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Pre-season friendly: Alfreton Town vs Notts County

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Been sitting waiting for the match to come on live via the clubs YouTube channel, this will be the first real game that I have seen since the playoff final.



The line-up, Notts look more geared towards creative passing and setting the tempo. All the players having a touch, which in a friendly is important. It's all about fitness.

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My thoughts on the game:

- First half was poor. We couldn't break their high press and made numerous mistakes. Pilling's passing was OK but his decision making was off, when Slocombe came on he knew when it was time to pass it round the back 4 and when it wasn't. 

- Casper Sloth got a bit more involved and was tidy enough, if unspectacular.

- Elisha Sam showed a couple of decent touches but on the whole looked way off the pace. 

-Ruben Rodrigues is a player. It's exciting that him, Roberts and Wootton will be lining up on the same pitch. The key to our season will be keeping these 3 fit.

- The young lad from Mansfield looked keen and fit - buzzed around a bit. Ardley said after the game we needed a young, pacey striker for backup that wouldn't cost much (wage wise) and that we don't have that in our youth team, at the minute. That's fair enough. Would have preferred them look a bit further beyond a youth from the last club Greg Abbott stinted at, though. 

- Sam Graham still scares the life out of me. He attempted a couple of clearances that he scuffed into the middle of the park. Ultimately, Alfreton failed to capitalise, but a better team would punish us. 

- Jim O'Brien coming on really changed the game. His passing ability (and actually passing forwards) altered things for us.

- Jake Reeves was more in the Doyle role. Not sure he was as good at it.

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I only saw the first half (so I missed out on all the fun bits), and I know it's very unfair to give an assessment based on 45 minutes of a pre-season friendly. But here I go anyway.

Based on the little I saw of Sam he looked more the part than against Ilkeston, but still clearly needs minutes. He seems more the kind of forward who plays with his back to goal and brings others into play.

Neither Reeves nor Sloth offered much creatively (although in Reeves's defence he did set up two goals in our last friendly), resulting in lots of diagonal balls out wide which rarely hit their target. That, alongside our struggle to deal with Alfreton's pressing, meant it wasn't much fun to watch. From what I hear, the second half was much better. Looking forward to seeing what Knowles offers.

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That game was much more of a test and more helpful in terms of judging the players and play. We kind of gave Alfreton all their chances through sloppy passing in the first half - to be fair to the midfield that was the first time Reeves, Sloth, Enzio and Rodrigues have played together. When O'Brien and Doyle came in the second half we looked a lot better, possibly as Alfreton had tired as well so they weren't pressing as much by then.

We've switched to a diamond 4-4-2, which will help us get more players in and around the centre of the pitch to help with the passing game. I just think we were overdoing the passes in our own half in the first half. Especially the ones where we knock them short into the middle on the edge of the box from goal kicks, that's just asking for trouble in my opinion. We mixed it up more in the second half, still passing out from the back but with a bit more purpose to get it forward which was good to see.

Player wise Sam looks like he'll be a handful but that sharpness isn't there yet for me. I like that not only is Rodrigues technically good he looks very strong too and won't be pushed off the ball easily. I thought Pilling did well, looks brave, not afraid to come for high balls in the box and made a good save down low to his left from a free-kick. And to be fair to him Knowles came on and looked promising, he's quick and had a couple of half decent chances - didn't look out of place at all...

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i thought alfreton showed what it would be like to play against a team that would press and force the opposition back, they reminded me of harrogate in the playoff final. yet with it being a friendly, they did seem a lot more happier to let notts play at times.

they did well, credit to them because they forced notts to defend.

notts looked good on the ball, passed it around nicely and the changes did not upset much. it was not exciting to watch but interesting, thought we worked our goals very well. also wes thomas is a monster.

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On 13/09/2020 at 16:37, menzinho said:

I like that not only is Rodrigues technically good he looks very strong too and won't be pushed off the ball easily.

I thought a lot of the players looked much stronger, Sloth looks like he's a touch above most of the players at this level. He could've been caught out a few times and I feel he would've been if he was like Doyle or O'Brien.

The squads looking good, Ardley needs to fuel them to go from strength to strength.

Happy with the pre-season so far, the squad looks much fitter.

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