September started with another defeat, this time at the hands of Chelsea. We were actually on top for the first twenty minutes but captain Simon Cook conceded a penalty to undo the good work. In the second half we fell further behind courtesy of another set-piece, this time a free-kick from Willian. Losing our discipline had cost us and Chelsea added a late third to make the score even more emphatic. Then came the moment that we’d been waiting for…
We were the better side at home to Leicester City but were indebted to our goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. The Bosnian shot-stopper made an excellent save when the score was still 0-0. Shortly before half-time £21.8m signing Moses Simon rid himself of the demons of his difficult debut on the opening day, brushed aside his frustration at been substituted at half-time against Chelsea and put us on course for our first win of the campaign. The Nigerian cut in from the left and unleashed an excellent right-footed strike into the top corner. In the second half we kept The Foxes at bay with Jorge Mere (Brought into the side at the expense of the struggling Ake) resolute alongside Cook and co. It was a crucial and fully deserved three points and a result that lifted a heavy weight from our buckling shoulders.
Having tasted success for the first time we were hungry for more and so filled our stomachs at Burnley. Josh King rounded off a superb team move to provide us with a deserved first half lead at Turf Moor. The Norwegian then tucked away a second half penalty after Simon had been tripped to make it back-to-back wins and lift us out of the relegation zone.
In our next match against Crystal Palace in-form Simon got on the end of an excellent cross from Jordon Ibe to volley home with his left boot after just five minutes. The £21.8m signing from Levante was really starting to make an impact in the Premier League after a difficult start. We looked on course to make it a hat-trick of wins but Lewis Cook was caught in possession which led to the conceding of a second half equaliser. Still, three games unbeaten was much improved from our sluggish start.
We then went in search of revenge for our cup exit against Watford and looked set to achieve it courtesy of a King penalty. However, after Dan Gosling missed a great chance when played through with only goalkeeper Ben Foster to beat, Watford equalised in injury time following a goal mouth scramble.
Next up it was a tasty south coast derby against bitter rivals Southampton. Unfortunately Moses Simon’s good run came to an end when he blazed over the bar from just inches out following excellent work from Dominic Solanke. It was almost a carbon copy of Simon’s opening day howler and looked set to be costly. Having conceded a late goal in our previous match however, this time it would be our turn to score late (88mins) courtesy of the aforementioned Solanke. Restored to the starting XI at the expense of goal shy big money signing Giovanni Simeone, Solanke hit the back of the net with conviction following a strong spell of possession. Our third win of the season meant that we were back to winning ways, unbeaten in five matches and had ascended to 13th in the table.
Having rediscovered how to win we fell behind for the first time in over a month at Fulham. Fortunately top scorer King equalised after excellent work from David Brooks. The goal took King’s tally to four for the season and our unbeaten streak up to six matches having lost our first four. As we entered November we’d climbed into the top ten with Manchester United up next.