• Championship round-up

Relegated sides all fail to win on Championship debut

ESPN staff
August 18, 2012
Thomas Ince wheels away after scoring © PA Photos

None of the three recently relegated sides were able to start life in the Championship with a win on Saturday, as Wolves and Bolton were both beaten and Blackburn had to settle for a point.

Play-off final losers Blackpool started off with a win against Millwall, however, as a late goal saw Birmingham take a point against newly promoted Charlton.

Leicester City and Nottingham Forest also started the new season with wins, as Watford came from behind to snatch all three points in a dramatic late victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Goals either side of half-time from Martin Paterson and Charlie Austin secured Burnley a 2-0 win against Bolton and made it an unhappy return to Turf Moor for Owen Coyle.

Coyle left Burnley in acrimonious circumstances in January 2010 and was the recipient of a feisty reception from the Clarets faithful on Bolton`s first game in the Championship since relegation from the Premier League.

Paterson emerged as the beneficiary of a goalmouth scramble six minutes before half-time to open the scoring and strike partner Austin pounced from close range to seal the points.

In the day's early kick-off, Neil Warnock's attempts to guide a club to promotion for the eighth time in his career kicked off in the best possible manner as his new-look Leeds side welcomed Wolves to the Championship with a deserved 1-0 victory.

Veteran boss Warnock moved in at Elland Road part-way through last season, tempted by the desire to end his time as a manager with one last hurrah and targeted this campaign as the one where he would achieve it.

Luciano Becchio's 18th-minute diving header gave him the start he wanted, although in truth his players were not given the test they expected from newly-relegated Wolves who had Norwegian Stale Solbakken as their manager in a league game for the first time.

Jason Lowe's own goal capped another week to forget for Blackburn as they started life in the second tier with a draw at Ipswich.

Rovers' pre-match preparations were thrown into disarray when the club's global adviser Shebby Singh told a fans' forum that manager Steve Kean was three straight defeats from the sack before going on to criticise winger Morten Gamst Pedersen.

Pedersen brushed off Singh's "pensioner'' jibe to play a part in Colin Kazim-Richards' opener, drilling in a corner which was eventually headed home by the summer arrival.

But poor defending allowed substitute Jason Scotland time and space in the area in the 83rd minute and when he tried to pick out Michael Chopra, his low cross was inadvertently put past his own goalkeeper by Lowe to snatch Town a point.

Nikola Zigic stepped off the bench to rescue a late point for Birmingham with a 94th-minute equaliser which denied Charlton a dream return to England's second tier.

Leon Cort's 82nd-minute header amid a goalmouth scramble looked to have handed the Addicks all three points at St Andrew's, in what was their first game back in the Championship after a three-year hiatus.

But last season's play-off semi-finalists rescued a point with almost the last kick of the game, coming after Zigic - linked with a summer move away from the club - had only been brought on in the aftermath of Cort's header.

Tom Ince further demonstrated why he has attracted attention from a number of Premier League clubs over the summer with a well-taken brace to help Blackpool see off Millwall 2-0 at The Den.

The 20-year-old winger, the son of former Manchester United midfielder Paul, enjoyed a superb debut season with the Seasiders last term and scored in the 2-1 play-off final defeat to West Ham in May.

Following Blackpool's Wembley heartache, Ince vowed to stay with the club to help them bounce back into the top flight at the second time of asking and against the Lions he helped give Ian Holloway's men the perfect start.

Nikola Zigic salvaged a point for Birmingham © PA Photos

Newly-appointed captain Wes Morgan scored his first Leicester goal as the Foxes got their campaign under way with a 2-0 opening day win at home to Peterborough.

Morgan, signed from east midlands rivals Nottingham Forest in January, celebrated taking over the armband from the departed Matt Mills over the summer by powering home a header early in the second half.

It was Leicester's first real chance of the game after Posh had dominated possession in a largely uneventful first half without troubling home goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. Substitute Andy King made sure of all three points for Nigel Pearson's side with a superb strike from the edge of the box with 15 minutes remaining.

Adlene Guedioura struck the only goal of the game on his debut as Sean O'Driscoll got off to a winning start as Nottingham Forest boss against Bristol City.

The game looked to be heading for a goalless stalemate before the summer signing from Wolves turned home Simon Cox's pass with 19 minutes left.

Watford new boys Almen Abdi and Matej Vydra secured a dramatic 3-2 victory away to Crystal Palace in Gianfranco Zola's first game in charge.

Swiss midfielder Abdi and Czech striker Vydra, both on loan with the Hornets from Udinese - the Italian club also owned by Vicarage Road bosses the Pozzo family - found the net in the last three minutes to sink a Palace side who had led for the best part of an hour.

Owen Garvan had twice put the hosts ahead in the first half with Martin Taylor equalising for Watford. But Abdi levelled again with a 25-yard strike before Vydra sent the visiting fans wild with the winner deep into stoppage time.

A late goal from Reda Johnson snatched a point for Sheffield Wednesday against Derby on their return to the division and preserved manager Dave Jones' unbeaten record.

Nathan Tyson and Jake Buxton had put Derby 2-0 up before Chris O'Grady's long-range stunner got the Owls back into it before half-time.

Wednesday dominated the second half but looked to have been frustrated before Johnson's 90th-minute header handed them a point and ensured that Jones has still to taste defeat while in their dugout.

Barnsley recorded a first home win since March as they opened their season with a deserved 1-0 win over Middlesbrough at Oakwell.

The Tykes lost 11 of their final 15 games in a dismal end to last season, but they showed no lasting effects of that form this afternoon and won it with a Craig Davies goal on the stroke of half-time.

Jay Simpson struck his first goal in 16 months as Hull marked manager Steve Bruce's first game in charge with a 1-0 opening-day win against Brighton.

The game appeared destined for a goalless draw as both sides missed a bucketful of chances, but Simpson, an 80th-minute replacement for Aaron Mclean, lashed the ball high into the roof of the net from inside the penalty area to deny the Seagulls a share of the points they deserved.

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