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Championship Round-Up – Week 1 – Part 2

A typical Championship week that was full of unexpected results. The opening weekend in the EFL has concluded after last night’s match between Watford and Sheffield United, which saw the Hornets pick up their first home win since beating Manchester United back in November. 

Amongst all the drama, we dissect what happened during the second half of the first round of fixtures.

Away day point for the Midlands clubs

The three remaining clubs in the Championship located in the Midlands, after Nottingham Forest’s promotion and Derby County’s relegation, all picked up draws on the road. To go with Coventry’s result at the Stadium of Light, Birmingham City and West Brom had hard-fought contests to begin their 2022/23 Championship season with a point: taking it to five draws in 12 Championship matches. 

The Blues headed south to face last season’s play-off semi-finalists Luton Town, who are in their penultimate season at Kenilworth Road as the building for their new stadium ends in 2024. Despite 26 shots, neither side could break the deadlock and took a point a piece in their first match of the season.

Saturday’s evening match was between two sides who ended last season disappointed. Middlesbrough was in and around the play-offs for most of the season under Neil Warnock and Chris Wilder but stumbled at the end and finished seventh. West Brom appointed Steve Bruce midway through the season, but he failed to take the Baggies to a higher level and ended up in tenth. There was nothing to split the two sides on Saturday. Isaiah Jones’ opening goal was cancelled out by John Swift on his West Brom debut: after leaving Reading on a free transfer.

Narrow Wins for the ‘B’s’

Blackburn and Blackpool began their campaigns with 1-0 wins over QPR and Reading, respectively. Blackburn started last season strongly, but injuries around the midway point of the season put a massive dent into their promotion hopes, including top scorer Ben Brereton Díaz: Rovers eventually finished eighth and six points off Luton Town. Lewis Travis’ goal in the 34th minute was enough to beat Michael Beale’s QPR in his first game in charge. 

Reading was comfortable from relegation towards the end of last season after the appointment of Paul Ince as an interim boss, whilst Blackpool was a solid midtable. Callum Connolly’s strike inside the first ten minutes was enough as the Tangerines held on to claim all three points in a fairly even contest at Bloomfield Road.

The cities begin with defeat

After miserable seasons in 2021/22, Bristol City and Stoke City began their new campaign with defeats away to Hull City and Millwall, respectively. Bristol City took the lead thanks to veteran Andreas Weimann but conceded two goals in the final 20 minutes to start the season with a loss. Ozan Tufan’s penalty and Jean Michael Seri’s debut goal in the 94th minute gave the Tigers the perfect start.

Down in London at the Den, Millwall ran out comfortable winners against a Stoke side that could only manage four shots on goal over the course of the 90 minutes. Charlie Cresswell netted early on and got a brace midway through the second half to earn Millwall all three points as they build on their ninth place from last season.

Full Championship Results:

Blackburn 1-0 Queens Park Rangers

Blackpool 1-0 Reading

Cardiff City 1-0 Norwich City

Huddersfield Town 0-1 Burnley

Hull City 2-1 Bristol City

Luton Town 0-0 Birmingham City

Middlesborough 1-1 West Bromwich Albion

Millwall 2-0 Stoke City

Rotherham United 1-1 Swansea City

Sunderland 1-1 Coventry City

Watford 1-0 Sheffield United

Wigan Athletic 0-0 Preston North End

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