It took Roy Keane's Ipswich Town 14 Championship matches to register a win last season. This season's first three points took just 90 minutes after the Suffolk side put Middlesbrough's stature as favourites for promotion into focus with goals by Tommy Smith, Tamas Priskin and Jon Stead sealing a 3-1 away win. "Last year we never looked like scoring and that was our problem but today we took our goals well," Keane said.
Gordon Strachan's Boro had started well at the Riverside, Scott McDonald giving them the lead midway through the first half. A Priskin header hit the bar, but five minutes into the second half, increasingly confident Ipswich scored twice in as many minutes through Smith's deflected shot and a Priskin shot. Substitute Stead's right-foot shot wrapped it up with 13 minutes left.
"We can have no complaints," said Strachan. "The better side won."
London sides ran amok yesterday, Queen's Park Rangers and promoted Millwall scoring seven between them without reply. The Lions' 3-0 win at Steve Coppell's Bristol City, with England goalkeeper David James making his Robins debut, was the more impressive. Two goals in six minutes either side of half-time for Darren Ward and Danny Schofield put Kenny Jackett's team in charge, Paul Robinson added the third on the hour and though Darren Carter was sent off four minutes later the Lions comfortably held on. "We have an awful lot of work to do to be competitive in the Championship," Coppell admitted.
Meanwhile, QPR's Heidar Helguson, Jamie Mackie, man of the match Adel Taarabt and Fitz Hall all scored as Neil Warnock's men thrashed Barnsley 4-0. Praising Taarabt, Warnock said: "He thinks he should be playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona. I've told him that if he sticks with me he can get there. At the moment, they wouldn't touch him with a barge pole."
There were good away wins for Doncaster Rovers and Scunthorpe United. Two goals in a six-minute spell for James O'Connor (12 minutes) and James Hayter (18) earned Rovers a 2-0 win at Preston North End despite having Simon Gillett sent off with 12 minutes to play.
The Iron, meanwhile, had a controversial goal by Garry Thompson allowed at the Madejski Stadium – Reading hesitated when the linesman flagged – and although Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised, a Rob Jones header saw them win 2-1. Admitting his side were favourites for relegation because of their resources, manager Nigel Adkins said that the club "just get young players, mould them into a cohesive unit and then play with a smile on our face".
Rochdale's first match at this level for 36 years ended in a goalless draw with Hartlepool United, while another promoted side, Bournemouth, lost 1-0 at Charlton Athletic, Akpo Sodje firing in from Kyel Reid's 22nd-minute cross. Jose Vitor Sememdo was sent off after 62 minutes but the Cherries couldn't capitalise. Tony Pilkington scored twice as Huddersfield Town won 3-1 at Notts County.
Charlie Griffin's emphatic shot a minute from the end saw Stevenage earn a 2-2 draw from their first ever league match, Macclesfield providing the opposition. Stevenage led after seven minutes through Peter Vicenti's diving header, trailed before the hour, but turned up the pressure to earn the point. Oxford United's return to the league also ended in a draw, 0-0 at Burton Albion. Chesterfield christened their new B2net ground with a 2-1 defeat of Barnet, Shrewsbury's Jake Robinson scored the season's first hat-trick in the 3-1 defeat of Bradford City and two of the relegated sides met at Roots Hall where Southend United drew 1-1 with Stockport County, Blair Sturrock's late equaliser for the Essex side watched by his father, and club manager Paul Sturrock from the stands, where he had been sent after a verbal tirade sparked by County's contentious goal.
Everton won't mind the result. They lost 2-0 to Steve McClaren's Wolfsburg in Germany but their Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta has signed a new five-year contract. He played for 76 minutes as Everton lost to goals by Mario Madzukic and Karim Ziani.
Robbie Keane scored another two pre-season goals as Tottenham Hotspur twice came from behind to beat Fiorentina 3-2. West Ham United ended their pre-season unbeaten after winning the Sbobet Cup 5-3 on penalties following a 0-0 draw with Deportivo La Coruna. Robert Green saved Juan Carlos Veron's penalty and a spot kick by the Hammers' Mexican international Pablo Barrera sealed the win.
Mark Hughes hasn't been in charge long at Fulham but yesterday's 5-1 thrashing of Werder Bremen gave him an update on his side's preparedness for the season. Also watching was Sir Alex Ferguson, probably running the rule over German international Mesut Ozil, a mooted transfer target.
Arsenal were involved in an 11-goal thriller against Legia Warsaw, showing attacking flair and defensive frailty in an extraorinary 6-5 win. Goals from Marouane Chamakh, Emmanuel Eboué (2), England new boy Keiran Gibbs, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Samir Nasri edged it for Arsenal.