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Brentford 2-1 Notts County

Joe Jones

A very similar story to other games this season saw Notts County start well, struggle midway through, then get back into the game just a bit too late to leave Griffin Park with no points. The manner in which the losing goal was conceded, however, was a first, as an error from Bartosz Bialkowski gifted the Bees the lead, before being replaced by Notts legend Kevin Pilkington at half time because of injury. Chris Kiwomya, in his first match as permanent first team manager, picked a 4-5-1 tactical formation.

Yoann Arquin replaced Enoch Showunmi up front to play the Bees, who began the game in fourth place and enjoying a 8-game unbeaten run at home, including against Chelsea.

Notts started the game brightly, a chance by Andre Boucaud going over as a Brentford defensive header fell to him. On six minutes, Bradley Wright-Phillips fired a dangerous shot which ricocheted against the post and was cleared by the Notts backline. A good chance, it proved just the spark to kick start the Bees fans' singing and chanting.

On eight minutes, A cross by Jake Bidwell fell towards Tom Adeyemi, who headed over. Two minutes later, Clayton Donaldson, the Brentford striker, saw his ball whizz towards goal.

Shortly afterwards, Toumani Diagouraga and Jonathan Douglas got shots from the edge of the box, Notts players throwing themselves at those balls to thwart the players.

On twenty minutes, disaster struck as Bialkowski, one of Notts' best and most consistent performers, made a howler to gift Brentford the lead, as Diagouraga fired a weak sidefoot shot which trickled past the keeper.

It proved to be all Brentford once they withstood the early Notts barrage, and after a wayward Alan Judge shot from distance, Brentford threatened again, Shaleum Logan and Sam Saunders causing havoc in the Notts half. Sheehan then fired wide around the 30 min mark.

By the 35th minute, Brentford had taken their fourth corner, a high ball into the box, but that came to nothing. Donaldson, BWP and Douglas kept pushing forward and harassing the County back line, getting speculative shots and headers in.

Notts managed to break into the Brentford half every so often, Jamal Campbell-Ryce getting a decent cross in which the keeper parried away.

In an amazing twist, Bart was subbed off at half-time because of injury, and with Fabian Speiss not in the team for the same reason, Kevin Pilkington came on for his 150th Notts appearance.

Notts began the second half much in the same way as in the first half, with zest and vigour, and got some early chances in. Judge, one of our outstanding players in the first half, sent a great ball to Arquin, but his shot was flaccid and didn't trouble the keeper.

The Magpies came into the game more, and played some good possession football - save by a slip by Judge which Boucaud helped clear - but the pendulum would swing both ways, and before long, Brentford were bombing forward. In the 55th minute, the threatening Logan was superbly tackled by Jeff Hughes.

By the sixty minute mark, Brentford had settled into their groove again, and the likes of Douglas and Wright-Phillips had several more chances.

In the 62nd minute, the formation was changed to 4-4-2 as Showunmi came on for Hughes, in a bid to provide more firepower.

Pilkington, on 63, thwarted 17-goal dangerman Donaldson, his legs keeping the score to 1-0. Even Colin Slater couldn't hide his nostalgic pride at commentating on that piece of action.

In rapid succession, Brentford got three more corners to add to their tally, cranking the pressure up on the beleaguered Magpies. In contrast, Notts were on zero at that stage.

BWP put the apparent final nail in the Notts coffin as his shot beat Pilkington and bounced off the woodwork. Nothing less than they deserved after withstanding the initial Notts pressure, in both halves, to maintain their stranglehold over Notts.

However, Notts got a chance to pull one back, as Judge was fouled in the box to win a penalty just a few minutes later. In the 73rd minute, JCR's penalty was saved, but Judge struck on the rebound to make it 2-1.

Two goals in just a few minutes took the temperature of the game to higher levels, with both teams upping their tempo.

The penalty taker for Notts was then substituted on 75 minutes in a bizarre exchange, as he made way for Zoko when it looked like Arquin was coming off. A brave substitution for Kiwomya saw three strikers up front, in a bid to push for an equaliser.

A spat between BWP and Gary Liddle on 77 was testament to the increased efforts by both teams, desperate in their respective attempts to restore the two-goal cushion and to equalise. Donaldson had another chance shortly after.

Finally, on 81 minutes, Notts finally got their first corner of the game, which very nearly went in from Showunmi's header, but was cleared off the line. Sadly the subsequent pinballing into the box came to nothing, as the big forward missed his second attempt.

Buoyed by their goal, Notts pushed forward, Judge firing an effort from thirty yards on 82 minutes.

Sadly, Brentford managed to hold on to their lead, Notts' spirited fightback proving too little too late. The game finished 2-1, Notts' faint glimmer of play-off hope surely extinguished for good this season, leaving them eight points away from the play-offs with five games to play.

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Time to let some more youths make their debuts, we should be pushing for this now. I didn't keep up with the game, in fact I had forgotten and I'm grateful to be able to read this. (a lot like our community is)

Doesn't seem like I missed much but I do wished I had listened to the game, now times to move into Monday.

Thanks as always Joe

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spot on Joe J! noticed your absence, like the other Joe's. Your writing is a good read!

it sounded like we played at the wrong times.


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Good write up again JJ,once again thanks.Feel sorry for Bart who has been your hero so often this season,especially after the worrying time he's had this week with his daughter.

   I agree with NottsJoe.,Now a top 6 place has virtually disappeared why not give the untried young players a chance.The experience gained will be beneficial next season and help CK  as he prepares for the next campaign.

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Brentford are a good side, resource to match and are not the same team we beat back in league two. I thought we would lose this game, it's only one goal. I don't understand some of the fans who are acting like we got picked apart, Bart was brave but unlucky and on a better day he wouldn't of made the mistake.
Good travelling support, very impressed myself. Nice match report!

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Pride of Nottingham is an independent fansite devoted to Notts County, the world’s oldest professional football club. Created in 2013, it has served as a source of Magpie news, features, match previews, reports, analysis and interviews for more than three years.

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