Five things you may have missed from the opening weekend
The 2019/20 EFL season is officially under way, and the opening weekend certainly didn’t disappoint!
1. A curtain-raiser for the ages
Luton Town and Middlesbrough set the ball rolling under the lights at Kenilworth Road on Friday evening, and produced a truly memorable match which featured six goals and a missed penalty. Both sides scored early Goal of the Season contenders through Sonny Bradley and Lewis Wing respectively, while Boro’s Britt Assombalonga missed from the spot, but ultimately the points were shared after a thoroughly entertaining 3-3 draw. If it’s a sign of things to come, we’re in for a treat!
2. An emotional victory for the O’s
Newly promoted Leyton Orient paid tribute to former manager Justin Edinburgh before beating Cheltenham Town in their opening fixture in Sky Bet League Two and, fittingly, the winning goal was scored by Josh Wright – the last player signed by Edinburgh. On what was an emotional afternoon, fans carried two flags around the pitch perimeter prior to kick-off, before observing a minute’s silence. After the game, Wright said: “It was a very emotional day, the whole six weeks have been a very tough and emotional time, and we needed this.”
3. Ammies off to a flyer
Another side that celebrated National League success last season were also celebrating on Saturday, as Salford City – making their debut in the EFL – handled the opening-day pressure to see off Stevenage 2-0. Two goals from Mani Dieseruvwe did the damage and temporarily took the Ammies top of the table, to the delight of experienced manager Graham Alexander. Salford will look to continue their dream start when they travel to Crawley Town next weekend.
4. Bielsa’s boys set the tone
As they did in 2018/19, Leeds United laid down a marker in their first game of the campaign, beating fellow promotion hopefuls Bristol City 3-1 away from home. It was a real statement of intent from Marcelo Bielsa’s side, who will be looking to go one better this season, having missed out on a spot in the Play-Off Final last term. Pablo Hernandez scored one and created another, and will undoubtedly be key to Leeds’ hopes again in 2019/20.
5. Fortress Oakwell lives up to its name
Barnsley were the only team in the top four English divisions to remain unbeaten at home in all competitions during 2018/19, and their form at Oakwell continued on the opening day at the expense of Fulham. Promoted to the Championship last season, Barnsley won the game 1-0, courtesy of a Luke Thomas effort, and are yet to lose a home match in any competition in 28 games under Daniel Stendel (W18 D10 L0).