snatch a point against Bradford – plus a debut goal and assist for promising West Brom loanee Tyler Roberts.


Exeter City

A thrilling 4-3 victory against Cheltenham after finding themselves 2-0 down inside the first 12 minutes. Paul Tisdale’s side have made a flying start in League Two as they look to finish in the top three and avoid more play-off heartbreak.

Harry Kewell

‘It’s already sounding a little desperate’, we wrote last week. That’s us told.

Lincoln City

The Imps claimed their first victory back in the Football League in style, delivering a dominant performance against ten-man Carlisle United to win 4-1.

Frank Nouble

A 13-minute hat-trick in Newport’s 4-1 win over Chesterfield, including a 30-year thunderbastard (see below). Former Chelsea and West Ham youngster Nouble has started the season in brilliant form, scoring five times in four League Two appearances. He finally looks settled at Newport after a nomadic career thus far.



Harry Redknapp

With Birmingham now winless in their last four matches (all competitions) following a 2-0 defeat to Reading, Redknapp went on the offensive after the game in his bid to receive more funds for new signings.

“To be honest we have been outplayed in every game,” he said. “This is why I need to bring in new players. It has been difficult as I’ve discovered. I’ve been chasing Stuart Downing from Middlesbrough for four months without any success.”

Redknapp was dealt another blow on Saturday as Carl Jenkinson dislocated his shoulder in his first game on loan from Arsenal. If the Birmingham board fail to back him this week, one wonders if he’ll consider walking out as he did in his last job at QPR.


After a promising start, the Black Cats have lost their last two games by a combined scoreline of 5-0.

The biggest concern for Simon Grayson at Barnsley was that all three goals were the result of individual errors. As he said after the game: “Too many players wanted to do their own individual stuff instead of playing for the shape of the team. Our fans had a go and rightly so.”

Norwich City

After losing 4-2 to Aston Villa, the Canaries shipped another four in Saturday’s thrashing at Millwall. They had better buck up their ideas soon, for Farke’s sake.

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First-half Walsall

The Saddlers haven’t scored a first-half goal at home since January, having come from behind to beat Oldham two weeks ago thanks to two second-half strikes and leaving it late against Bradford at the weekend. If they carry on at this rate, the fans won’t bother turning up until the interval.

Oldham Athletic and Northampton Town

Pointless after four games and rooted to the bottom of the table after mustering just four goals between them. Northampton’s plight looks particularly bleak, with the Cobblers suffering a second successive 4-1 defeat. It’s now 13 matches since their last win in League One – a 2-1 success against Port Vale in March.


Coventry City

Losers for the second week running after going down 2-0 at Yeovil.

Swindon Town

An unexpected 3-0 defeat at home to Crawley that put the brakes on the early optimism at the County Ground. Swindon endured a miserable relegation from League One last season (read more on the Tim Sherwood ‘experiment’ here) and it will take time for new manager David Flitcroft to right the culture at the club.

Football League Winners and Losers [28/08]
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