Blogs & Opinion


Football League: Peter Beagrie selects his favourite games of the season so far

Peter Beagrie - Peter Beagrie Posted 15th January 2014 view comments

We've had a sensational Football League season so far.

In the Championship there is an almighty scrap for promotion to the cash-rich Premier League, while the promotion races in League One and League Two also look set to feature myriad clubs.

Peter Beagrie has been following proceedings for Sky Sports every step of the way, analysing the live games, dissecting the goals on our FL72 review and preview programmes, and airing his views in his weekly skysports.com blog.

Bryson: notched twice as Derby launched a stunning comeback against Ipswich

Bryson: notched twice as Derby launched a stunning comeback against Ipswich

With the 2013/14 campaign now beyond the halfway stage, we asked Beags to nominate his top five Football League encounters so far and, amongst others, he opted for belters at Pride Park and Highbury and gave Coventry a mention - twice.

Check out Peter's musings - and highlights from the chosen games - below and then let us know whether you agree with his selections by filling in the feedback form at the base of the page...

Fleetwood 5-4 Mansfield

DIVISION: League Two

WHEN: November 23, 2013

WHERE: Higbury Stadium

FLEETWOOD SCORERS: Gareth Evans (2); Antoni Sarcevic (3)

MANSFIELD SCORERS: Chris Clements; Anthony Howell; Sam Clucas; Ross Dyer

ATTENDANCE: 2,831

BEAGS SAYS: This Fylde Coast thriller left everybody in the ground, including the referee, breathless and is my game of the season so far. Fleetwood, the joint-top scorers in League Two, went ahead after 18 seconds, with Gareth Evans finishing off a flowing move, but were then 2-1 down after 13 minutes and that set the tone for the rest of the game. Mansfield more than played their part and looked like heading back to Nottinghamshire with a brilliant point after Ross Dyer leapt onto a spilled Sam Clucas strike to bring parity on 89 minutes. But Fleetwood poured forward and Antoni Sarcevic converted a last-gasp penalty to ensure he got three goals and his side got three points. We saw a soccer spectacular featuring lots of bright young things, great attacking football, and reasons why Fleetwood should be right in the running for promotion. Graham Alexander has a great and broad squad and after three defeats on the spin, the Lancastrians have beaten Accrington and Dagenham & Redbridge. Expect them to make a big move in 2014.

Coventry 4-4 Preston

DIVISION: League One

WHEN: August 25, 2013

WHERE: Sixfields Stadium

COVENTRY SCORERS: Leon Clarke; Callum Wilson (2); Mathieu Manset

PRESTON SCORERS: Tom Clarke; Bailey Wright; Joel Byrom; Chris Humphrey

ATTENDANCE: 2,068

BEAGS SAYS: A goal-fest at Sixfields which was brilliant for fans and neutrals alike but enough to send managers grey and prematurely bald. I would like to offer a case for the defence but neither side had one, instead concentrating on all-out attack. Both Coventry and Preston scored in time added on in the second half, with North End thinking they had stolen the three points when Chris Humphrey netted, only to see Mathieu Manset break their hearts and leave honours even. Preston have been inconsistent at times this term - they will be disappointed to have won just five of their 12 home games - but Simon Grayson's team won three in a row prior to the defeat at Wolves to remain firmly in the play-off picture and they won't have given up hope of fighting it out for one of the automatic-promotion berths, especially if Joe Garner - 12 goals in 22 appearances in all competitions, including an FA Cup hat-trick to knock out Championship high-flyers Ipswich - can keep his shooting boots on.

Bradford 3-3 Coventry

DIVISION: League One

WHEN: November 17, 2013

WHERE: Valley Parade

BRADFORD SCORERS: Nahki Wells (3)

COVENTRY SCORERS: Andy Webster; Leon Clarke; Callum Wilson

ATTENDANCE: 14,322

BEAGS SAYS: This was a game billed as a shootout between the best young strikers in League One at the time, Nahki Wells and Callum Wilson, but the match itself did not disappoint as we witnessed a six-goal thriller, which took the number of goals in the Sky Blues' games to 62 in just 16! Wilson was unplayable at times, rippling the net as well as grabbing an assist, while Wells' hat-trick was reward for an all-action display. Both young guns have carried on their form, with Wells netting four goals in the eight games that followed and sealing a £1m+ move to Bradford's Yorkshire neighbours Huddersfield - and promptly scoring the Terriers' winner against Millwall - and Wilson, despite easing up on the goal front, helping Steven Pressley's men maintain a play-off push. 14,000 fans packed into Valley Parade, or the Coral Windows Stadium as it is known for sponsorship purposes, on that Sunday and were treated to a belter, as were the public lucky enough to watch the encounter unfold on Sky Sports.

Derby 4-4 Ipswich

DIVISION: Championship

WHEN: October 1, 2013

WHERE: Pride Park

DERBY SCORERS: Zak Whitbread; Craig Bryson (2); Jamie Ward

IPSWICH SCORERS: Christophe Berra; Daryl Murphy (2); Aaron Cresswell

ATTENDANCE: 21,037

BEAGS SAYS: Derby slipped 2-0 behind and went into half time 4-1 down. Enter Steve McClaren. The former England manager, newly-appointed at Pride Park but not in official charge until the following match at home to Leeds, delivered an obviously inspirational speech as the Rams wrestled a draw from the jaws of defeat. Derby's system was tweaked slightly, with John Eustace and Mason Bennett replacing Ben Davies and Conor Sammon at the break, and there were instant rewards. That turnaround began a run of one defeat in 14 for County, which included seven wins on the bounce - against Sheffield Wednesday, Bournemouth, Wigan, Middlesbrough, Blackpool, Charlton and Doncaster - and took them into the dizzy heights of the second automatic-promotion place at one stage. The future certainly looks bright for Derby and also McClaren, who has already begun adding to his talented squad by bringing in the pace of Andre Wisdom and Simon Dawkins, which should stand the Rams in good stead for the second half of the season.

Colchester 0-4 Notts County

DIVISION: League One

WHEN: December 14, 2013

WHERE: Weston Homes Community Stadium

NOTTS COUNTY SCORERS: Jack Grealish; Morgan Fox; Callum McGregor; Gary Liddle

ATTENDANCE: 2,961

BEAGS SAYS: Loan stars Jack Grealish and Callum McGregor helped Shaun Derry's side gain back-to-back wins following the triumph over Gillingham a week earlier and were absolutely outstanding at Colchester. Grealish showcased his brilliant individual skill to net the first and then set-up the fourth with a mazy dribble and then sublime vision to play a wonderful slide-rule pass in to Gary Liddle, while McGregor also go on the score sheet. Derry has certainly made an impact at Meadow Lane, with the Magpies unbeaten in five on their own patch, a run that has encompassed the wins over the Gills and the U's, a draw with Bristol City and, in their previous two outings, the notable scalps of Bradford and Sheffield United. Survival now looks more likely than it did a few weeks ago - County are up to fourth from bottom - but a victory this weekend against a Stevenage side who are propping up the table would certainly delight Derry, who, of course, began his career at Meadow Lane back in the early 1990s.

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