Join @TonyIncenzo each week for his Championship review, with a look at the biggest moments in the latest round of games in England's second tier...
THE Championship kicked off over the weekend with that usual intriguing blend of thrills and spills galore. Here are the main talking points that caught my eye…
TOP OF THE PILE
Millwall sit top of the fledgling Championship table thanks to a resolute 2-0 home win over Stoke City. Charlie Cresswell rammed in both goals by connecting powerfully from set-plays.
The 19 year old is on loan from Leeds United and had not scored before in senior football.
Those visiting away fans who made the trip down to The Den on Saturday will know his family name well as he is the son of former Stoke striker Richard Cresswell.
Norwich City may rank as one of the promotion favourites after relegation from the Premier League but they were defeated 1-0 at Cardiff City.
The Bluebirds had a major turnover of players in the close season and one of their new signings - Romaine Sawyers - marked his debut with the winning goal.
Both teams had a player sent-off in this tempestuous encounter – Perry Ng of Cardiff and Norwich’s Grant Hanley.
Home boss Steve Morison summed things up perfectly afterwards by saying: “This was a really exciting game that had the Championship written all over it!”
Having worked with Romaine Sawyers in the past, Norwich City head coach Dean Smith said: “I don’t think Romaine’s goal came from a shot.
"I’ve known him a long time and I believe it was actually a pass that took a deflection into the corner of the net!”
A WINNING INTRODUCTION FOR VINCENT
Vincent Kompany got off to a flying start as the new boss of relegated Burnley courtesy of a 1-0 success at Huddersfield Town on Friday night.
It was debutant Ian Maatsen who pushed forward on the left to fire home for the decisive breakthrough.
Burnley dished up a convincing display of crisp passing football and Kompany said: “I am pleased because we took the game by the scruff of the neck.”
West Brom signed two of the Championship’s most creative players in Jed Wallace and John Swift during the summer and they immediately combined in dynamic style at Middlesbrough.
Wallace broke clear down the right and crossed low for Swift to convert Albion’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw. The duo scored 17 goals and provided 25 assists for their respective clubs – Millwall and Reading – last season.
Sunderland had a bumper crowd of 40,851 at the Stadium of Light to mark their return to the Championship having defeated Wycombe 2-0 in the League One Play-Off Final last season.
However, visitors Coventry City proved party poopers on Sunday with Viktor Gyokeres producing a fantastic solo effort from just outside the box late on to secure a 1-1 draw.
Highest attendances in the Championship this weekend:— The Second Tier (@secondtierpod) July 31, 2022
1️⃣ Sunderland - 40,851
2️⃣ Middlesbrough - 26,567
3️⃣ Huddersfield - 20,206
4️⃣ Cardiff - 19,969
5️⃣ Hull - 16,667
6️⃣ Wigan - 15,429
7️⃣ Millwall - 15,341#SAFC #Boro pic.twitter.com/md9jKEnhWI
MOST SPECTACULAR GOALS
I really liked that incursion by Gyokeres but two other goals eclipsed it as far as I am concerned because they were lashed in from all of 30 yards.
Firstly, Harry Darling’s thunderous debut strike saw Swansea City come from behind to draw 1-1 at newly promoted Rotherham United. The new signing from MK Dons showed true quality with his picturesque dipping shot.
This was matched by Lewis Travis of Blackburn who unleashed a real masterblaster that Stevie Wonder would be proud of.
Travis sealed the 1-0 victory for Rovers against Queens Park Rangers in Jon Dahl Tomasson’s first game in charge at Ewood Park.
The best save of the weekend that I spotted came from Wigan Athletic keeper Ben Amos in the Lancashire derby against visitors Preston North End.
In fact, it was a sprawling double stop to keep out Troy Parrott and then Emil Riis in quick succession. The game finished 0-0.
*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*
FIRST PUBLISHED: 1st August 2022