Drones, droughts and the Devon derby

18 Sep

Ikechi Anya celebrates his winner


Ikechi Anya’s goal was his first for Derby since joining from Watford and just Derby’s second in eight league games this season

Remembering the winning feeling and how to celebrate one of those “goal things” provided some much-needed relief to a couple of teams in the Championship.

But it wasn’t all good news. An unwelcome guest halted proceedings at a League One match and a reunion with former work colleagues didn’t go so well in League Two.

BBC Sport reflects on five things that may have passed you by from Saturday’s EFL action.

Rams break 400-minute goal drought

Derby County could be forgiven for forgetting how to celebrate the glorious goalscoring moment.

But, having netted just once in seven Championship matches this season, Ikechi Anya struck late in the first half against Bristol City to double their tally with one deft finish.

Derby celebrate Ikechi Anya's goal against Bristol City<!–

“Right lads, apparently we all raise our arms and jump up and down a bit”

Aaron Wilbraham’s injury-time equaliser ultimately spoiled the feeling for Rams fans and manager Nigel Pearson, whose side have still only one league win this season.

The former Leicester boss said his side were “mugged” in the midweek home defeat against Ipswich Town and the feeling remained after another painful setback.

Pearson told BBC Radio Derby: “We have to be clinical. The reality is we know have had four very good chances in the second half to bury the game and we have continued to miss pretty straightforward chances.”

Eight matches, two goals, one win, six points, fifth from bottom. But, Derby fans, as Goodbrand Stats so brilliantly put it in Oasis hashtag-style…..

Goodbrand Stats Twitter<!–

Anya’s goal ended a terrible run but only brought a point

Derby-day delight, topping the table and ruining Reid’s return

Exeter City against Plymouth Argyle is always a big deal in Devon. So important locally that Argyle gave the occasion a boxing-style introduction on their Twitter account.

Plymouth Argyle official Twitter<!–

But there was added interest to this one. The fact that Argyle won the lunchtime kick-off 2-0 ensured the team in the Green corner would drift off to sleep for their Saturday night slumbers as, still, League Two leaders.

And, just to spice it up further, former Plymouth striker Reuben Reid had a debut to forget on his return to the club he left in the summer after rejecting a new contract.

Reid was the Pilgrims’ top scorer for two of the last three seasons, but made little impact after coming on as a substitute for the Grecians at Home Park.

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Reuben Reid and Argyle summer signing Sonny Bradley (15) were not even team-mates but there was a less than welcoming “homecoming” for Reid at Home Park

The 28-year-old scored a hat-trick for Argyle in the fixture two seasons ago. This time around, his “warm” reception was far from welcoming, with a ‘Judas’ banner and some heated exchanges with former team-mates.

A win is a win….

A first league victory of the season in game number eight is hardly time to open the champagne, buy party streamers and get the bunting out.

But having started with a 4-1 home loss to Norwich and defeats in five of their first seven Championship fixtures, Blackburn Rovers fans at last have something to smile about.

Blackburn's Ben Marshall celebrates his goal against Rotherham United<!–

That winning feeling – Ben Marshall savours Blackburn’s third goal against Rotherham United

At 1-0 down to fellow strugglers Rotherham United, it seemed an uphill task for the former Premier League champions.

But three goals turned things around for Owen Coyle’s men and – despite a late scare – they clinched a 4-2 win to move off the bottom of the table, albeit only on goal difference.

Drone on – a brief break in Bradford

Security scares, pitch invasions, rain of biblical proportions, streakers and now… drone stops play.

A drone stopped play between Bradford City and Bristol Rovers<!–

Is it a bird, is it a plane, is it the latest way of analysing player performance?

And no, in case you were thinking as much, it wasn’t the latest technological advances in assessing player performance. It was simply an unwanted space invader.

Bradford’s 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers was a pretty unremarkable 1-1 draw in many ways. Rovers did score late on to deny the Bantams the chance to go second in League One.

Bradford City Twitter<!–

But the appearance over the stadium of a drone that began circling the pitch will probably live longer in the memory for most people at the Northern Commercials Stadium.

Referee Andy Haines took the players off the pitch 20 minutes into the second half but three minutes later the unwanted guest had disappeared. The teams re-appeared and it was a case of ‘as you were’.

Sky Blues hit rock bottom

Fifty seven years ago, drones were not really a thing. In fact, in 1959 photocopying wasn’t really a thing – that was until the Xerox machine entered the mainstream market and cheered up many a worker.

Coventry City were not really a force in football terms either. But Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home to Oldham, coupled with Rochdale’s victory against Fleetwood Town, saw the Sky Blues sink to the bottom of the third tier – their lowest point since the final year of the 50s.

In 1959 they were promoted as Division Four runners-up behind Port Vale – that was their only season in the fourth tier of English football in their 97-year history.

Coventry did play in both Division Three North and South at various times, in the days of regional lower league divisions.

But it’s not good news whichever way you look at it, so here’s a video of one of the great Wembley goals to cheer up glum Coventry fans, and anyone else who loves a brilliant diving header.

It’s a cracker and will take some copying.

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FA Cup: 50 memorable goals – Keith Houchen’s diving header

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