News

Disappointment for Hull as Wigan progress in EFL Cup

11/08/2021 - EFL

By Sam Ketch

Hull City’s EFL Cup dreams were ended early again this year as they were defeated on penalties by Wigan Athletic. 

Despite a great performance on his debut, Di’Shon Bernard missed the eighth penalty for the Tigers and Jordan Cousins converted the deciding spot kick as the Latics won 8-7 on penalties. 

To add salt to the wounds, the Manchester United loanee could’ve scored the winner for the hosts after he connected cleanly from a corner, but his header bounced into the ground and back over the bar. 

It was the League One outfit who opened the scoring when Stephen Humphrys slammed home the rebound after Nathan Baxter parried the forward’s header back into the danger zone. 

However, five minutes later, Keane Lewis-Potter levelled the score. George Moncur played through a delicate pass, behind the brilliantly named Max Power, for KLP to run onto and curl a right-footed shot into the far corner. 

One mistake perhaps from Grant McCann was to bring off the talismanic winger, no matter how understandable saving him for the league games is. 

The Tigers looked far less threatening once KLP was substituted, although it did allow James Scott to look like a better player on the left-side rather than the right. 

It was a disappointing evening for Hull City fans as they returned to the MKM (née KCom, née KC) Stadium for a competitive game for the first time since February 2020. 

 

The Terriers met their match at Pride Park opener

11/08/2021 - Championship

By Lauren Whitehead

A 1-1 draw with Derby County saw Huddersfield Town settle for a single point during the Championship opening weekend.

The Rams took the lead late in the first half when Curtis Davies found the end of Nathan Byrne’s corner and slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

However, Town found an equaliser moments later as Naby Sarr headed the ball home on the stroke of half time.

The Terriers were without Head Coach Carlos Corberan, Lee Nicholls, Harry Toffolo, Josh Ruffels, and Lewis O’Brien following positive Coronavirus tests. This saw a number of changes to the starting XI which faced Sheffield Wednesday in the first round of the Carabao Cup.

There were very few chances for either side throughout the first half, but Town dominated possession.

Ollie Turton saw the first yellow card for a tackle on Louie Watson just 15 minutes into the game.

The first chance came from the hosts as captain Tom Lawrence found an opening in the defence and was through on goal. He was forced wide by Ryan Schofield and the consequent cross was cleared by Sarr.

It was late in the first half that Derby claimed the lead when a corner ball from Byrne flew past Schofield and was scrambled into the back of the net by Davies.

However, a set piece from Huddersfield saw Sorba Thomas deliver the ball perfectly into the box where it was met by Sarr who headed it straight over Kelle Roos.

The two teams remained unchanged at the start of the second half, however a Derby substitution saw Louie Sibley change the Rams style of play dramatically.

A defensive mistake saw Colin Kazim-Richards’ long pass find Sibley whose long range shot flew over the top of the net.

It was Sibley’s left-footed shot that again went wide just moments later.

A superb run from Josh Koroma teamed with an excellent cross from Scott High failed to find Duane Holmes in the box as Davies made a crucial block.

Pearson got on the end of the subsequent corner but his effort was unfortunately just high of the bar.

In the final minutes of the game, substitute Fraizer Campbell latched onto the end of both a cross from Thomas and also one from High, but was met by Roos on both attempts.

Holmes received a booking in the closing moments and it was Schofield who made a crucial save as Sibley had the last real chance of the game.

The Terriers failed to find the winning goal and so saw the opening day reward them with only a single point, however there were both pros and cons to be taken from a disappointing draw. The result sees Town start the season mid-table, with their next fixture hosting newly relegated Fulham at the John Smith’s.

A correct prediction would have earned 70 Footrace points, however no Town fans foresaw this opening day result.

Opening day disappointment for travelling Latics

09/08/2021 - League One

By Charlotte Atherton

Wigan Athletic suffered defeat at the hands of Sunderland on the opening day of the League One campaign.

The Latics took the lead after Gwion Edwards opened the scoring on the 15 minute mark, but the game was level again just two minutes later after Aiden McGeady scored from the penalty spot.

It was Sunderland who were able to wrap up all three points in the second half after Ross Stewart headed home from a corner.

Wigan manager Leam Richardson named six new signings in the starting line-up, including a debut for Charlie Wyke and a second club debut for Max Power – both having signed from Sunderland earlier in the transfer window.

Kick off was delayed by 15 minutes at the Stadium of Light to cater for the 31,549 fans attending the League One fixture.

It was the 2000 travelling Latics supporters who got to celebrate first however after Edwards converted Will Keane’s shot off the bar into the top right hand corner to put the visitors ahead.

The hosts got back on level terms just two minutes later after Wigan captain Tendayi Darikwa brought down Ross Stewart inside the penalty area, and McGeady slotted home from the penalty spot.

There were chances for both teams to score again before half time, but it was Sunderland who went in at the break looking the strongest.

It did not take The Black Cats long to take the lead in the second half after Stewart got himself on the end of Elliot Embleton’s corner to head home from close range in the 53rd minute.

Sunderland had the chance to better their lead shortly after when Lynden Gooch curled an effort from outside of the area off the crossbar, but it was quickly dealt with by Darikwa and Wigan keeper Ben Amos.

Wigan tried to find a way back into the game, bringing on three more debutants in Jordan Cousins, striker Stephen Humphry’s and ex-Sunderland loanee Jordan Jones but it was simply not their day.

The opening day of the season ended in disappointment for Wigan Athletic with the game finishing 2-1 and the hosts wrapping up all three points.

Stalemate at the Valley

09/08/2021 - League One

By Jude Hall

Neither Sheffield Wednesday nor Charlton Athletic could find a breakthrough in a goalless draw as they welcomed back fans for the 2021/22 season opener.

Darren Moore made just one change from Wednesday’s League cup defeat to Huddersfield, with Jaden Brown replacing the injured Olamide Shodipo in a lineup containing five summer signings.

In an electric atmosphere, with fans allowed back in The Valley for the first time in over a year, the first incident of note was the unfortunate head injury to The Owls frontman Callum Paterson who was stretchered off after just 16 minutes. Thankfully Moore confirmed after the game that the Scotsman was up, smiling and okay, albeit for a ‘real shiner’ on his head.

In a tight first 45, the only chance of the half fell to the hosts when Albie Morgan’s whipped free kick found Jayden Stockley unmarked in the box, but the Addicks skipper headed wide.

It was Charlton who came out for the second period the more lively, with Morgan missing a good opportunity on 57 minutes when Ex-Owl Sean Clare pulled the ball back for Morgan who fired high and wide just 12 yards from goal.

As Wednesday grew into the half, Liam Palmer came close with 20 minutes to go after some good linkup play with Jaden Brown lead to an effort from the edge of the box, but Palmer saw his deflected strike sail wide of the post.

The standout moment for Wednesday was on 85 minutes when MacGillivray’s poor clearance fell for Barry Bannan who skipped past one Charlton defender, before nutmegging another and rolled his attempt just wide with his weaker foot. With little time to go it would have been the fairytale start to the season for the Owls captain and would have likely been the goal of the weekend in front of the 3,000 travelling Wednesdayites, but it was not to be for Moore’s side.

So on a dull day in the capital, it was a bore draw for The Addicks and The Owls, but both sides will have reason to be content with a point to kick things off.

A 0-0 prediction with Footrace would have secured 70 points, with 29% of predictors successfully calling a draw.

Wednesday host Yorkshire rivals, Doncaster Rovers, next week and with the backing of their home support will be hopeful of building on their opening day point.

Tigers maul North End in Championship return

09/08/2021 - Championship

By Sam Ketch

Hull City won an away game in the Championship for the first time since 1 January 2020, as they thumped Preston North End 4-1 on the opening day of the EFL season. 

It was Preston who took an early lead when Emil Riis Jakobsen prodded home Tom Barkhuizen’s cross at the back post. 

Shortly after Preston were fortunate not to have given away a penalty as Alan Browne brought down Keane Lewis-Potter in the area but the referee wasn’t interested.  

However, ‘KLP’ was not put off from his stride and in the 35th minute he timed his run perfectly to meet Richie Smallwood’s devilish pass between the Preston defence before poking the ball under substitute ‘keeper Daniel Iversen. 

Hull City’s second was far less convincing, though. New signing George Moncur teed up Smallwood, and his long-range effort slowly rolled in off the post after taking a deflection. It was the captain’s first goal for City. 

Late in the game the Tigers added two more. 

The third, in the 85th minute, came through Josh Magennis. The Northern Irish striker continued his form from last season as he darted to the near post to flick in a great Lewis-Potter cross. 

A wonderful gloss was added when the fourth, and final, goal was scored in the 92nd minute. Tom Eaves backheeled to keep the ball in play and new boy Andy Cannon slashed an effort across the goal first-time to find the far side netting. 

And the Hull City faithful were in fine form, as they performed their trademark chant “Mauled by the Tigers” – the irony ridden song which either annoys, cringes or upsets opposition fans. 

The resounding victory put Hull City on top of the Championship table, but no one on Footrace guessed it would happen. 

Only three Tigers fans backed the League One champions, all saying 2-1 to win themselves 25 points; while other players predicted the game would be a bore draw, score draw, or a Preston win. A massive 800 points was available had you guessed that Grant McCann’s men were going to return to second tier football in style.

Late penalty gives Foxes Community Shield win

08/08/2021 - Premier League

By Sam Ketch

A near full strength Leicester City came out victorious to lift the very first piece of domestic silverware available in the 2021/2022 season. 

Kelechi Iheanacho’s late penalty was the only thing that separated the Foxes and Manchester City at Wembley. 

The Nigerian forward converted the penalty to his right after winning it himself, when Nathan Ake mistimed his recovery tackle on the ex-Citizen after a sloppy mistake. 

Iheanacho was a relatively late introduction to the match, replacing Harvey Barnes – now donning the number 7 shirt – in the 78th minute. 

Brendan Rodgers was without Nampalys Mendy, Timothy Castagne, James Justin, and Jonny Evans who will return soon; as well as Frenchman Wesley Fofana who will be a long-term absence after fracturing his fibula. 

Yet Daniel Amartey, who was praised by his manager pre-match for always giving his best wherever he was used, didn’t put a foot wrong deputising in central defence. 

New signing Patson Daka was introduced with 20 minutes to play and showed just why Leicester signed him after the Foxes took the lead when he raced beyond City’s defence, but his attempted pass across was fortuitously stopped by the Dutchman Ake. 

Ryan Bertrand started the game for Leicester, while Boubakary Soumaré came off the bench as both players made their debuts for the club.  

22-year-old Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall was also given 20 minutes, although his only notable impact of the match was after the final whistle when Çağlar Söyüncü, who had taken a break from sending Cole Palmer to the burger van, had to remind him to collect his winners medal – given Leicester’s recent trophy successes, he may want to sharpen up those medal-collection skills. 

In defeat Pep Guardiola will have learned a few things about his rotation options. 

Ake, with only 13 Manchester City appearances before today to his name, will now be expected to work even harder to increase his standing above fourth choice (behind Ruben Dias, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte) central defender. 

Bernardo Silva came on for Palmer with 16 minutes to play and had no impact – though, in his defence, nobody particularly had an impact for Pep’s side. 

There was a cameo for England’s first 100-million-pound man, Jack Grealish, who operated in a wide left, rather than centre left, position. Many had expected the new number 10 to play in the role which İlkay Gündoğan possessed for much of last season, but that was not the case in this match. 

Spaniard Ferran Torres failed to impress, or even register his presence, as he played 72 minutes but did very little. 

Guardiola will now be looking forward to working with his tried-and-tested starting players once they have returned from their respective international duties, holidays and injuries. 

Nobody predicted the Foxes to win this match – with all bar one player predicting on this game expecting Manchester City to win, and one user anticipating a penalty shootout. 

However, had you felt that Leicester were going to be victorious, this result would have backed you a total of 150 points (40 for a Leicester win, 110 for a 1-0 win). 

Latics travel to Sunderland in season opener

06/08/2021 - League One

By Charlotte Atherton

Wigan Athletic get their Sky Bet League One campaign underway this Saturday as they travel to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland.

The Black Cats have laid good foundations in pre-season which they will look to build on in the season ahead, having played a total of six friendlies and coming away with three wins and three draws.    

Sunderland finished the 2020-21 campaign in the top six but failed to beat Lincoln City in the play-offs meaning this will be their fourth consecutive season in League One.

The third tier of English football is not where Lee Johnson’s side want to be, but promotion this season is not going to be easy after losing a handful of players in the transfer window.

Most notably, striker Charlie Wyke opted out of signing a new deal with the club, in favour of joining this weekend’s opponents in Wigan.

In the Latics camp, confidence is high having taken five wins from five games in pre-season – including beating two championship sides.

‘Actions rather than words’ was the promise of Wigan’s new owners when they took charge of the club in March 2021, and they have definitely kept their word so far with the calibre of players through the door this summer.

Alongside Wyke, Leam Richardson has added to his squad with the likes of goalkeeper Ben Amos, winger Jordan Jones and the return of midfielder Max Power.

Last season, Wigan defied all the odds to finish just above the relegation zone, and after a turbulent season both on and off the pitch the club are now hoping to fight it out at the other end of the table.

Footrace points are stacked against Wigan this Saturday, but the Latics took maximum points off Sunderland last season so don’t be afraid to back them this weekend.  

Terriers take on the Rams at Pride Park

06/08/2021 - Championship

By Lauren Whitehead

Huddersfield Town travel to Pride Park for the season opener against Derby County this Saturday.

Following a penalty shootout win at Hillsborough last Sunday, the Terriers earned their place in the next round of the Carabao Cup, but they will be aiming to improve on their 90 minute performance.

Derby will also be hoping for three points early in the season as they are already relegation favourites.

Since becoming manager last November, Wayne Rooney has only managed to win 10 out of 36 games with the Rams, seeing them just cling on to their place in the Championship last season.

The club have also faced two failed takeover attempts, a transfer embargo, and are now down to just eight senior players for the start of the season.

This comes after Rooney injured midfielder Jason Knight during a 50-50 challenge during training which may see him out for up to three months.

Lee Buchanan is also likely to miss the opening game due to injury, with Kornell McDonald and Krystian Bielik also being uncertainties having missed out in their recent friendly.

According to Rooney, without signings and including academy players, Derby will have just a starting XI and 3 substitutes on the bench.

Carlos Corberan’s side on the other hand head to the weekend with a boost, following their recent cup game against Sheffield Wednesday.

The match saw summer signings Lee Nicholls, Matty Pearson, Ollie Turton, and Levi Colwill make their debuts, with substitute Danel Sinani also making his later in the game.

Following an absence at Hillsborough, Pipa is still struggling with a groin injury and so, depending on treatment, we may see him return to the bench. However, his fitness levels are unknown and so his place in the team is uncertain.

Fraizer Campbell has now returned to full training following his self-isolation period after testing positive for Coronavirus, however Rolando Aarons and Aaron Rowe appear to be out with injuries for the foreseeable future.

Juninho Bacuna and Isaac Mbenza have also missed out recently due to the uncertainty of their future at the club, and so are likely to not feature again this weekend.

Rarmani Edmonds-Green has now joined Rotherham United on loan and so will not return to the squad.

Despite progressing in the Carabao Cup, the Terriers failed to find the back of the net within 90 minutes and so will need to improve on this as they look to keep a firm grasp on their place in the Championship.

With last season seeing both sides win on home soil, Corberan needs to put his best team forward to ensure the Terriers get off to a flying start.

A Huddersfield win will earn you 7 Footrace bonus points, whereas a draw will bring in 28. However, if you choose to back Derby after that recent win over Notts County, there’s 40 bonus points on offer. A correct score prediction will top up those points even further, so which team will put you top of the league?

Wednesday start in the capital against the Addicks

06/08/2021 - League One

By Jude Hall

The Owls make their League One return this Saturday evening with a trip to the capital to face Nigel Adkins’ Charlton Athletic.
Darren Moore’s side kicked off their season at Hillsborough last Sunday with a Carabao Cup first round defeat to Huddersfield Town. After a goalless 90 minutes the tie went to penalties with the Terriers going through after Massimo Luongo and Liam Palmer saw their efforts saved. Despite their penalty misery Wednesday can still take confidence ahead of their League One opener having matched a Championship outfit for the 90 minutes.

After a summer of change, there’s a growing sense of optimism at S6 with Darren Moore bringing in 9 fresh faces. Unlike previous transfer windows, it is believed that the Owls’ recruitment this term has been handled by the manager and his staff who are still keen to add more bulk to the Wednesday squad.
The loan signings of Olamide Shodipo, Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Lewis Wing are seen by many as coups for The Owls with strong Championship interest in all three. Additionally, the free transfers of Dennis Adeniran, Jaden Brown and George Byers all represent a fresh approach in Wednesday’s recruitment, a look to younger players with a point to prove.

Saturday’s hosts narrowly missed out on the Playoffs last time out, finishing 7th with goal difference keeping them out of the top 6. They’ll be hoping to go one better this campaign, with manager Nigel Adkins somewhat of a League One expert having been promoted to the Championship on three occasions.
Alike The Owls, Charlton have seen a busy summer with the notable departures of Goalkeeper Ben Amos to third tier rivals Wigan Athletic, and last season’s top scorer at The Valley, Chuks Aneke, making the jump to the Championship with Birmingham City.
Craig MacGillivray has come in as Adkins’ new number 1, whilst striker, Jayden Stockley, penned a permanent deal with the Addicks following a successful loan last season. The 6’2 front man is one The Owls will have to be weary of having bagged 8 goals in 22 games with Charlton in his loan stint. Another for Wednesday to look out for is ex-Owls midfielder Sean Clare who signed a two-year deal with the Addicks this summer and will be keen to prove himself against his former club.

Darren Moore boasts a relatively injury-free squad to pick from this weekend. The long-term absence of Josh Windass is one the Owls boss will have come to terms with after the versatile forward went off with a hamstring injury in Wednesday’s behind closed door game against West Brom nearly two weeks ago. It was revealed this week by Josh’s father that the 27-year-old would be out for at least 2 months following hamstring surgery.
The only other doubt for Moore is loanee Olamide Shodipo who was substituted in the first half of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup exit following a hamstring/glute ‘twinge’. The positive news is that the winger wanted to play on but was however brought off as a precaution.

The hosts come into this one as the favourites with 15 points available for predicting a Charlton win, whilst correctly guessing an away victory is worth 20 points. In what looks set to be a tight fixture a draw may be good value at 21 points. Wednesdayites can be excused for feeling hopeful ahead of this one though, despite any underdog status. 1-0 Wednesday is my verdict, potentially securing 75 points. 

 

Schopp makes Reds managerial debut against Cardiff City

06/08/2021 - Championship

By Lewis Robinson

Barnsley begin their 2021/22 Championship campaign in the Welsh capital, taking on Mick McCarthy’s Cardiff City.

Barnsley fans will be eager to see the side in the flesh under the stewardship of Markus Schopp, who will take charge of his first competitive game as Reds boss at the Cardiff City Stadium. Barnsley will also be without last season’s skipper Alex Mowatt, who along with former boss Valerian Ismael joined West Brom.

Cauley Woodrow will take the captain’s armband this season, and up front may be joined by new recruits Obbi Oulare, Aaran Leya Iseka and Devante Cole. It will be interesting to see whether Callum Styles will be utilised at left wing-back or in central midfield after Mowatt’s departure.

All the Barnsley squad are in contention for the game except Danish defender Mads Andersen, who is recovering from a knee injury. Midfielder Herbie Kane is in contention after recently coming back from injury.

Schopp’s style is set to differ from the football Barnsley played last season, with the Austrian said to favour a passing game, opposed to the directness Ismael implemented last season.

Preparation has been less than ideal for the Bluebirds, with the squad being hampered by injuries and COVID related absences. Rubin Colwill, Perry Ng, Leandro Bacuna and Kieffer Moore all suffered after contracting the virus, but are said to be back in contention for Saturday’s game.

Defender Sean Morrison featured in Cardiff’s friendly against Newport County which provided hope for his fitness for the weekend. Josh Murphy has been struggling with injury and it is unknown whether he will feature for the Bluebirds on Saturday.

Barnsley have not won at Cardiff since December 2016, when a last gasp winner from Ryan Williams secured a dramatic 4-3 win for Paul Heckingbottom’s side.

Last season, the Reds lost 3-0 in November 2020 which was Ismael’s first defeat as Reds boss. In the return fixture, the sides drew 2-2 in which ex Reds striker Moore secured a point for Mick McCarthy’s side at Oakwell.

Barnsley’s poor record in Cardiff is reflected in the Footrace points, with only 15 points being awarded for predicting a Bluebirds win. At 20 points Barnsley may not be a bad pick, especially with the possible Cardiff absentees. A draw is also an attractive proposition, coming in at 21 points.

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