EFL: Nottingham Forest’s drought and superstitious hair among five things you may have missed

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There was a good atmosphere in the East Midlands derby at the Pirelli Stadium, but Derby fans were to leave disappointed

The last few weeks of the season see the pressure crank up at both ends of the table – and some involved in the game will go to any length to stay unbeaten.

One manager in the English Football League is cultivating some superstitious facial hair, while another club ended a 10-hour goal drought.

Saturday also brought the first relegation of the season so, on a day Wolves returned to the Premier League without even playing, here are five things you may have missed from the EFL.

Forest end club-record goal drought

It’s been a barren few weeks for Nottingham Forest, as supporters have endured a goal drought since Matthew Cash scored what was the winner against Birmingham on 3 March.

Forest then drew six consecutive blanks, picking up three points in the process and slipping down the Championship table.

It continued on Saturday as Aitor Karanka’s side went 1-0 down at home to Ipswich and, as the clock ticked past 84 minutes, there was ironic applause as the run reached a club-record 636 minutes.

Ben Brereton ended Nottingham Forest’s 640-minute goal drought with a late penalty against Ipswich

But, just when they may have lost faith, the Reds were awarded a penalty when Ben Brereton was bundled over in the box.

The midfielder dusted himself down to net from the spot and ending that unwanted 640-minute streak opened the proverbial floodgates, with Joe Lolley volleying in six minutes later for the winner.

Just like buses, you wait for one to come along and then you get two. I’m sure Forest fans enjoyed the celebrations at last.

Bury get that sinking feeling

The League One relegation battle is hotting up, with Rochdale looking to pull off an escape following their run to the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Dale secured a third win in five games at Peterborough, despite having goalscoring skipper Ian Henderson sent off eight minutes after half-time.

Keith Hill’s side are 21st, one point from safety, and host 20th-placed Oldham next weekend.

There were crucial wins for AFC Wimbledon and Northampton but Bury had their relegation confirmed as they lost 3-2 at home to the Cobblers.

Bury have won just seven games in League One this season

The Shakers go down to League Two with four games still to be played after three years in the division.

“I’m feeling a bit distraught about it all,” boss Ryan Lowe said.

“There’s not been enough fight, there’s not been enough scrap from too many players out there.

“I don’t think this relegation means enough to some players and that’s pretty gutting.”

Brewers halt poor Pirelli form

Another dreary run was ended in the Midlands on Saturday, as Burton chose the perfect time to register their first home win since beating Fulham in mid-September.

The Brewers had only picked up 11 points at the Pirelli Stadium this season before the visit of local rivals Derby County.

Two second-half goals helped the hosts to a 3-1 win as manager Nigel Clough clinched victory over his former club, kept their survival hopes alive and had the added bonus of denting the Rams’ play-off bid.

Only Sunderland have picked up fewer points at home than Burton this season

“We felt as though we have deserved a home victory in the last six or seven weeks,” Clough told BBC Radio Derby.

“We got a few breaks and our hard work saw us through in the end. We had forgotten that feeling and the players are a little bit quiet as they seriously can’t remember the last time we won at home.”

It might just delay the inevitable for Burton, as they are five points from safety with three games of the Championship season remaining.

They travel to bottom club Sunderland next weekend and if the Brewers fail to win they could end up back in League One for the first time since 2015-16.

Stanley made to wait

We’ve had the first relegation from the EFL on Saturday, but we were denied the first promotion party in League Two.

Accrington Stanley would have gone up had they beaten Exeter at home.

However, the Grecians proved to be the party poopers, holding on for a 1-1 draw as the hosts laid siege to Exeter keeper Christy Pym’s goal in the second half.

That draw denied Stanley an 10th consecutive win at the Wham Stadium, and it might have spoiled the afternoon for a couple of home fans who attended in topical fancy dress following the club’s recent run-in with the EFL about their burger bonuses.

The EFL ‘reminded Accrington of their responsibilities’ after owner Andy Holt said he bought the players fast food after wins

“I feel deflated because we haven’t won the game, not because we haven’t been promoted,” boss John Coleman said.

“We have got so used to winning and you get a taste for it.

“We might already have enough points to get promoted, but we go again. We can’t be too disappointed.”

However, victory over Yeovil on Tuesday will be enough for Stanley to reach the third tier for the first time since the new club was formed in 1968.

Ainsworth keeps it growing

Footballers are known to be superstitious sorts, but how about managers?

Gareth Ainsworth, boss of League Two promotion challengers Wycombe Wanderers, is refusing to shave until his side lose – as he believes it’s a lucky charm.

Before their game at Yeovil on Saturday, he told BBC Three Counties Radio: “If it takes me to keep growing my beard and stay unbeaten then I’ll look like ZZ Top.

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth and Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top – but which is which?

“I’m a bit behind with this style, these beards have been around for a few years now.

“We’ll see how long it goes but the missus isn’t too happy, that’s all I can say.”

The fledgling growth worked a charm at Huish Park, as Randell Williams’ first ever league goal was enough to extend the Chairboys’ unbeaten run to six matches.

“Sorry Donna, the beard is staying,” he added after the game.

“My kids are calling me Father Christmas now. If it’s still here at Christmas we’ll be on some run, but if it’s here at the end of the season it’ll mean we’re still on form.”

Ainsworth’s side remain third in the table, four points clear of the chasing pack. But, how much longer will Ainsworth’s facial hair be by 5 May?



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