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Sky Bet Championship 2016/17 Roundup: Week 3 (Part 1)

Huddersfield Town
Huddersfield Town’s Michael Hefele celebrates his late equaliser that stuns Aston Villa
Richard Lowe
ANALYST
Modified 20 Aug 2016, 15:23 IST
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Week 3 saw the first set of midweek matches in the Sky Bet Championship and saw the Toon army, currently searching for their first win of the season, up against Reading. Undefeated Fulham were looking to extend their 100% record away at Leeds United and struggling Preston North End up against Derby County.

Game of the Week

Aston Villa 1-1 Huddersfield Town

A last minute equaliser by Michael Hefele ensured Huddersfield remained unbeaten and denied Aston Villa their second straight win.

With just four minutes of normal time remaining, Hefele ran down Pierluigi Gollini’s attempt at a clearance, ricocheting off his back and into the empty net.

Villa should have been further clear after Ross McCormack headed the first goal, but two good chances spurned from Rudy Gestede meant that Huddersfield were never out of the game. Jordan Ayew missed the game’s first chance, while Ashley Westwood shot over, in what was a highly emotional game for the club following the death of former Villa striker Dalian Atkinson.

Once McCormack headed in Grealish’s cross, it looked like Villa would go on to win convincingly, however they couldn’t capitalise and Huddersfield came back into the match in the second half.

Elias Kachunga had an audacious overhead kick saved from Gollini, however, it was the defensive error as much as Hefele’s persistence that eventually saw an equaliser for Town.

This result stretched Huddersfield’s unbeaten start to the season, adding to their impressive win against Newcastle and means they are in third place, level on points with league leaders Brighton and Norwich and 3 ahead of Villa, who now lie 11th on 4 points.

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Barnsley 3-2 QPR

Barnsley condemned QPR to their first defeat of the season in the last minute of normal time, winning a thrilling game 3-2.

Barnsley got off to the perfect start with a goal inside 5 minutes through a Marley Watkins’ header. However, they were pegged back by two penalties from Tjarron Chery and Sebastian Polter, the latter a great strike into the corner.

Conor Hourihane’s fantastic free-kick meant that the sides were level once again on 77 minutes, before Josh Scowen’s half volley sent the home side into raptures. There was still enough time for QPR defender Grant Hall to be shown a second yellow card for pulling back, before the referee blew the whistle and Barnsley’s fans could celebrate the victory.

Brentford 1-0 Nottm Forest

Brentford came out narrowly on top in this closely fought match. The goal from Scott Hogan was a tap in after his initial shot and the follow-up from Lewis Macleod was both saved by Stephen Henderson.

The only other major talking point was the sending off of Forest’s Damien Perquis toward the end of the second half and Britt Assombalonga’s miss while clear through, with only the Brentford ‘keeper to beat.

The Bees have now won 2 games back to back, while in contrast, that was Forest’s second loss on the run after their opening day victory over Burton Albion.

Brighton 3-0 Rotherham

A one-sided contest saw table-topping Brighton win comfortably at home to Rotherham.

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2 goals in 3 first half minutes by Anthony Knockaert and Glenn Murray, effectively saw an end to the contest. The former fired in a low strike before Murray tapped in a cross by Liam Rosenior. Hemed then scored from the penalty spot after Stephen Kelly had fouled Murray.

Chris Hughton saw his side move up 5 places to the top of the table following this win, “I’m delighted with the results and the performances so far. We must try and keep the run going”

Burton 3-1 Sheff Wed

Burton Albion’s hard fought victory secured their first ever 3 points in the 2nd tier of English football.

Their first goal came just 7 minutes into the contest, Kyle McFadzean meeting a deep cross to prod home. All the good work was soon undone however as he then conceded a penalty, which Gary Hooper gratefully took to level the scores with the game just 12 minutes in.

Burton, however, weren’t to be denied and with 2 goals, one just before half-time from new signing Jackson Irvine and the other from Lloyd Dyer, it meant the home fans could go home happy.

Cardiff 2-1 Blackburn

Blackburn defender Shane Duffy had a night to forget in Wales, scoring two own goals before being sent off at the end of the second half.

The Irish international’s first came on 14 minutes when a Declan John shot cannoned off the post and in off his back. The second when he headed in Peter Whittingham’s free-kick.

Blackburn’s Danny Graham pulled one back for the visitors, but Duffy wasn’t to be denied the limelight and his miserable night was complete when he was sent off in the 95th minute for kicking the ball at an opponent.

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Blackburn boss Owen Coyle was clearly frustrated: “When you step on that field you've got to be at your best and be at your maximum and, unfortunately, that's not happened tonight."

Leeds 1-1 Fulham

A late overhead kick from Chris Wood saw Leeds take a share of the spoils.

Fulham were looking in control and heading to continue their 100% record after Tom Cairney’s curled strike on 13 minutes. They were unlucky not to be further ahead with Sone Aluko and ex-Leeds striker Matt Smith both hitting a post.

However, Leeds weren’t to be denied and a fine strike from Wood, the last kick of the game, sent the home fans into wild celebration.

Fulham boss, Slavisa Jokanovic was reflective about the result: "It is a little bit unlucky, we are a little bit frustrated after this late goal. We didn't score more goals at the beginning and during the game and Leeds scored a typical Championship goal, a big centre-half touches the ball and the big striker catches a bicycle kick, which can happen."

Newcastle 4-1 Reading

A confident performance from a rejuvenated Newcastle United side saw a brace from Dwight Gayle and left Reading near the bottom of the Championship table.

This was Newcastle’s first win since their relegation from the Premier League and they were dominant for most of the game. The first goal came on 20 minutes when Issac Hayden pounced on a loose ball. However, Reading were back in it at the stroke of half-time when Garath McCleary equalised from the penalty spot.

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The second half began in the same way as the first, with Newcastle in control and their dominance was rewarded when Matt Ritchie stabbed in a penalty. Shortly after, Dwight Gayle hit in a free kick and scored again from close range to close out the well-deserved victory.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez was relieved: "It was important for me, for the fans, for the players, for everyone here to get three points today. We showed character, a good reaction after the goal we conceded, and that's what we have we to do, play well sometimes and show character all the time."

Norwich 1-0 Bristol City

In-form Norwich move to second in the Championship table after a narrow victory at home to Bristol City.

Jonny Howson’s first-half side foot, was enough to secure the 3 points, but in truth, the margin of victory could have been even greater. Alex Tettey hit the post while Wes Hoolahan had a shot brilliantly tipped onto the post by Robins ‘keeper Richard O’Donnell. Cameron Jerome and substitute Sergi Canos also came close toward the end of the second half.

In the end, the victory was well deserved as Canaries boss Alex Neil suggested: "That was a very pleasing performance. We were a bit tentative for the first 10 minutes or so but then we settled down and played some really good stuff. We got our goal and also hit the woodwork a couple of times and in the end, I think it was a relatively comfortable win.”

Preston 0-1 Derby

More late drama in the Championship, this time at Deepdale, saw the Rams of Derby County strike late to take the 3 points.

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It was a late header on 87 minutes by Craig Forsyth that secured the spoils and sees Derby collect their first 3 points of the season. The loss consigned Preston to second from bottom of the league and are yet to pick up a point.

Preston manager Simon Grayson reflected on another loss: "I think those who watched the game will have seen a result that was not a reflection of how the game went. We passed the ball; we defended well and caused them problems. In the second half we were the only team that was going to win it.”

Wigan 1-1 Birmingham

Yet another late goal, this time to the home side, saw Wigan come from behind to earn a share of the points against the Blues of Birmingham City.

City had been ahead in the first half after a rebounded shot fell to David Davies who reacted quickest to poke home. There were further chances spurned for the away side, Clayton Donaldson and David Cotterill both going close.

But it was Craig Davies that had the last laugh and brought relief to the home supporters.

The result sees Birmingham in 9th on 5 points and Wigan one place below them on 4 points.

Wolves 0-0 Ipswich

Wolverhampton Wanderers and Ipswich held each other to stalemate as the home team remain unbeaten in the Championship.

There were chances for both sides in the first half with Dadi Bodvarsson seeing his penalty kick saved by Ipswich ‘keeper Bartosz Bialkowski and Daryl Murphy having a goal ruled out by the linesman’s flag.

Both sides will be relatively pleased, Walter Zenga’s Wolves keeping their 6th clean sheet in their last 7 home games and Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich managing their first clean sheet of the season.

The Ipswich manager expressed slight frustration: "I am delighted and fuming at the same time because I think that we have been denied a really good goal. I think that it is a really poor decision and I'm annoyed about that - but I'm thrilled and delighted by the performance."

Published 20 Aug 2016, 15:06 IST
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