Relegated Reading, QPR And Wigan Start With Wins

by
Reuters
Reading, Queens Park Rangers and Wigan Athletic all began life in this season's Championship with victories after relegation last term as the English Football League's 125th anniversary campaign swung into gear on Saturday.

Reading, Queens Park Rangers and Wigan Athletic all began life in this season's Championship with victories after relegation last term as the English Football League's 125th anniversary campaign swung into gear on Saturday.

Reading beat visitors Ipswich Town 2-1, QPR defeated Sheffield Wednesday by the same score at Loftus Road while Wigan won 4-0 at Barnsley on a day when the oldest league in the world celebrated its foundation in 1888.

The second, third and fourth tier campaigns are underway ahead of the Premier League season which starts on Aug. 17.

Six matches across the three divisions were chosen to mark the occasion beginning with the League One game on Friday when Sheffield United beat Notts County 2-1.

Notts County, formed in 1862, are the oldest club in the world playing at a professional level while United's Bramall Lane stadium is the world's oldest professional football ground.

On Saturday founder members Burnley and Bolton Wanderers drew 1-1 in the Championship in glorious sunshine at Turf Moor, one of only three grounds to be used continually since the League began.

As in the other anniversary games, the two captains came out with replica 19th century balls, and the fact both teams were playing in their traditional colours, with Burnley in claret-and-blue and Bolton in white and blue, added to the occasion.

 

PRESTON HELD

In the other anniversary games, founder members Preston North End and Wolverhampton Wanderers drew 0-0 in a League One match at Deepdale, which has also been used since 1888.

In League Two Rochdale beat Hartlepool 3-0 and Welsh club Newport County, returning to the Football league, defeated Accrington Stanley 4-1.

The Rochdale-Hartlepool game was given anniversary status because it is the most played fixture between current league clubs, this being their 137th meeting.

Newport are the league's youngest club, returning 25 years after leaving it, folding and then being re-formed in 1989.

The final anniversary match will be between founder members Derby County and Blackburn Rovers on Sunday.

With all teams facing 46-game seasons, little can be read into the results on the opening day but there was joy for Yeovil Town, who won their first ever game in the Championship, 1-0 at Millwall, and more gloom for Coventry City.

Coventry, starting the season with a 10-point deduction because one of the companies associated with them are facing liquidation, lost 3-2 at Crawley Town in a League One fixture.

Portsmouth, like Coventry another former Premier League team that has fallen on hard times, began life as a supporter-owned club in League Two with a 4-1 home defeat by Oxford United.