The Good, The Bad & The Ugly EFL

The international break was back for the second time this season (already?!), which meant that there were no EFL Championship fixtures and a reduced number in EFL Leagues One and Two.

This, however, did not mean there was a reduced amount of action and drama, as certain sides managed some rare joy, whilst others had days to forget in this weeks good, bad and ugly from the EFL weekend.

The Good: Finding the perfect time to score

Many managers, pundits, and fans alike would argue that it doesn’t matter when you score, as long as you do somewhere between kick off and full time.

But it is said that there are certain points where a goal could change the flow of the game, open up the play or even alter the result entirely. And when it came to the EFL match at Rodney Parade, this effect was shown in its entirety.

The clash between Newport County and Stevenage, who were both in the top six prior to kick off, promised to be a tight affair. As an early goal would, as previously mentioned, open up the play.

However, you would struggle to find a quicker start than the one made by Newport, as Matty Dolan’s thunderous volley opened the scoring with just 46 seconds on the clock.

Scoring at this point meant that the away side had to push men forward in search of an equaliser, which duly arrived, at what was arguably an even greater time to score. With Luther Wildin heading home in first-half stoppage time.

It is a goal that will have undoubtedly changed both sides half time team talks and altered how they approached the second half.

Is there a better time to score? Of course, there is. Step forward 18-year-old Antoine Semenyo.

The on-loan forward came off the bench to bag a 98th-minute winner to steal all three points at the death and keep up Newport’s promotion push.

Bad: Vale’s corner collapse

On paper, defending a corner sounds simple. Mark your man, don’t let him get goal side, and beat him to the ball if it does come your way.

However, when Port Vale faced league leaders Lincoln City in the EFL, it seemed more complicated than ever.

With just three minutes on the clock, City winger Harry Anderson was sharper than his marker at a corner to nip in at the front post and give his side the lead.

After a goal from Shay McCartan and an own goal from Leon Legge had given Lincoln a commanding lead, you would have thought the home defence would have been fully focused at set pieces to avoid further damage.

But No. Lincoln came out in the second half knowing they could hurt Vale in the air, and within three minutes Michael Bostwick pounced after another near-post corner was flicked on by Anderson.

Despite Vale pulling a goal back, the Imps continued their aerial onslaught, as yet another near post ball was met by the head of Scott Wharton before fellow defender James Wilson headed in a more central corner.

The frustration was shown by home keeper Scott Brown, booting the ball away after the fifth of six goals, as you would have to go back a long way to find a game where a team conceded four goals from corners in just 90 minutes of football.

Hazard a guess as to what Neil Aspin’s men were practising in training on Monday morning?

Ugly: Shephard herds disaster

All football players have games to forget during their careers. John Terry and that night in Moscow, Steven Gerrard and his slip at Anfield, and Liam Shephard’s contribution at Sixfields.

The EFL match between struggling Northampton and unbeaten Forest Green was an eventful affair, to say the least, though, despite early chances, it didn’t come to life until Reuben Reid opened the scoring for the away side just before halftime.

However, centre back Aaron Pierre managed to level the score for the Cobblers in the second half, heading in from a corner routine.

Liam Shephard, who had earlier put on effort onto the roof of the net, then got into a game of shirt pulling with Town’s Kevin Van Veen on the touchline, which sparked a tussle involving multiple players and both managers.

The battle between the pair continued deep into added time, and Van Veen’s loose header caused a chase for the ball.

Shephard was somewhat lethargic when he gained possession facing his own goal, as Van Veen duly took the ball off his toes before crossing for Andy Williams to grab the winner and spark a mad pitch invasion, leaving Shephard to stand in the goal mouth wondering what went wrong.