The Good, The Bad & The Ugly EFL

This weekend was somewhat overshadowed by events at Leicester City. However with the footballing world in mourning, all that can be done is be reminded on the pitch, why we love this game so very much.

And with that, another weekend of EFL action produced some lethal finishing, woeful records and massive talking-points in this week’s good, bad and ugly from the EFL weekend.

The Good: Sharp finds his edge

Cast your mind back to August 2008.

The EFL Championship season was two weeks old and Sheffield United were hoping to get back into the Premier League at the second attempt, with a 3-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers getting them their first win of the campaign.

That game was the last time, the now-veteran Blades striker Billy Sharp scored a hat-trick. However, the visit of a Wigan Athletic side, who had lost their last five EFL away games provided a great opportunity for Sharp to break that record.

And he did just that, as the forward put in a magnificent display for his hometown club to claim the match-ball and all three points.

The game was nearing half-time, with the scores level at 1-1 when Billy showed killer instinct inside the box to put his side in front at the break.

He then came out in the second half aiming to seal the win, and so he did. Getting on the end of Leon Clarke’s cross for his second, before chipping Chris Walton just past the hour mark to get the hat-trick.

Sharp’s heroics were enough to lift the Blades to the top of the EFL Championship with their 9th win of the season, whilst Wigan lost their 6th away game on the bounce to drop to 14th.

The Bad: Home isn’t where the heart is

It is said in football that the key for any side to do well, is to make your own ground a fortress. So that even if your away form falters, you will still be picking up points at home.

However, Cheltenham Town appear to have left the drawbridge down. As prior to the visit of Stevenage, they had picked up just 2 points from 6 games at home.

And things went from bad to worse for Michael Duff’s side as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat against the Boro, meaning that they are now without a win in 8 games in EFL League Two.

They were under pressure from Stevenage straight from kick-off, as Kurtis Guthrie made that pressure tell with a header from Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s cross in the 18th minute.

Town nearly managed to equalise through Chris Hussey, before being dealt a blow on the stroke of half-time as Steve Seddon doubled the away side’s lead.

There were no further goals in the second half, as Cheltenham remained in the EFL League Two relegation zone, with just 10 points from a possible 45 so far. Whilst Stevenage moved to within two points of the play-off places.

And it doesn’t look like the Robins’ home form will be improving any time soon, as their next home game in the EFL sees them welcome Mansfield Town, a team yet to lose away from home.

The Ugly: Roofe blows Forest’s lid

England fans who can remember the 1986 FIFA World Cup, will recall a feeling of anger and disgust towards Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal that knocked them out in the quarter-finals.

Whilst it might not be quite on the same scale as that, Nottingham Forest fans will still feel aggrieved about how the game ended when they travelled to Leeds United in the EFL Championship on Saturday.

The visitors had taken an early lead through defender Jack Robinson’s header, his first for the club. As Forest did well to hold Leeds at arm’s length in their quest for all three points.

And it appeared to be working, that was until eight minutes from time, when Mateusz Klich’s cross was diverted into the empty net by the arm of Kemar Roofe.

Roofe and his team-mates looked over to the linesman to see if he had noticed, whilst both the Forest players and bench protested against the equaliser.

After the match, the Leeds forward even admitted that he had handled the ball into the net, stating that it was “up to the ref to give it and he gave it.”

The result means Leeds stay in the automatic promotion places, despite having won just 1 of their last 4 home games. Whilst Forest stay outside the play-off places with their 8th draw of the EFL season.