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Joe Jones
Joe Jones

Joe Jones: Has the wheel fallen off the Notts County wheelbarrow?

Was Saturday the day when the wheel finally fell off the wheelbarrow?

Notts County have suffered from wobbly form for a number of weeks now, and despite last week's impressive 4-1 win against Crewe Alexandra - a side which many of their own fans think is in major disarray and worry about its prospects of staying up - there have been far too many indifferent performances and bad results in the league in recent weeks.

Take the back-to-back home defeats against Exeter City and Crawley Town, games when the formation was inexplicably changed to 4-5-1. The first game, you could understand a desire to conserve the forwards' energy but after things panned out as badly as they did, surely it should have been changed back in the following game.

Admittedly, January brought a superb run in the FA Cup, and beating Brentford and holding Swansea City to a draw at Meadow Lane showed how Notts can play when they're firing on all cylinders.

And as embarrassing as the 8-1 defeat to Swansea was, you could cut the players some slack in that they were maybe overawed by the occasion, or having an off day, and the Swans are certainly a different beast under Carlos Carvalhal - although once again the 4-5-1 formation clearly didn't work for the Magpies.

But this weekend, losing 1-0 to Barnet is a very tough result to take. After the horror show at the Liberty Stadium, a game against the league's bottom side should have presented the perfect opportunity to build on the win over Crewe.

Instead, we failed to match a team down on their luck, failed to create our own luck and were caught out by a route one lump up top late in the game, the kind of attacking foray that any professional back line worth their salt should be able to defend against all day.

As great as Elliott Hewitt has been in recent weeks, his absence due to illness shouldn't be affecting the team that badly, given the other more than capable players we have in midfield.

It's a huge shame that the work put in by the club during the first half of the season appears in real danger, but even though the players must shoulder responsibility, it's time that Kevin Nolan acknowledges that, as good as his tenure was during 2017, he has made numerous mistakes over the last few weeks which seem to have caught up with him and the team.

Needlessly changing a system that was working fine took us backwards and ramped the pressure up on the team, with the comfortable cushion in the top three now gone. The constant hoofing of the ball when it should be played on the ground has also been a recurring theme.

It's also interesting how Nolan was more than eager to take the plaudits when things are going good, but with this defeat it's all the players' fault. Where is the "camaraderie" that he spoke of during the ups? Now it's "they weren't listening" and "backchat".

We go again on Tuesday night with Carlisle United coming to Meadow Lane, and the next five fixtures read Newport away, Cambridge away, Stevenage at home, Cheltenham away and Forest Green away. Out of all of these, the highest in the league is Newport in 12th.

All these fixtures should be able to yield results for Notts, should they play at the top of their game. But it's important that the Magpies can get back to basics, play the ball on the ground, make the right team selections and play in the right formation.

A lot of damage has been done in the last few weeks in the league but now is the time for manager and players to step up to the plate and return to form.

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Good read firstly JJ , but has the wheel come off ? I'm not sure , results performances have fallen in truth , these in the main are the players he turned around last season and hit this season well in the first half of the season .

So things now are going a little wrong should we say , is it time or even needed to play the blame game , surely it's time to regroup clear the air get back to what we were doing so well before , for me the team does have performances of yesterday's nature in it and KN will make mistakes , much still to play for can he and they turn it around , will the fans help them or turn , I know where my hope is , but fear a turning is in the air , again .

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I hope the wheelbarrow hasn't broken yet again, it does seem we are our own worst enemy at times. Promotion is possible, yet it will take fighting on the pitch and just for the club to focus on what works.

This really shouldn't be our undoing, yet the players and Kevin Nolan need to sing from the same sheet.

It would be disappointing if we didn't try to fight for promotion, yet just surrendered.

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It's also interesting how Nolan was more than eager to take the plaudits when things are going good, but with this defeat it's all the players' fault. Where is the "camaraderie" that he spoke of during the ups? Now it's "they weren't listening" and "backchat".

the backchat comments is bizarre, a manager should be questioned if he is making mistakes just like kn is in the right to tell the players privately what he thinks.

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