Buidling Dreams Together


EFL weekly review: A remarkable deadline day and Sunderland scoring for fun

All the biggest moments from the fifth week of EFL football

In a week where teams in European tournaments discovered their groups, 12 Premier League sides joined the EFL Carabao Cup action, and the Championship played its last round of fixtures before the international break.

Transfer deadline day

Deadline day saw another rush of clubs scrambling to complete their squads in preparation for the next four months.

While the elite premier league clubs spent upwards of £50 million on new signings, the majority of deals completed in the EFL were loans. But, that’s not to say there weren’t any hair raising figures thrown around.

From Sunderland to Southampton, Ross Stewart’s move for a reported £10 million saw him become one of the most expensive transfers in the championship this summer.

Stewart’s last season was one of marred by injuries, despite brilliant performances during periods of fitness. With ten goals and three assists in just 13 matches, the Scottish international quickly adapted to higher level football.

Looking at how successful his 22/23 season could have been, it’s understandable why Southampton are spending big on him. However, with two serious injuries in less than 12 months, whether Stewart will be able to replicate such form remains to be seen.

New £10 million man Ross Stewart (credit: Southampton)

One of the most interesting topics of the transfer window was where Tom Cannon would find himself.

The 20 year old joined a Preston North End side struggling in front of goal in January and ended the season as their second highest scorer with eight goals in 17 appearances. Cannon had been expected to re-join Preston this season, but manager Ryan Lowe later explained that Everton “moved the goalposts” and Cannon was to be sold instead.

After interest from several clubs, Cannon moved to the East Midlands on deadline day, to join Leicester City. Despite retaining Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and Patson Daka, the 20 year old will be seen as a long term asset – particularly with the two former having less than 12 months left on their contracts.

Whatever the case, Cannon certainly adds a bright spark to an otherwise average transfer window.

In the third tier, one permanent deal stands out – Jacob Wakeling.

Wakeling joins Peterborough United after struggling for minutes in a free scoring Swindon Town side, despite his 14 goal contributions in 45 matches. At the age of just 21, Wakeling has serious potential to improve and, given their track record of turning strikers into prolific goals scorers – like Craig Mackail-Smith, Ivan Toney and Johnson Clarke-Harris, Wakeling could be a key asset in Posh’s future.

Giant killings in the cup

The second round of the Carabao Cup saw any Premier League sides not participating in Europe enter the fray.

One Premier League Side fell to the sword of an EFL club during the week. Lincoln City, famously remembered for becoming the first non-league to reach the FA Cup sixth-round in over 100 years, defeated their second Premier League in eight seasons on Wednesday night. Their 3-2 victory on penalties against Sheffield United will see them host UEFA Conference League champions West Ham United in round three.

However, this might not have been the biggest shock of the round.

Salford City achieved their best ever performance in the cup thanks to a dramatic 9-8 victory over Leeds United on penalties. After an agonisingly long shootout consisting of 20 penalties, Salford ran out winners and will host another Premier League side in Burnley next.

Wimbledon and Doncaster Rovers also both deserve credit for pushing their Premier League opponents – Chelsea and Everton, respectively – and nearly creating even greater giant killings after taking early leads on Wednesday night.

Sunderland hit Southampton for five

Sunderland hosted Southampton in front of Sky Sports cameras on Saturday lunchtime, in a game that had expected to be a close affair.

Instead, Sunderland ran riot at the Stadium of Light, putting five past the Saints. It took just 52 seconds for Jack Clarke to open the scoring, thanks to a stunning ball from Trai Hume.

Shortly after, a long shot from Pierre Ekwah took a fortunate deflection and doubled Sunderland’s lead. The finish was the 21 year old’s first senior goal, and it didn’t take long for him to score his second. On the stroke of half time, Ekwah scored a phenomenal solo goal, intercepting a poor ball from Sunderland’s back line, before beating two defenders and opening up an angle for a sublime finesse into the near post.

Sunderland fans celebrate their 5-0 win on Saturday (Credit: Southampton FC)

If Southampton manager Russell Martin was hoping for a comeback in the second half, Bradley Dack’s goal in the 48th minute dashed any optimism for the visitors.

Southampton’s defence was practically asleep during the attack. Gavin Bazunu did well to keep Dack’s initial header out, but a lack of urgency from the back line saw the ball fall back to Dack, three yards from goal. The Black Cats only signing over 25 in the summer transfer window, Dack has brought a level of experience to the team both on and off the field as his performance showed.

With less than 20 seconds remaining in the game, 16 year old Chris Rigg scored his first league goal for his boyhood club, after making history as the youngest ever EFL Cup goal scorer last month.

With the away end practically empty, the final whistle put an end to an embarrassing defeat for Southampton – leaving the fans with a 300 mile journey back to the South Coast, while Tony Mowbray’s Sunderland continues to disprove the age old quote “You can’t win anything with kids”.

First blood in the sack race

League one managers Dean Holden and Scott Brown were the first to lose their managerial roles in the EFL this season.

Holden was relieved of duty on August 27th, a day after Charlton’s fifth consecutive loss in all competitions. This was despite a transfer window that was widely viewed to be one of the best in the EFL.

As a result, his position was deemed no longer tenable. In Holden’s place, academy coach and former captain Jason Pearce took control of the dressing room as a caretaker. In his debut match in senior management, Charlton came out victorious with a 2-1 victory against Fleetwood Town. 

Former Celtic Captain Scott Brown’s first managerial position came to end last weekend (Credit: Fleetwood Town)

While Pearce took charge of his first match for Charlton, Scott Brown would take charge of his last for Fleetwood. After picking up a single point on opening day, Fleetwood had lost their previous five league matches and in the Carabao Cup first round.

Sitting 23rd in the League and desperate to avoid a similar season to 2021/22, Brown was let go after 64 matches in charge of the Cods. Fortunately, the club have been afforded two weeks until their next league game due to international call ups and can make careful considerations towards their next appointment.