EFL: Groundhog Day comes to Accrington as Huddlestone ends long wait

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More than 17,000 fans watched Notts County beat Crewe in League Two on Saturday – Meadow Lane’s first sell-out since becoming all-seater in 1994

In a week that saw the transfer window close for the season, many English Football League teams will have been relieved that Saturday brought a chance to get back to what actually matters – the football.

Despite the number of personnel changes in the divisions some things don’t change and the leaders of all three leagues enjoyed home wins.

BBC Sport looks at five things you may have missed, including cases of deja vu for Leeds and Accrington.

Weight (and wait) off Huddlestone’s shoulders

Tom Huddlestone celebrates scoring his first goal for Derby County – more than 14 years after his debut

You have to go back to August 2003 for Tom Huddlestone’s debut for Derby County.

A mere 14 years and six months later and the former Tottenham man can finally say he’s scored for the Rams.

Huddlestone, who once went on a 32-month goal drought that saw him refuse to have his hair cut until he scored, returned to his first club in the summer 12 years after leaving having failed to score in 95 appearances.

His first 29 games back with the Rams went the same way before he finally broke his duck with tap-in from two yards in his side’s comprehensive 3-0 win over Brentford.

Thankfully for the ex-England man, it’s some of the club’s backroom staff who will be having impromptu haircuts this time.

“I was getting a bit nervous because I’d never scored. Thankfully I have now and it put us on track for an important win,” he told BBC Radio Derby.

“I’ve been taking stick about not scoring here for 15 years. I had a bet with the doctor and the physio about me scoring so we’ll see what they look like with skinheads on Monday now.”

After ending his personal drought in a 6-0 win against Fulham in 2014 Hull City, physio Rob Price got to cut off some of Huddlestone’s considerable locks mid-game

Blackburn suffer home discomforts

You could have excused Blackburn Rovers fans for travelling to Plymouth Argyle in expectation rather than hope.

Tony Mowbray’s side went second in League One with a 3-1 win over Walsall on Tuesday, a victory that extended their unbeaten league run to 18 matches.

However, the improving Pilgrims made light work of the former Premier League winners thanks to first-half goals from Ruben Lameiras and Ryan Taylor.

Derek Adams’ team were bottom of the table at the start of December but a strong run of form means they are now up to 11th.

Adams told BBC Radio Devon: “I’m delighted because we’ve come up against a team that had been unbeaten in 18 games and we started the game very well.

“I said before the game that it was a free game and the players went out and played with that freedom, which was good to see.”

The Whites see red. Again

Gaetano Berardi (left) walks past head coach Thomas Christiansen after his second red card this season

To say it has not been a good start to 2018 for Leeds United would be something of an understatement.

The Elland Road side have been knocked out of the FA Cup at League Two Newport, been forced to do a redesign of their proposed new crest after thousands of complaints and are now without a win in their last seven matches.

To compound matters they have an absolutely abysmal disciplinary record, with four red cards in their six games this year.

The latest, for full-back Gaetano Berardi, came in a dreadful 4-1 home defeat by Cardiff on Saturday.

“I’m disappointed with the situation [Berardi’s sending off], because he already had one yellow card when he went down to the ground – he should have been more intelligent in that situation,” boss Thomas Christiansen told BBC Radio Leeds.

“If a player goes to ground it is because they are not close enough to the opponent. The cards have cost us a lot of points.”

Groundhog Day comes to Accrington

Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil makes prediction

It may have escaped your attention but Friday was Groundhog Day in America and Canada.

It may have escaped your attention but Friday was Groundhog Day in America and Canada.

Etc.

The tradition, where the shadow of groundhog Punxsutawney Phil is used to predict how much longer winter will last, was made famous by the 1993 film starring Bill Murray as a weatherman forced to relive the same day over and over again.

It might not be reaching Groundhog Day levels just yet but Accrington’s win over Stevenage on Saturday was strikingly similar to their last home win against Port Vale in January.

In both games, Stanley have been 2-0 down at the break, with Sean McConville scoring their first, Billy Kee their second and McConville their winner.

“When we do get it right we are a formidable opponent. We need to get it right more often,” manager John Coleman told BBC Radio Lancashire.

‘I’ve never seen a celebration like that’

Wycombe looked to be cruising to a fifth straight league win when they went into the break 2-0 up against Carlisle thanks to goals from Matt Bloomfield and Luke O’Nien.

However, O’Nien’s red card just after the interval gave Danny Grainger the chance to reduce the arrears from the spot.

Joe Jacobson had the chance to put the home team back in control but Jack Bonham kept out his penalty and goals from Jamie Devitt and Cole Stockton made it 3-2 to the visitors in the 71st minute.

As the game headed into injury time Gareth Ainsworth’s men looked to be falling to a first defeat since Boxing Day – but improbably there was still time for an astonishing late comeback.

Stoppage-time goals from Paris Cowan-Hall and Marcus Bean gave the Chairboys a stunning 4-3 victory that saw them retain second spot in League Two.

“I’ve said before that the boys do not know when they’re beaten. Nobody would have predicted what would have happened but it was a fantastic end to the game” Ainsworth told BBC Radio Three Counties.

“The last goal was just mayhem.

“Marcus Bean has been here for three years and he gets ribbed in training for not scoring and the fans almost sarcastically sing about him scoring. The night belongs to him and I’ve never seen a celebration like that.”



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