Liverpool, Derby, Bury and Barnet
Premier League ~ Suárez at home at Carrow Road
Liverpool got their first league win under Brendan Rodgers as they beat Norwich City 5-2. Luis Suárez drew the plaudits by scoring a hat-trick, his second in a row at Carrow Road. The last one came in April and between those games the Uruguayan has only scored three others for Liverpool. The result has moved Liverpool up to 14th place. Norwich, who fear a difficult second season in the Premier League under new manager Chris Hughton, occupy the final relegation spot.
Rodgers was pleased with Suárez’s performance but upset about another refereeing decision going against his striker: "His goals here were incredible last year and this was another masterclass in finishing apart from the one-on-one chance," he said. "Today the young guy Barnett elbowed Suárez in the head and gave him a wee nudge just to make sure, but the referee still didn't give it. If Luis is a player who goes down too easily he would have done so in the second half when a defender caught him just before the fourth goal. Maybe one day we will get the decision. Until that point we just continue to concentrate on our performance."
Championship ~ Derby win the derby at Forest
Derby County won their second game in succession at the City Ground as they beat Nottingham Forest 1-0. The Rams got the better of their East Midlands rivals thanks to a second-half goal from Craig Bryson but the controversy came from Dexter Blackstock’s sending-off when the Forest striker was dismissed for an elbow on Richard Keogh just after half-time. It is the fourth sending-off in as many matches between the two sides and dominated Forest manager Sean O’Driscoll’s post-match interview.
"You can see why he gave it," he said, "but in the context of the game I just think it's a harsh one, very harsh." He added: "I thought [the referee] took everybody by surprise. I don't think there was a great deal of shouts from the Derby players or even our players. We were in stunned silence. We'll have to look at it – see if we can get it rescinded."
League One ~ Blackwell pleased with Bury point
A late goal from Mark Cullen secured Bury a point at Stevenage in Kevin Blackwell’s first game in charge. The former Sheffield United and Leeds United manager took over at Gigg Lane following the dismissal of Richie Barker. Bury, who are bottom of the division and yet to win this season, faced an unbeaten Stevenage team. Blackwell’s side got themselves 1-0 up in the first half but two goals in three minutes after half-time put Stevenage ahead. It stayed that way until the 85th minute when Cullen tapped home from close range.
Blackwell praised the performance of his new team: “I’m pleased for the players because over the last two days they’ve worked really hard,” said the Bury boss at the final whistle. “They want it, and they’ve shown today that they can have it if they want it. They’ve got to work hard, and they did that today. I thought at times they showed they were smart and at times they showed they were naive, so plenty to work on.”
League Two ~ Bees upbeat despite defeat
Barnet remain bottom of League Two with just two points after losing 2-1 at Fleetwood Town. Mark Robson’s team took an early lead at the promotion contenders thanks to a Jake Hyde goal but their keeper, Graham Stack, was sent off on 26 minutes. Fleetwood scored the resulting penalty and went on to win the game with a Tom Barkhuizen header in the 78th minute. Barnet are now five points adrift from safety, their only points of the season coming from home draws with Rotherham and Bristol Rovers.
Robson remained positive about the match: “We started well and got the goal and I felt it was going to be out day. Of course, going down to ten men is tough to take. But I’ve said to the players that we have to take the performance as a positive. It was a great battling display; we kept them at bay for a long time but have unfortunately conceded. They are disappointed to lose a game which we thought at the start that we could win.”
Conference ~ Forest Green rise to the top
Two goals from Matt Taylor and one from Magno Vieira secured Forest Green Rovers a 3-0 victory over Lincoln City on Friday night. The result moves them to the top of the Conference as Newport could only draw 0-0 with Grimsby on Saturday. The result was Rovers’ third win in a row and Taylor has now taken his goal tally for the season to six. Lincoln have had a difficult start to the season but had picked up two wins in their previous three games.
Imps manager David Holdsworth said: "It's been a long day and a tough night in the context of the match and one we've got to put to bed quickly. We played against a very good side and I have to give credit to the opposition. We were in the game at half-time, they'd only had one shot. They had a lot of possession in front of us in the first half but didn't really hurt us, but the second goal was the one that really killed the game off. We've gone up against accomplished players but as long as our young players continue to learn, that's the main thing. Many teams have already lost to Forest Green but when you're down on numbers that plays a relatively big part." Tom Hocking