In the third round of Championship games there were high-scoring draws, controversial dismissals and some impressive results for those tipped to struggle.
Here are four talking points from Saturday’s games:
What a difference a week makes
Just seven days after being thrashed 6-1 by free-scoring Watford, Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth put in a great performance to overcome Wigan Athletic 1-0 at the Goldsands Stadium.
Lewis Grabban’s fourth goal of the season secured the points, after he ran on to a loose back-pass from the Latics’ James Perch and slotted past ‘keeper Scott Carson. Were it not for the former England stopper, Bournemouth could have won by considerably more than a single goal.
Among his outstanding saves were a penalty stop from Brett Pitman and a late tip-over from a quickly taken free-kick that saved his side’s blushes.
On an afternoon that also saw the (justified) sending-off of Wigan’s Callum McManaman for a lunge on Pitman, Howe’s men proved that, at home at least, they will be a challenge for the very best in the division. It is that form that should see them safe come May.
Promotion favourites serve up a classic
Two teams tipped to challenge for promotion showed just how exciting the Championship can be. Reading and Watford’s 3-3 draw demonstrated why they are among the favourites for promotion, with the Royals impressing early on only for the Hornets to secure a point late on.
An outstanding volley from Adam Le Fondre gave Nigel Adkins’ side the lead after just eight minutes, with Jem Karacan scoring a scrappy second just before the break.
A 66th-minute header from Watford’s Marco Faraoni halved the deficit, only for Karacan to make it 3-1 with just 20 minutes to play.
Troy Deeney’s penalty gave Gianfranco Zola’s side hope, before substitute Diego Fabbrini scored in the final minute.
In a division where every point is vital, Reading will hope they aren’t left to bemoan the two they lost yesterday afternoon.
Forest officially become favourites
At least with me they do, because their 3-0 win over a Bolton side strongly tipped for a promotion push of their own laid down a marker for the games ahead.
Goals from Jamie Mackie, Andy Reid and Henri Lansbury secured the points, with Reid’s the pick of the bunch. Off balance he expertly volleyed the ball home to display the talent he has always had in abundance, even if he hasn't always had the luck to go with it.
A red card for Bolton’s Darren Pratley may have lessened the chance of a comeback, but in truth Forest are currently the best side in the division. While Bolton have some work to do if they don't want to be caught in the unpredictable waters of the Championship’s mid-table.
Sean Dyche deserves more praise
Two goals in the last 20 minutes gave Burnley a 2-0 win over Yeovil, and maintained their fantastic start to the new season.
The undefeated Clarets find themselves fourth, and while the campaign is a long one, their manager Sean Dyche is quietly doing great things at Turf Moor.
After his controversial departure from Watford, the 42-year-old is staking a claim to be one of the Championship’s most impressive managers. And while Burnley’s small squad means they may not maintain their impressive beginning, Dyche could build a formidable side in the years to come.
image: © stadiumguide