Championship round-up: Norwich City make early statement with resounding win at Blackburn

Former Arabian Gulf League manager Walter Zenga got a stern introduction to life in English football, but his Wolves side passed their first test as they came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Rotherham.

Wes Hoolahan, centre, of Norwich scores the second goal during their Championship match against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood park on August 6, 2016 in Blackburn, England. Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
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LONDON // Norwich City, relegated from the Premier League last season, began their Championship campaign with a resounding 4-1 victory at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

City have had a settled summer and, enjoying the cohesion that familiarity breeds, put Rovers to the sword with three goals in the first 25 minutes.

Jacob Murphy, Wes Hoolahan and Cameron Jerome, who were all at the club when they were promoted in 2015, put coach Alex Neil’s side in a commanding position as they delivered an early statement of intent to the rest of the league.

Steven Naismith added a fourth in the 58th minute to complete a miserable afternoon for Blackburn who pulled a goal back through substitute Anthony Stokes.

Title favourites Newcastle United were beaten 1-0 at Fulham on Friday after a disjointed performance that coach Rafael Benitez described as a “wake-up call”.

Towering forward Matt Smith scored the only goal when he profited from an error by Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles to head home.

Substitute Grant Ward scored a second-half hat-trick on his Ipswich Town debut as they defeated Barnsley 4-2 while Nottingham Forest came from behind to sink promoted Burton Albion 4-3 in a thriller.

Walter Zenga’s Wolverhampton Wanderers recovered from a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2 at Rotherham United.

ROTHERHAM 2 WOLVES 2

Former Arabian Gulf League manager Walter Zenga got a stern introduction to life in English football, but his Wolves side passed their first test as they came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Rotherham in the SkyBet Championship.

It looked like being a nightmare start for the Italian, who last week replaced Kenny Jackett at Molineux, as his side found themselves 2-0 down inside the opening 20 minutes as the hosts made a lightning start.

The Millers, also under a new boss in Alan Stubbs, went ahead through Danny Ward and Will Vaulks and threatened to blow Wolves away.

But a lifeline from George Saville just before the break started Wolves’ comeback and, despite Dominic Iorfa being dismissed early in the second half, they found an equaliser in the 65th minute through Iceland striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

They could easily have gone on to claim an unlikely win, but both sides had to settle for a point in a pulsating opening-day clash.

Stubbs could not have dreamed for a better start to life in the Millers dugout as his side blew Wolves away in the opening 20 minutes.

HUDDERSFIELD 2 BRENTFORD 1

Kasey Palmer made an instant impact in senior football as Huddersfield ended their opening day hoodoo with a 2-1 victory over Brentford.

Winger Palmer, on a season-long loan from Chelsea, had only been on the field a matter of seconds when he pounced to snatch the three points.

Palmer, 19, kept his cool when Dan Bentley saved from Rajiv van La Parra and slotted home a 79th minute winner.

IPSWICH 4 BARNSLEY 2

Grant Ward enjoyed a debut to remember by grabbing a hat-trick from the bench as Ipswich claimed a thrilling 4-2 victory over newly promoted Barnsley.

A largely dismal game burst into life with four goals in the 18 minutes that followed half-time with Ward, a £600,000 signing from Tottenham, scoring with his first touch just 39 seconds after coming on.

Conor Hourihane equalised for Barnsley but Ipswich raced into a 3-1 lead thanks to Ward and a penalty from David McGoldrick in the 63rd minute.

READING 1 PRESTON 0

Jaap Stam made an encouraging start as Reading manager as his side registered a 1-0 Sky Bet Championship victory over Preston at the Madejski Stadium.

Reading could have won more comfortably, but were let down by wayward and had to settle for one goal - from former Chelsea midfielder John Swift in the first half - to secure the win.

Stam was appointed to his first managerial post in June, replacing the sacked Brian McDermott.

KILMARNOCK 1 MOTHERWELL 2

Kilmarnock were without Charlton target Josh Magennis as they suffered a 2-1 home defeat by Motherwell on the opening day of the Ladbrokes Premiership season.

Killie cut their pitch dimensions but still allowed Motherwell too much room when Lionel Ainsworth netted with a glorious chip in the 40th minute and Marvin Johnson headed home 28 seconds after the restart.

Lee Clark started with only three of his 11 summer signings but he is still looking for the right formula following their Betfred Cup exit, although his team made a game of it after Martin Smith’s 82nd-minute header.

BRISTOL CITY 2 WIGAN 1

Substitute Bobby Reid struck a last-minute winner as Bristol City came from behind to beat newly-promoted Wigan Athletic 2-1 in an exciting Sky Bet Championship clash at Ashton Gate.

Alex Gilbey fired the visitors in front after 32 minutes with a measured sidefooted finish after Yanic Wildschut had got behind City’s back line and crossed from the left.

But the home side dominated the second half and equalised in the 81st-minute when Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham, making his debut as a substitute, got the final touch after Hordur Magnusson had headed a Gary O’Neil corner towards goal.

DERBY 0 BRIGHTON 0

Nigel Pearson’s return to management ended in stalemate as his Derby side were held to a goalless draw by Brighton at the iPro Stadium.

Pearson saw Derby start brightly with David Stockdale saving from Tom Ince but Brighton controlled the second half and Glenn Murray squandered a great chance to win the game in the 71st minute.

Darren Bent almost stole it in the final minute of stoppage time but the game ended in a draw, just like the two meetings between the teams last season.

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