League football was back from another international break this weekend. Well, for a few weeks at least before it comes around again, so that means we had a full set of fixtures in the EFL to enjoy.
And as always, it delivered. As targets were missed, hoodoos were broken, and reunions were ruined in this week’s good, bad and ugly from the EFL weekend.
The Good: Slick Silkmen finally succeed
Adjusting to a new league can be difficult, having a higher level of opposition to tackle and getting a bearing of where you belong. For Macclesfield Town, it has been one hell of a torrid transition back into league football.
They were the only remaining winless EFL side going into the weekend fixtures, having drawn 4 and lost 9 of their opening 13 games. However, all things come to an end, as the Silkmen finally triumphed against John Sheridan’s Carlisle United.
Going into the game at Moss Rose, the home side knew that anything other than victory would see them set a woeful EFL record number of games without a win.
Defeat to fellow promoted side Tranmere Rovers the previous week had taken their tally to 36 games without victory in the football league. A run dating back to December 2011 in their relegation season, equalling the figure set by Derby County in 2008.
And it looked likely that Town would break that record when they fell behind to Ashley Nadesan’s goal early in the second half.
But Ben Stephens was brought down by Carlisle’s Sam Adewusi with just over ten minutes remaining, and Michael Rose duly scored the resulting penalty.
Then just four minutes later, Peter Vincenti slotted in to give the managerless basement boys the lead, as they held on for that long-awaited first EFL win to hopefully kick-start their season.
— Macclesfield Town (@thesilkmen) October 20, 2018
The Bad: Donny forget their shooting boots
In football, they say stats don’t lie. As often is the case, the team that controls the game is the one that comes away with the three points. But when Doncaster Rovers welcomed Gillingham to the Keepmoat Stadium in this EFL clash, that was not the case.
It was a match that the home side dominated from start to finish, however, they failed to convert that dominance into those all-important three points.
The game had initially promised to be even bleaker for Rovers after first-half goals from Barry Fuller and Tom Eaves had given the Gills a commanding lead.
However, Grant McCann’s men did manage to finally start taking their chances in the second half, as John Marquis bagged his 10th of the season before Mallik Wilks equalised, giving them over 20 minutes to push for a winner.
And despite the home side’s best efforts, the game swung the other way, as Max Ehmer restored Gillingham’s lead with just two minutes left on the clock. But Donny refused to leave with nothing, and Paul Taylor scored in stoppage time for a share of the spoils.
Looking at the stats, no one would have taken this for a game that Rovers nearly lost, as they managed 32 shots with 13 of those on target, in comparison to the Gills 3 shots, which all resulted in a goal.
There is no doubt Doncaster will be going over some chance conversion drills in training this week, to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
— Matt Flanagan (@MattFlanagan_1) October 20, 2018
The Ugly: Rowett sees red
Returning to face a former club can bring mixed fortunes for managers. For example, Neil Warnock picked up an impressive 19 points from 9 games against former clubs, during his first season in charge of Cardiff City.
Whereas prior to this weekend, Jose Mourinho was yet to see his Man Utd side score at his former home, Stamford Bridge. And those difficulties against former clubs was a trend that Gary Rowett kept to, when his Stoke side welcomed his former club Birmingham City.
The Potters have been surprise strugglers so far this season in the EFL, winning just 4 of their opening 12 league games. And things only got worse against Rowett’s old club.
The game was somewhat lacking in action until the last ten minutes, when it sparked into life courtesy of a Che Adams strike to give the away side the lead.
If that wasn’t bad enough for Rowett, Adams then used his right arm to keep out a goalbound strike from Joe Allen with just five minutes remaining to ensure that Stoke came away with nothing.
The ex-Blues manager was frustrated with the decision, protesting to referee Roger East, who then dismissed Rowett for his comments. And in his post-match interview, the former Derby and Burton boss questioned whether referees should have the power to send managers off at all.
Rowett has since been charged by the FA to top off his miserable weekend.
? Gary Rowett gives his verdict on late penalty drama as well as his overall reaction to today's @BCFC defeat.
Watch the full video on YouTube.
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) October 20, 2018