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Tactical Talk: Notts County 1-0 Swindon Town, Tuesday 12 September 2017


Notts County have climbed to second in League Two following a solid 1-0 win over Swindon Town in Tuesday night's clash at Meadow Lane.

Jon Stead's penalty just after the half-hour mark, after he was bundled over in the box by Olly Lancashire, was enough to secure the points for Kevin Nolan's charges.

The result also sees the Magpies notch up a seventh unbeaten game in all competitions, which has resulted in an incredible vibe among the Black and White Army.

Here is Chris's tactical analysis of the game.

Was the result fair?

Swindon Town fans might feel they deserved at least a draw from last night’s game at Meadow Lane, however a determined Notts County succeeded and for me warrant the win due to sheer hard-work from a very respectable performance.

How did Notts play?

Notts played like the underdogs in an F.A cup tie, however at times they fully took the game to the Robins who struggled to adapt to the changes made by Kevin Nolan. Whilst there was a lack of goal chances, with only two shots being recorded as on target for the Magpies – this doesn’t reflect the full picture and it was a very solid performance which can only be improved on.

How did Swindon play?

As I mentioned within the PON forum, and within my ‘Scouting Report’ – Swindon Town tried to make the most of the flanks. They used their pace and threw everything they had at Notts, despite several fans telling me they were poor. I felt entertained by them and I think they overthought their tactics, but in truth they played quite well and forced Adam Collin to be at his best.

Did our tactics work out?

Absolutely! Whilst the majority of fans seemed to believe the changes were nothing more than an effort by Kevin Nolan to save certain players legs for Saturday’s clash against Crawley – for me I could see that it was more about controlling the game and combating the obvious way that Swindon Town play.

I felt it was solely to inject pace into our team at a time when Swindon Town would be fading from trying to overpower us on the pitch.

The tactics were absolutely spot on, and it shows that Kevin Nolan does have more than a plan A.

How did the referee perform?

I felt the referee was better than most we had in recent weeks, however at times it was clear that he had lost control and even went as far as deciding favourably to whoever made the most fuss (which was usually a group of Swindon Town players).

There were some key moments, such as their number 7 tripping one of our players which was totally missed and a kick to Jorge Grant which for me warranted at least a card.  

Who do we play next?

Crawley Town – this will be a totally different game for Notts. Crawley are a side capable of playing very well on their day, they can be physical but generally play in the right way.

How should we play them?

For Notts they need to apply common-sense, use bulk in midfield to control the flow of the game. Again for me Rob Milsom will be key, as will a fresh Jorge Grant.

I would revert back to having Dan Jones at left back, however Matt Tootle should retain his position – the defence must deal with Crawley promptly but in a way which doesn’t rush the play, so it’s vital that the ball is played on the ground when possible.

Hopefully Shola Ameobi will be fit, we really missed his presence yesterday but I would like to see him start with Jonathan Forte at the cost of Jon Stead.

We need to bide our time, create chances which can be avoided from rushing – with it being vital to not make whoever is upfront not chase everything. Notts generally struggle to get the ball on target, so fewer chances will come if we don’t adjust.

Swindon fan views (from Thetownend.com)

Stevens: "I made my views early that I did not like this managers way of playing football. We have gone from a side who plays young potential good footballers who were badly handled to a load of old farts past there sell by date and a few loanees playing typical division two football. Thank goodness I missed tonight and will be out of the country for the next month so I don't have to go and watch."

Donkey: "Ok, just before I turn in for the night, I'm going to try to be positive. I liked Norris, worked hard, won a lot of headers, put a shift in. Vigs made a cracking save and held the crosses he came for. Also, I had a genuine fear that we'd slide through this division (Vale are bottom), but I believe this team have enough about them to be mid table. They should halt the decline. At the end of last season, I'd have taken that."

London Pride: "Just got back after an overnight stay and have to say I am somewhat surprised by Flitcroft summary of the game I can only assume he was at another match. It was 100% a penalty as all us could quite clearly see from where we were sat. I have watched every game this year home and away and my confidence in us getting promoted at the first attempt has started to fade. We are clearly not a very good side with some very average players and a manager whose tactics are extremely questionable. The mindless aimless hoof ball that was on display last night which is seeming to become the norm is extremely embarrassing to watch. The only way that we will ever make the playoffs this season is if there are 18 other teams more crap than us."

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32 minutes ago, Countyman said:

It sounds like Swindon fans are unhappy with whom they have in charge. How long until he's sacked?

I think there will be pressure from their fans for Flitcrofts head if they don't mount a promotion bid, though it's early days and its absolute madness to call him out whilst his players are needing to adapt.

Personally, I thought they played well as I mentioned above.

Thanks for reading!

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Good write up! I thought it was a very even game they had more chances but our chances were better chance IMO. Happy that this form is continuing! Nolan has the dressing room on lock down. 

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