Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 8°C
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Round up: Goals for Wes Hoolahan and Derrick Williams in 5-0 thumpings
Big win for Blackburn over Wycombe while former Barcelona star Philip Cocu admits his Derby side are already under pressure after they lost again.

WES HOOLAHAN SHOWED there is life in the old dog yet as he scored a superb goal for Cambridge United who have now made it two wins from two in League Two as a crushing victory over Morecambe moved them to the top of the fledgling table.

Mark Bonner’s side produced a superb performance and some clinical finishing at the Mazuma Stadium as a crushing 5-0 victory over Morecambe moved them to the top of the fledgling table.

And Irish midfielder Hoolahan fired the visitors ahead with a superb finish from the edge of the area.

Elsewhere, in the Championship, there was another Irishman on the scoresheet as Derrick Williams netted Blackburn’s fourth in their 5-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers.

Meanwhile, Derby boss Phillip Cocu admitted his side were already under pressure after they slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Luton.Jordan Clark’s late winner condemned County to a second defeat from their opening two Championship games, after Jack Marriott had cancelled out Luke Berry’s opener for the hosts. Cocu said:  “It’s the second game, but the pressure’s on now as we don’t have any points.”

Berry’s first goal of the season put Luton in front as he prodded home Elliot Lee’s cross after 34 minutes.

Derby levelled seven minutes after the break when former Town striker Marriott scored after being teed up by new signing Jozwiak.

But Clark won it with three minutes to go, nodding home Rhys Norrington-Davies’ pin-point cross.

Elsewhere,  Garry Monk settled for a point that edged Sheffield Wednesday closer to being out of arrears in the Sky Bet Championship but the Owls boss was frustrated by the lack of a cutting edge in the goalless draw against Watford.

Wednesday started the season with a 12-point deduction but last week’s win in their season-opener at Cardiff and a stalemate at Hillsborough leaves them on minus eight.

They dominated the first half against Watford, who repeatedly made mistakes while attempting to play out from the back, but the closest Wednesday came was when Tom Lees grazed the outside of a post with an unmarked header.

Their opponents were a different proposition after the interval and Wednesday goalkeeper Cameron Dawson ensured the spoils would be shared after saving well from Watford substitute Stipe Perica and captain Tom Cleverley.

Monk said: “We didn’t capitalise on the good opportunities we had in the first half. Had we, it might have been a bit different but they were always going to come back, they’re a good side.

“They’re one of the teams that are going to be right up there, so we’ve played two teams that are expected to be right up there and we’ve done very well in those games.

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“We’d have liked more composure in the second half but we had no given right, we’re playing against a good side.”

In other news, Middlesbrough’s match with Bournemouth was one of seven pilot events for the return of spectators in the EFL.

A so-called ‘second wave’ may be sweeping in with all the inevitability of a biting Teesside breeze, but it did not stop 1,000 Middlesbrough ticket holders seizing the chance to provide socially-distanced support for their side at the Riverside Stadium.

The grim coronavirus prognosis has hit close to home in recent days: Neil Warnock and an unnamed first-team player were absent having contracted the virus, while, just a goal-kick up the coast, stricter lockdown measures included the inability to associate outside one’s own household bubble.

These Boro fans might have been prohibited from breaching the ‘rule of six’ on their own front lawns, but nothing was going to stop them coming together relatively en-masse to register their collective frustration over the errant aim of Marcus Tavernier’s right foot.

For many of these fans, however, an expectation of excellence was hardly the point. Forty-six year old Nick Bonner, who won the ticket lottery along with his mother Shirley and daughter Caitlyn, admitted: “We’d rather come and lose than stay away and win – that sounds really bad but it’s Boro.

“The last couple of years we’ve been cursing our Saturdays, thinking we’re going to get beaten again. But when you can’t come you realise how much you miss it, and that all those highs and lows are part and parcel of following a club.”

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