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Championship Chat: Forest catch the eye

Thursday 22nd August 2013 11:28

Nottingham Forest: Boast the Championship's only 100% record

Nottingham Forest: Boast the Championship's only 100% record

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James Marshment takes an in-depth look at all the major talking points in the Championship action in the first of a new weekly column.

James Marshment takes an in-depth look at all the major talking points in the Championship action in the first of a new weekly column.

The Sky Bet Championship is often overlooked for the glamour and glitz of the Premier League, but there's much to be celebrated in the second tier as we find out in this new weekly Thursday column.

The race for promotion, and the bid to stay in the second tier, is likely to be as competitive as ever, as we examine all the key talking points from the weekend, and also take a look at what's to come in the matches ahead.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the story comment box, below, or Tweet me here.

Goal of the weekend: Ross McCormack, Leeds Utd v Sheffield Wednesday

In a tight contest and a match of few chances, McCormack's brilliant individual effort just before the hour mark helped rescue a point for Brian McDermott's side and preserve their unbeaten start to the season.

Picking up Luke Varney's chest-down, the Scot - a transfer target for Middlesbrough - created a chance out of nothing, rounding Kamil Zayatte before slotting the ball under Chris Kirkland.

Team of the weekend: (4-3-1-2) Scott Carson; Lewis Buxton, Kelvin Wilson, Elliott Ward, Liam Moore; Andrew Crofts, Henri Lansbury, Danny Drinkwater; Jem Karacan; Chris O'Grady, Diego Fabbrini.

Quote of the weekend: Eddie Howe

The Bournemouth boss was clearly delighted after the Cherries' surprise 1-0 victory over Wigan, given the sides were two divisions apart just three months ago. Speaking after the win, a smiling Howe said: "It is a big scalp.

"To beat the FA Cup holders at full strength cannot be underestimated. It is a great win even though they were reduced to 10 men."

Player of the weekend: Diego Fabbrini, Watford

Brought off the bench as a 58th-minute substitute, the forward helped the Hornets recover from 3-1 down to salvage a point at Reading in a 3-3 draw. The Italian striker - one of seven players to arrive at Vicarage Road from Udinese over the summer - first won a penalty, which Troy Deeney converted, before then using his power and determination to force home a late equaliser.

Gaffe of the weekend: Sam Johnstone, Yeovil

It's always harsh punishing goalkeepers, especially when you're just 20 years of age and making your debut for your latest loan club. However, the Glovers stopper - on loan from Manchester United - will know himself he should have done better when he allowed Keith Treacy's cross-cum-shot from the left to drift under his crossbar and into the net, to help Burnley on their way to a 2-0 win.

The England Under-20 keeper will no doubt go on to have better days in the game, but this was certainly a moment to forget in his fledgling career.

Game of the weekend: Reading 3 Watford 3

Much was expected of this one, and to be fair it did not disappoint.

Nigel Adkins' side will be particularly disappointed to blow both a 1-0 and 3-1 lead against a likely promotion rival, but it's a draw both managers can take satisfaction from as it preserves both sides' unbeaten starts to the Championship campaign.

Result of the weekend: Nottingham Forest 3 Bolton 0

I expected a far tighter contest at the City Ground, but Billy Davies' side certainly laid down a marker for the season with a stunning performance that simply steamrollered Dougie Freedman's side.

Jamie Mackie set the ball rolling after just two minutes and further strikes from Andy Reid and Henri Lansbury maintained the division's only 100% record.

Disappointment of the weekend: Ipswich Town

Mick McCarthy must have thought his side were set to pinch a point from their tough assignment at Loftus Road, until young QPR striker Tom Hitchcock stepped off the bench to net a last-gasp winner.

Having seen QPR go close twice by hitting the woodwork, McCarthy must've thought the Tractor Boys had gotten away with it - and I'm sure they would had it not been for that pesky kid!

Celebration of the weekend:

Not so much the weekend, but anyone who witnessed Leon Barnett's shirt-ripping exploits after netting an equaliser against Doncaster in their clash on Tuesday night (yes, Doncaster) will have had a little chuckle. I wonder how long it will be before FIFA urge referees to dish out bookings for ripping their replica kits when celebrating goals!?

Hot topic of the weekend: Callum McManaman's red card

The fiery Liverpudlian has had brushes with officials before and his tackle last season on Newcastle's Massadio Haidara drew a two-review by the FA over retrospective punishment.

So when his two-footed lunge at Bournemouth's Brett Pittman resulted in a straight red card, just three minutes after his introduction as a second-half substitute, there were few raised eyebrows.

However, on closer inspection, McManaman might consider himself unlucky given that he won the ball cleanly before catching Pittman.

It's that old debate about intention, and Owen Coyle was certain in his belief that Pittman and his Bournemouth team-mates had played their part in McManaman's dismissal by their reaction to the challenge.

What's to come...

Live on Sky: Bolton v QPR (Sky Sports 1, Saturday 12.15pm kick-off); Nottingham Forest v Watford (Sky Sports 1, Sunday 1.15pm kick-off).

Match of the weekend: Watford v Nottingham Forest

The division's best sides so far go head to head at Vicarage Road - and it's live on Sky. It's too early in any way to call this a six-pointer, but the winner will certainly take confidence in the weeks ahead.

Betting tip of the weekend: Doncaster (3/1) to win at Charlton

Doncaster were unlucky not to beat Wigan in midweek and travel to a Charlton side with just one point to their name so far and really lacking in confidence.

By James Marshment, follow me on Twitter here.

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