Good morning and happy monday hoddlers.
What a whirlwind these last few days have been, eh? Two clutch performances from Spurs, an FA Cup final, a huge Lukas Fabianski penalty and your hoddler-in-chief’s Phoenix Suns are currently down by 40 (!!!) to Dallas. So much has happened that you’d be forgiven if you forget the first legs of the EFL Championship playoff semifinals took place over the weekend.
Let’s take a look at where these Premier League hopefuls stand:
Luton Town 1 - 1 Huddersfield Town
A draw was a fair result for the first leg of this semifinal. Luton Town outshot Huddersfield 12-9 (3-2 on target) and possession slightly favoured the Terriers. XG favoured Huddersfield 1.40 to 1.01.
Danel Sinani opened the scoring for Huddersfield Town in the 12th minute, which probably should have been saved by emergency keeper Matt Ingram at the near post. But a stumble from the Luton Town defender completed opened up the path for Sinani, giving him far too much time to slot it home.
A lovely free kick from Kal Naismith in the 30th minute set up an easy volley for Sonny Bradley in the 30th minute. When a ball is delivered like that inside the 6-yard line, the keeper has no chance!
These teams clash again as soon as Monday at the John Smith’s Stadium. Luton Town were not a great away side this season: 9-5-9 with a -7 Goal Differential. These teams played not long ago in Huddersfield, with two second-half goals from the Terriers being the difference.
Sheffield United 1 - 2 Nottingham Forest
Wow, what a performance from Forest! And what horrid defending from Sheffield! The opening goal of this leg also was decided by a slip. A cross from Forest in the 10th minute looked routine enough to save, until Ben Osborn slipped right in front of goal. Sheffield keeper Wes Foderingham did enough to save a close-range effort from Philip Zinckernagel but was helpless to stop the follow-up from Jack Colback.
Another mistake from Sheffield led to Forest’s second goal of the day, with Brennan Johnson capitalising on a move that began with John Egan losing the ball in possession. Sheffield’s Sander Berge scored a crucial goal in stoppage time to make things interesting.
The return leg at Nottingham Forest is on Tuesday. The Reds are unbeaten in their last seven EFL Championship matches at home.
Fitzie’s track of the day: Sweet Sucker Dance, by Joni Mitchell (music by Charles Mingus)
And now for your links:
Chelsea retain Women’s FA Cup
The Guardian: Why free-kick vanishing spray is football’s great modern invention