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Summary

  1. Ched Evans scores for Chesterfield
  2. Ward nets hat-trick on Ipswich debut
  3. Rotherham held by 10-man Wolves
  4. Norwich win 4-1 at Blackburn

Live Reporting

By Phil Cartwright

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Blackburn Rovers fans
Rex Features

And that's your lot. Thank you for joining me today for almost seven hours of build-up, action and reaction on the opening day of the 2016-17 EFL season.

You can find reports of every match on the BBC Sport website, and we'll be back with live text commentary of tomorrow's two Championship matches from 11:45 BST.

Until then, I've heard some event called the Olympics has just started? In Rio, I think. So maybe follow that for a while?

'The gloom at Villa Park has gone'

Mark Regan

BBC WM

Ross McCormack
Getty Images

Following a cataclysmic season, this summer has been a remarkable one for Villa. In a few short weeks, the stagnation and gloom has gone. The new owner, new manager and some new players have restored hope.

They have added a £12m striker in Ross McCormack, along with a new centre-half, goalkeeper and central midfielder - so the spine of the team is revamped.

The new signings - along with the retention of Jordan Ayew, the potential of Jack Grealish and the emergence of young players like Gary Gardner and Andre Green - should give Villa more than enough to compete for promotion. The one thing they need is confidence.

Will Wednesday challenge again?

Jonathan Buchan

BBC Radio Sheffield

Last season's beaten play-off finalists Sheffield Wednesday have managed to bring in some key additions since missing out on a return to the top flight back in May and expectations remain high.

Scotland international striker Steven Fletcher moved to Hillsborough on a free transfer and has started a number of pre-season games alongside Gary Hooper, who scored 13 times for the Owls after joining them last December.

Watford duo Daniel Pudil, who was on loan last term, and Almen Abdi have both arrived, while Sunderland winger Will Buckley has joined on a season-long loan on the eve of the new campaign.

Villa aiming to bounce back

Sunday: Sheffield Wednesday v Aston Villa (16:30 BST)

Roberto Di Matteo
Rex Features

The second tier is very unfamiliar territory for Aston Villa, who are outside the top flight for the first time since 1987-88.

Villa have appointed a former Champions League winner as their manager - can Roberto Di Matteo guide them back into the Premier League at the first attempt?

They have been given a tough start, away at last season's beaten play-off finalists Sheffield Wednesday.

A look ahead to Sunday's games

Sunday: QPR v Leeds (12:00 BST)

Garry Monk
Rex Features

Garry Monk takes charge of Leeds United for the first time at QPR tomorrow, in the first match of Sunday's Championship double-header.

The former Swansea boss is the latest person to be handed the task of trying to end Leeds' absence from the Premier League, which is about to enter its 13th season.

Monk is Leeds' seventh head coach since Massimo Cellino became the club's owner in 2014.

Your EFL performance of the day...

Grant Ward
Rex Features

Goes to Ipswich Town's hat-trick hero Grant Ward!

The 21-year-old enjoyed the sort of debut dreams are made of - coming off the bench to score with his first touch after 39 seconds, adding a second soon after and then completing his treble in the 84th minute.

Well played, Grant, you're our first award winner of the season. Not that there's actually a prize, you'll understand.

You can read more about Ipswich's 4-2 win over Barnsley by clicking here.

Get involved - #bbcefl

Reaction to Blackburn's horrow show at home

Matthew Vins: Blackburn giving Villa a run for their money as the graveyard of managers' careers. Owen Coyle the next to flounder into obscurity.

Blackburn suffered a disappointing 4-1 home defeat by Norwich in Owen Coyle's first game in charge, but surely it's too soon to write him off completely, Matthew?

Our vote has now closed

Vote: What is your EFL performance of the day?

Time's up, our vote has now closed! The numbers will be crunched and I'll bring you the result shortly...

'Our fans made me emotional'

FT: Rotherham 2-2 Wolves

Walter Zenga
Reuters

Wolves fell 2-0 behind early on at Rotherham, then had defender Dominic Iorfa sent off with the score at 2-1, but fought back to earn a point from Walter Zenga's first match in charge.

Wolves head coach Walter Zenga: "The team showed great spirit today, they never gave up. And this is only after five days of working together.

"I am a man of 56 years old, but the reaction I got from our fans today made me emotional. I want to thank them. Amazing."

A 'mixed bag' for Derby

FT: Derby 0-0 Brighton

Chris Hughton and Nigel Pearson
Getty Images

Derby and Brighton played out a goalless draw in former Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson's first game in charge of the Rams.

Derby manager Nigel Pearson tells BBC Radio Derby: "It's a bit of a mixed bag really, I think we could have played better.

"I thought the players worked exceptionally hard - we weren't at our best with the ball, we were very careless at times, but I was very pleased with how the players continued to work as a team.

"In some ways it's disappointing, but I think there's some very encouraging indicators of what I'm looking for in our side."

Burton 'unfortunate' in defeat

FT: Nottingham Forest 4-3 Burton Albion

Burton took a 2-1 first-half lead at Nottingham Forest, but eventually fell to a 4-3 defeat in the club's first game in the second tier of English football.

Burton Albion manager Nigel Clough tells BBC Radio Derby: "The players are hugely disappointed because they know we should have had something from the game today.

"To get three out of their four goals with deflections leading up to them is very unfortunate.

"We have to be better in the build-up to those goals and certainly the timings, just before and just after half-time. I thought the one we conceded just before half-time, we were lazy for a few minutes before."

Goosebumps for Montanier

FT: Nottingham Forest 4-3 Burton

Phillippe Montanier
Getty Images

Nottingham Forest held on for a 4-3 win over newly-promoted Burton in Philippe Montanier's first game in charge.

Nottingham Forest head coach Philippe Montanier tells BBC Radio Nottingham: "Even at the end it was very difficult for us because Burton are a very good team.

"If you forget the end of the match, we played a very good game.

"It was a good game with a young team. It's a good victory for Nottingham Forest and the fans were very good - they gave me goosebumps."

Saturday's headlines

Grimsby Town fan
Rex Features

If you're only just joining me, firstly where have you been? Secondly, here's what you've missed in the EFL:

  • Norwich went 3-0 up inside 25 minutes against Blackburn and went on to win 4-1 at Ewood Park.
  • Grant Ward came on as a second-half substitute and scored a hat-trick as Ipswich beat Barnsley 4-2.
  • Nottingham Forest edged past Championship newcomers Burton in a seven-goal thriller.
  • Ched Evans, on his first professional appearance since April 2012, scored Chesterfield's equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Oxford in League One.
  • Grimsby Town beat Morecambe 2-0 in their first match since winning promotion to League Two.

Get involved - #bbcefl

Matt Keeley: Alex Kiwomya for Crewe - came on after an hour and single-handedly won the game.

Another contender for performance of the day? Kiwomya set up the first goal for Ryan Lowe and scored the second as Crewe won 2-1 at Stevenage in League Two.

Vote: What is your EFL performance of the day?

Luton Town celebrate
Rex Features

There's still time to take part in our vote. Your options are as follows:

  • Ten-man Wolves' comeback at Rotherham
  • Norwich's 4-1 victory at Blackburn
  • Grant Ward's debut hat-trick for Ipswich
  • Luton's 3-0 win at Plymouth
  • Grimsby's victory on their EFL return

You can find details of the vote on the right side of the page (desktop), or by clicking on the Vote tab at the top of the page (mobile and tablet). There, you can also find a link to our voting terms and conditions.

You have until 18:15 BST to register your vote, and we'll give you the results before we close up for the day.

'Norwich are a huge contender'

FT: Blackburn 1-4 Norwich

Blackburn Rovers manager Owen Coyle tells BBC Radio Lancashire: "To be fair, although we do need to be better, that's probably as a good a performance as you'll see from anybody in the Championship this season - everything Norwich tried came off.

"I've said it before, but Norwich are going to be a huge contender to win this league. They're a very good side, the strength in depth they've got... They've just got wonderful players at their disposal."

'We cannot perform at that level'

FT: Blackburn 1-4 Norwich

Steven Naismith
Rex Features

Blackburn Rovers manager Owen Coyle tells BBC Radio Lancashire: "I thought the first 10 minutes we actually started quite well. But then their first attempt at goal, the boy has scored a wondergoal.

"Then I felt for 10 minutes we were rabbits in the headlights and we got punished.

"I thought we showed a bit of character in the second half, but moving forward we cannot perform at that level.

"When all said and done, as the manager I take full responsibility. Nobody's running and hiding - whatever criticism comes our way we'll take on the chin, because we need to be better."

'Our feet won't come off the ground'

FT: Blackburn 1-4 Norwich

Norwich beat Blackburn 4-1 at Ewood Park in their first game since being relegated from the Premier League, giving Owen Coyle a miserable first game in charge of Rovers.

Norwich manager Alex Neil: "We started the game really well. The boys attacked the game in the manner that I thought they would.

"The message at half-time was to be professional and the fourth goal was great. We're just focused on doing our job.

"We're very pleased but our feet won't come off the ground too much. We're already thinking about next week."

I'm informed that it's the first time since 2002 that Norwich have won their opening game of a season. Some way to break that run.

Reaction from Coyle coming next...

Get involved - #bbcefl

Sam: Very poor from Blackburn today. Terrible defensive organisation. This needs rapid improvement to avoid a potential relegation battle.

Ben Whitaker: Glad I'm not at Ewood today. Sounds like a shocker from Blackburn. Had so much hope with Coyle...

Harry Winter: Three points on opening weekend is as vital as a clutch three points on be final weekend. Newcastle better hope this doesn't cost them.

Send me your thoughts on your club's opening game using #bbcefl on Twitter.

'Nothing won or lost on first day'

FT: Reading 1-0 Preston

Reading won their first game under new boss Jaap Stam, John Swift's first-half goal giving the Royals victory over Preston.

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson: "It's a disappointing day but nothing is ever won or lost on the first game and we will learn from it.

"We will dust ourselves down and get ready for Tuesday and try to get the first win as soon as possible."

'The place was rocking'

FT: Bristol City 2-1 Wigan

Bobby Reid
Rex Features

Bristol City came from 2-1 behind to beat Championship new boys Wigan Athletic, with Bobby Reid netting a last-gasp winner.

Bristol City head coach Lee Johnson: "The boys were fantastic and it was like the Alamo at times in the second half. It was too much for them in the end.

"The place was rocking. It was a brilliant day."

Vote: What is your EFL performance of the day?

Time to vote for your performance of the day. Your options are as follows:

  • Ten-man Wolves' comeback at Rotherham
  • Norwich's 4-1 victory at Blackburn
  • Grant Ward's debut hat-trick for Ipswich
  • Luton's 3-0 win at Plymouth
  • Grimsby's victory on their EFL return

You can find details of the vote on the right side of the page (desktop), or by clicking on the Vote tab at the top of the page (mobile and tablet).

You have until 18:15 BST to register your vote, and I'll give you the results shortly after that.

Click here for our terms and conditions.

More reaction to today's EFL games to come, but first...

'Evans' finishing will improve'

FT: Oxford 1-1 Chesterfield

Ched Evans
Rex Features

Ched Evans scored Chesterfield's equaliser at Oxford in League One.

It was the Welshman's first professional appearance since April 2012 - he served half of a five-year jail sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman, a conviction which was quashed by the Court of Appeal earlier this year.

Chesterfield boss Danny Wilson: "I was happy with the debutants and I think all the players made positive contributions.

"Evans always makes sure he gets chances - he missed two before the goal that he'll score by mid-season."

Listen live

Owen Coyle
Rex Features

If you click on the audio icon at the top of the page, you can listen to the post-match sports show on BBC Radio Lancashire.

All being well, there should be reaction from new Blackburn boss Owen Coyle, whose side lost 4-1 at home to Norwich in their Championship opener today.

Get involved - #bbcefl

So what did you make of that then?

Norwich fans - is that win at Blackburn proof that you're among the favourites for promotion from the Championship?

Blackburn supporters - how do you recover from a 4-1 home defeat in your opening game?

Whether you're congratulating or commiserating, get in touch with your thoughts on your team using #bbcefl on Twitter.

Luton hammer Plymouth in League Two

Plymouth reached the League Two play-off final last season, but there's much work to be done if they're to hit similar heights this campaign - they suffered a 3-0 home defeat by Luton.

Grimsby beat Morecambe 2-0 on their return to the EFL after a six-year absence, while relegated Blackpool managed the same result against Exeter.

The best action in the fourth tier was at the Wham Stadium, where Sean McConville's injury-time goal earned hosts Accrington a 3-2 victory against Doncaster Rovers.

Millwall top of League One

Millwall's 3-0 win over Oldham means they go top of the League One table after the first round of fixtures.

Peterborough fell behind twice at Rochdale, but Gwion Edwards' late header gave Posh all three points.

Elsewhere, Charlton suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat by Bury, Bolton beat Sheffield United and Ched Evans earned Chesterfield a point at Oxford United in his first competitive game since April 2012.

Full-time

Norwich Blackburn
Getty Images

Here are the headlines from the first Saturday of the 2016-17 season...

  • Norwich thrash Blackburn 4-1 on their return to the Championship.
  • Grant Ward scores a second-half hat-trick as Ipswich beat Barnsley 4-2.
  • Nottingham Forest striker Britt Assombalonga nets twice in a 4-3 win over Burton.
  • In his first appearance for more than four years, Ched Evans scores for Chesterfield in their draw at Oxford.
  • League Two newcomers Cheltenham draw with Leyton Orient, while Grimsby beat Morecambe.

GOAL: Nottingham Forest 4-3 Burton

Tom Naylor

Hope for Burton? Substitute Tom Naylor heads in, and the Brewers trail Nottingham Forest 4-3 at the City Ground. Into stoppage time there.

Final whistles are starting to blow. Any more late drama to come?

Bristol City 2-1 Wigan

Bristol City's dominance finally counts as Bobby Reid puts the hosts ahead at Ashton Gate.

Heartbreak for Wigan.

Evans' afternoon at an end

Oxford 1-1 Chesterfield

Ched Evans' afternoon comes to an early end as he's substituted for Kristian Dennis.

It's been a bit hit-and-miss from the Welshman, who missed a host of chances before finally finding the net with a free-kick.

GOAL: Ipswich 4-2 Barnsley

Grant Ward hat-trick

Grant Ward
Rex Features

Our first hat-trick in the EFL this season goes to Ipswich debutant and half-time substitute Grant Ward.

He drills in from the edge of the box to complete a dream first appearance for the Tractor Boys.

Williams atones for penalty miss

Accrington 2-2 Doncaster

He missed the chance to score the first goal of the day from the spot earlier, but Andy Williams makes amends by equalising for Doncaster at Accrington.

In League One, Scunthorpe have fought back from a goal down and now lead Bristol Rovers 2-1, while Bury are 2-0 in front of Charlton thanks to Kelvin Etuhu's late goal.

GOAL: Nottingham Forest 4-2 Burton

Britt Assombalonga

Britt Assombalonga has his second of the game against Burton and Nottingham Forest are heading for victory at the City Ground.

Are Wigan going to be denied at Ashton Gate? Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham has levelled for Bristol City against last season's League One champions.

Assombalonga's second goal
Rex Features

Huddersfield 2-1 Brentford

Parity didn't last long at Huddersfield - another debutant, Kasey Palmer, has restored the Terriers' lead against Brentford.

Alex Pritchard is on for his Norwich debut at Blackburn, with the Canaries strolling towards a 4-1 win.

Palmer celebrates
PA

Ipswich 3-2 Barnsley

Goals galore at Portman Road as Marley Watkins heads Barnsley's second to reduce Ipswich's lead to 3-2. That game was 0-0 at half-time!

Elsewhere, Nico Yennaris has brought Brentford level at Huddersfield.

Evans scores for Chesterfield

Oxford United 1-1 Chesterfield

Ched Evans
Getty Images

He's missed chance after chance today, but Ched Evans finally has a goal on his return to professional football.

The Wales international striker bends a free-kick into the bottom corner of the Oxford goal from 25 yards out to draw Chesterfield level at Oxford United.

Mariners heading for victory

Grimsby 2-0 Morecambe