Grigg back on fire as goal droughts end – five things from the EFL

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Will Grigg has scored 10 goals for Wigan Athletic this season

‘Tis the season to be jolly and that’s certainly the case if you’re a Wigan fan.

And while Rudolph may have a Red Nose, Oxford United’s players will celebrate Christmas with red faces after a fan favourite made it a day to forget against the Latics.

It has been quite a day in the EFL, with Wolves and Luton – like Wigan – cementing their places on top of the table, while clubs at the bottom were left to ponder their chances of escaping the drop.

Elsewhere, goal droughts were ended, and a head coach was mistaken for a mascot – despite being splashed all over newspapers, websites and TV like Yuletide aftershave just a few days ago.

BBC Sport brings you five things you may have missed from all of Saturday’s action.

Will Grigg’s on fire (again)

It’s fair to say it was a bad day at the office for Oxford United, who were thrashed 7-0 at home by League One high-flyers Wigan Athletic.

The Latics had a certain Will Grigg to thank in large measure as he scored a hat-trick to help them maintain their four-point cushion on second-placed Shrewsbury Town.

He has now scored seven goals in his past six games – and the victory was also Wigan Athletic’s best-ever score in the EFL. Quite the Christmas present if you’re a Wigan fan.

“You must respect the opposition. Everything’s gone really well for us today. It was great for us, we looked really strong, we looked a really good team,” manager Paul Cook told BBC Radio Manchester.

“As managers and players, we’ve all been on the opposite end of this so we have to be respectful to Oxford and I am sure they will bounce back very strongly.

“Our players deserve all the plaudits. There’s a long way to go but they deserve a massive pat on the back.”

Christmas at the wrong end of the table

Birmingham City have been defeated in seven of the 12 games that Steve Cotterill has been in charge of

Forest Green Rovers fans, try not to worry too much about your team’s prospects as we enter the second half of the season.

The chances of your team retaining their League Two status are actually rather good, despite a 1-0 defeat by Carlisle United leaving the club bottom of the table.

In the past seven seasons, the club who were bottom of the EFL on Christmas Day have survived six times while only Dagenham & Redbridge in 2015-16 went on to be relegated to the National League.

In League One, Bury fans might have a bit more to worry about. Since three points for a win was introduced in 1981-82, only 11 out of 36 teams who were bottom at Christmas survived.

Spare a thought for Birmingham City supporters, however. The odds of the side bottom of the Championship at Christmas staying up come the end of the season are pretty slim.

Only one team – Doncaster Rovers in 2008-09 – have staged a great New Year escape in the past 18 seasons.

It’s not much better if you’re second from bottom, either. Only Grimsby Town in 2001-02 have stayed up in 19 seasons, having been in 23rd at on 25 December.

Time for Bolton Wanderers to buck the trend? An impressive 2-0 home win against promotion-chasing Cardiff City would suggest as much.

Ending the away goal drought

Shaun Derry’s Cambridge United are 16th in the League Two table

It was a reversal of fortunes for Cambridge United on their travels as they faced Notts County at Meadow Lane having failed to score in seven previous away games.

That unwanted record stretched back to a 2-1 defeat away at Mansfield Town back in September.

But Uche Ikpeazu broke the deadlock against Notts with their first away league goal in exactly three months and over 700 minutes.

During that time they had conceded 13 goals without reply but there was more to come from Shaun Derry’s side on his return to his hometown of Nottingham.

Jevani Brown scored twice for the visitors, but Notts sealed a late point in a dramatic 3-3 draw, courtesy of Jonathan Forte.

Hopefully, the result will be enough to ease the pressure on Derry, who will remain in charge of the team until ‘at least the New Year’ by club director Graham Daniels.

“For a large chunk of today, they really focused. Obviously it was a blow to concede in the manner that we did in those final minutes, but we would have taken a point (beforehand),” he told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

A rare appearance on the scoresheet

Tom Flanagan has made 66 appearances for Burton Albion

Burton Albion’s Tom Flanagan ended a personal goal drought in their 2-1 away win at Reading.

His 40th-minute strike for the Brewers was his first since October 2012 – he had gone 91 league games and over 100 in all competitions without scoring.

It was only the sixth goal the defender has scored in his career but made all the more sweeter as it helped his side to a vital three points.

But who did his last goal come against? Funnily enough, it was against Burton Albion in 2012-13 when he was on the scoresheet in Gillingham’s 4-1 win against the Brewers.

‘Maybe he thought I was the mascot’

Bristol City’s Lee Johnson has had a pretty good week as it happens. His side beat Manchester United on Wednesday to reach the EFL Cup semi-finals.

However, nothing will bring a football boss down to earth quite like being told to move by a steward – because he was blocking his view.

“It was just funny. Maybe he thought I was the mascot or something. I know I’m little,” head coach Johnson told BBC Radio Bristol

“The steward told me he couldn’t see the game so I had to sit down in the technical area.”



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