It’s Valentine’s week and as ever there’s been no love lost in the EFL. We’ve had heartbreak, disastrous dates and an awkward night at an exes house for one EFL manager.
So crack open the box of chocolates, stick the rom-com on pause and have a look at the EFL By Numbers.
Dean goes back to his ex
They say never go back, but on the eve of Valentine’s Day, Dean Smith did exactly that. He rocked up to the home of his ex with his new flame and they sent him packing.
Neal Maupay scored a late winner right at the end of the contest, as Brentford continued their recent revival under their new man Thomas Frank.
Out of the Bees’ 50 EFL goals this season, Maupay has had a hand in 48% of them. Scoring 18 and assisting 6.
Smith will be hoping he can save his relationship with his childhood sweetheart. His boyhood club were just 4 points off the play-offs when he arrived, they’re now 7 adrift. With just 1 win in 8, the Villains are really struggling for consistency.
Smith may think his new partner is still more attractive, but the message from Brentford was clear: Dean, you’re dumped.
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) February 13, 2019
Bump in the road for Farke
Norwich City and Daniel Farke had a mixed start to their relationship, but have really fallen head over heels for each other this campaign.
Farke took his table-topping Canaries to Deepdale on Wednesday to face Alex Neil’s Preston North End. Sadly for Norwich, they had a bit of Valentine’s tiff.
Preston stunned The Canaries with a 3-1 win, halting City’s club-record run of 13 EFL away games without defeat.
Things are certainly looking up for North End. Neil’s side are now unbeaten in 6 games, winning 4 and drawing 2. It proved to be a cosy night in for Preston, who recorded their 1st home win since 15th December.
With just 8 points between themselves and 6th spot, could the Lilywhites be set to have a little flirt with the play-off places?
— Preston North End FC (@pnefc) February 14, 2019
Date to remember for Bolton
Speaking of flirtatious behaviour, that brings us to Bolton Wanderers, who’ve been teasing the relegation places for a while now.
Phil Parkinson’s side sat 4 points adrift of safety ahead of their visit to Birmingham City on Tuesday. After spending almost the entire season in the bottom 3 places, Wanderers fans were in need of some love, especially after 13 disastrous dates on the road.
Callum Conelly’s 71st minute goal was enough for a lovely early Valentine’s treat for Trotters fans, who saw their side win away for the 1st time since 18th August.
9 of Wanderers last 12 EFL wins have been by a 1-0 scoreline. Not the most exciting gift, but it’s the thought that counts I guess.
Full-Time: @BCFC 0-1 Wanderers
It's all over at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium and a second half @Callum1connolly header has proved decisive. An excellent three points for Phil Parkinson's side on their travels. GET IN THERE!!! ??#BWFC ?? pic.twitter.com/ZiSUrnT0kK
— Bolton Wanderers FC (@OfficialBWFC) February 12, 2019
Tigers go soft
Home is certainly where the heart is for Hull City. Nigel Adkin’s side had won their last 5 home ties before hosting relegation battlers Rotherham United on Tuesday.
The Tigers looked certain to match their best run at home in the EFL since 2005, going in at half time 2-0 up.
The Millers have been out of the game for a while on the road, enduring 40 Championship dates without going all the way. It seemed like this one was a lost cause, but they had a change of heart after the break.
After a half-time domestic, Paul Warne’s side fought back to claim a 2-2 draw. Whilst their run of games without victory on the road now stretches to 41, a point is definitely something to build on.
FT| Hull City 2 v 2 Millers.
Chalk and cheese displays either side of half time.#rufc were rocked by the early goal in the first half, but were excellent in the second.
Goals from Forde and Taylor rescue a point following Bowen and Campbell strikes.
Great determination again pic.twitter.com/pfZk9fR4KC
— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) February 12, 2019
Robins break QPR hearts
We’ve all been there. You’ve had a lovely night out, everything seems to be going well and then boom, it all goes wrong.
Bristol City left it late to send QPR home from their evening at Ashton Gate with nothing, as Famara Diedhiou’s late penalty gave the Robins their 7th straight EFL victory.
Managing Bristol City is a labour of love for Lee Johnson and he’ll be hoping the next step of his marriage to City will be a luxurious new place next season.
The Robins now are sitting 5th in the Championship standings after 15 games unbeaten and fans are beginning to get butterflies thinking about Premier League football.
Johnson is proving to be the perfect partner so far this year. His side are the only team in England’s top 4 tiers with a 100% record in 2019. Match made in heaven?
From #BristolCity, with love. ?
— Bristol City FC (@BristolCity) February 14, 2019
Nelson be my Valentine?
We’ve all seen the tweet. And if you haven’t here it is:
@ReadingFC why play on Valentine's? Neither myself or any of my friends will attend as spending time with partners. Why not switch to Wed?
— Jonny Russell (@JonnyRussell100) February 13, 2017
One Reading fan came under fire 2 years ago for cheating on his team and going out with his partner instead. Now I can’t speak for him, but I would suggest that this year he might want to buy a certain Nelson Oliviera a few roses and some chocolates. Heck, he might even be tempted to take him out for dinner.
The on-loan forward scored late on for the Royals to gift them victory over Blackburn, a result which saw them climb out of the Championship’s bottom three.
Oliviera has now scored 2 goals in 3 appearances for Reading and his overall record in the Championship proves he’s no catfish. He’s netted 30 times in 96 appearances and could be vital to his side’s chances of survival.
A break up on Valentine’s Day is usually tough, but Reading fans will be glad to see the back of the relegation places. They’ll just be hoping they don’t go back to them anytime soon.
— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) February 14, 2019