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Championship Analysis – Yeovil escape from Lions’ Den with historic win

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By Kristian Hood

Monday 05 August 2013

Yeovil Town played their first ever game in England’s second tier on Saturday and clinched a historic win at the first attempt. Admittedly the Glovers rode their luck for large parts of the game as Millwall were continuously wasteful in front of goal, and as such Ed Upson’s winner in the last few minutes could be construed as something of a smash-and-grab affair, but the win bodes well.

Ed Upson

Promoted sides are a pundit’s dream when it comes to analysing instances of forwards paying the price for not snapping up chances and defenders being punished for errors they would have got away with the previous season, so the fact Yeovil essentially turned the tables and pinched the points instead is potentially a good sign.

Of course, it’s ridiculously early to make assumptions. Indeed, Yeovil’s win was arguably not a huge surprise given Millwall’s almost disastrous form at the back end of season that at one stage on the final day had them in the bottom three before other results eventually worked in their favour. Many of the losses were at home, demonstrating the New Den is not the imposing fortress it once was. It may be a season of consolidation for the Lions, who after the departure of long-serving manager Kenny Jackett in the summer are essentially rebuilding under new boss Steve Lomas.

Nevertheless, it’s difficult not to make a big deal of Yeovil’s win. Yes, it may border on patronising to deliver David versus Goliath clichés and describe Gary Johnson’s side as being every neutral’s second team this season, etc, but then again, why not? In the current depressing world of the elite teams getting richer and once big sides like Coventry City and Portsmouth suffering so spectacularly badly – the former beginning their League 1 campaign on -10 points and potentially having to play their home games at Northampton’s Sixfields; the latter continually flirting with extinction and being thumped 4-1 at home in League 2 – it’s refreshing to see a side as modest as Yeovil being able to make the Championship in the first place. The key for the Glovers will be bagging as many points at Huish Park as possible. They open their home campaign against Birmingham City, beaten by Watford on Saturday, next week.

It was largely a great day for the six clubs not in the Championship last season; the one exception being Doncaster Rovers, who were beaten 3-1 by Blackpool thanks to late goals by Gary MacKenzie and Tom Ince. Fellow promoted side Bournemouth enjoyed a 2-1 over Charlton.

At the other end of the scale, the three relegated sides from the Premier League all bagged wins. QPR came from behind to edge Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 although Harry Redknapp’s side were fortunate to escape two penalty shouts, the second so arguably clear cut that even the usually vociferous Joey Barton aimed a guilty glance at referee Scott Mathieson. Reading also turned around a 1-0 deficit to defeat Ipswich, but the biggest statement of intent was marked by Wigan, who thrashed Barnsley 4-0 at Oakwell.

Unlike last season, when none of the teams relegated from the 2011/2012 Premier League season went back up and Wolves nose-dived into League 1, this time around QPR, Reading and Wigan will be very strong contenders to yo-yo to the top flight. In Harry Redknapp, Nigel Adkins and Owen Coyle, all three clubs have managers with a proven track record of promotion and expectations will be very high. Two clubs aiming to compete will be Derby and Blackburn, who shared a 1-1 draw at Pride Park in Sunday’s game.

See what the expert tipsters are tipping on OLBG

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