Early signs were hardly encouraging and – much like England’s Euro 2016 campaign – things started badly and got worse.
Referee Oliver Langford made the decision to give the game up as a bad idea 20 minutes after the players left poolside to dry out and that was that.
A cautionary tale for a Cobblers midfielder
Most footballers are desperate to get the dreaded pre-season out of the way and return to action after a lengthy summer devoid of the beautiful game.
It seems that combative Northampton Town midfielder John-Joe O’Toole was a bit too desperate.
The 27-year-old is already facing a ban having earned his fifth yellow card by the end of August. His barely-earned break follows being put on the naughty step in the games against Barnsley, Oldham, AFC Wimbledon and West Brom.
He completed his quintet of cautions in the 1-1 draw with Coventry so will be watching from the sidelines when the Cobblers face Wycombe in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday.
O’Toole actually avoided a booking in the season opener against Fleetwood but has since found considerable consistency, with yellow cards in five of the next six matches.
Birmingham City’s David Davis was also on four bookings after seeing yellow in every one of Blues’ opening four Championship fixtures but had a better afternoon. He was unable to keep pace with O’Toole, but did score his side’s first goal in the 3-0 victory over Norwich.
Lapping up the goals Trentside
Some Nottingham Forest fans are determined to make the most of the rich entertainment on offer at the City Ground this season.
Not content with lapping up every moment of the three home wins from three, and the 18 goals they have already witnessed, a group of Reds fans called Forza_Garibaldi on Twitter decided to elongate the day by hiring boats to travel in style up and down the Trent.
Arriving suitably relaxed and refreshed after a trip on the good ships “Silenzi”, “Rosario” and “Bonalair” [all named after cult heroes], is all well and good – but football is a results business after all.
Thankfully for Forest followers, successive 4-3 home wins were followed by a 3-1 victory over Leeds United and they are now dangling their feet in play-off waters.
The Reds had already scored eight goals in two home games before Saturday, and they did not manage to hit that target until 28 November last season when the first goal in a 3-1 win over Reading saw them reach that mark – in their ninth game.
It’s vastly different this season.
Short-term showing and subbing the sub
Spare a thought for Barnsley’s Stefan Payne, whose attempts to make a good impression after coming on as a substitute went wrong through no fault of his own.
Payne, a summer signing from Dover, had made four appearances from the bench for the Tykes so far and was itching to prove his worth against Rotherham, but pulled up injured inside three minutes of coming on for last season’s top scorer Sam Winnall.
Well, at least no harm was done to the team’s performance… in fact, the replacement for the replacement, Tom Bradshaw, netted his first goal for the Tykes and helped the team win 4-0.
An injury and quite possibly a step back in the pecking order. It could have gone better.
The long, long, long, long road to recovery
Shaun Barker has got used to proving the doubters wrong. The former Derby County captain has been doing so for four-and-a-half years following a terrible injury which most people thought would end his career.
On Friday night the 33-year-old stepped on to the pitch for Burton Albion in the last few seconds of the victory over his former club, thereby completing a remarkable journey back to competitive football.
The Brewers’ victory over near neighbours Derby in a league match in England’s second tier was incredible enough for a club so tiny in stature, who were playing non-league football as recently as 2009.
But Barker’s emotional return, which saw him applauded by both sets of fans and receive much love and respect on social media, was perhaps even more astonishing.
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