Notts County have slipped to second in League Two after a 1-1 draw with Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.
The Magpies struggled against their opponents, who prop up the Football League, and needed a last-ditch goal from Rob Milsom to salvage a point after Omar Bugiel had edged Mark Cooper's side into the lead in the first half.
Here is Chris's analysis of yesterday's game at Meadow Lane.
Was the result fair?
Some opposition fans like to call me biased on social media, however this may come as a shock to them but Notts County honestly robbed Forest Green Rovers yesterday. FGR deserved the win, and although their time wasting really did bite them back – they should have left with all three points.
How did Notts play?
Awful, I can’t sugar coat it and I simply refuse to try.
Defending wasn’t acceptable at all, we allowed Forest Green to simply pass straight through us and largely without any sort of challenges to win the ball. It was very disappointing, and very difficult to understand how a team that has worked so hard in recent months have simply fallen apart in the recent games.
I spoke about how Forest Green Rovers had a good midfield in my scouting report and we simply failed to match them – in terms of effort, desire and professionalism.
How did Forest Green Rovers play?
I felt depressed writing the scouting report, yet despite my opinion on their defence FGR played very well. They looked much tighter at the back, and easily in control from there on – their midfield worked hard to control and win the ball. This for me was very impressive, they appeared to be well organised and performed like a team quite far from the foot of the League Two table.
Defensively, they did crumble with pressure and this was something else I pointed out but their time wasting stung them in the end.
Did our tactics work out?
Not at all, we simply refused to play the ball on the ground yet again.
This for me was largely annoying, as there were times when we strung a few passes together and looked half decent – even within the first half. Yet someone would always tend to rush it within the final third and I believe its time certain players warmed the bench a little.
I’m sorry, it looked like we had no tactical awareness.
How did the referee perform?
Aside from the inability to control the game, spot a blatant hand-ball, lack of overview to what could have been a serious head injury and of course a lot of time wasting from the FGR players (mostly their keeper, and when taking throw ins) – I guess you could say ‘well that is why he’s a former Premier League referee'. He was absolutely dire and quite lethargic in every sense.
Who do we play next?
Barnet – They’re a capable side on their day, and a team which shouldn’t be where they currently are. These will work hard just like Forest Green Rovers did – so Notts must focus on playing the ball on the floor.
How should we play them?
Keep the ball on the floor, pass it nicely but keep it simple.
Notts have a tendency of overplaying it at times and the forcing of open play can be a real issue – there’s absolutely little need to pressure ourselves, so just take our time and build properly.
In the recent games against Mansfield and FGR, Notts haven’t really been building from the back and as a result the defence has looked shaky from little pressure. Against Barnet this needs correcting, so take time to pass it out wide – get a feel of the ball and move with confidence.
We will need to use the flanks as a way to inject pace against The Bees – however Notts must enjoy the holding possession and its times like this I wished Kevin Nolan would focus a little more on the passing phrases we create.
Chances should come, and if we play hard enough the rewards will be clear for all.
Just need to avoid another bad game, as this could set in and really the players need to believe in themselves – they’re capable of winning as we have seen great results already.
Forest Green fan comments (from FGRForum)
Coyler: The fact we are gutted about drawing against the league leaders shows that we may of turned a corner. Sounded like we were good for the win. KMB back involved , point at the league leaders and we got a few winnable games coming up. Positivity is needed.
The Jovial Forester: Sickener late on but sounded like a hell of a performance.
FGR-Ledge: Well done lads, that was cruel indeed, would have snapped your hand off for a point before hand though. Looks like we are up against bent referees as well!! 7 minutes added time!!!!!!!!
Lady Magpie: What a shame about the injury time equaliser, mind you I would have had a draw before the start of the match. At least we are out of the bottom 2 in the league.
Foggy: We brought on a substitute during time added on, which means the minimum of five minutes will be extended by the referee, tough but that is the rule.
Garyjj: Absolutely gutted on the way back where is our luck? We were more than matching top of the table notts county and one moment of madness and it's only one point, deserved so much more.
Tommyd: Fantastic result just gutted by the late goal. Would never have expected this. Was important not to lose today and keep the belief after the win midweek. Away points are going to be precious so well done to the lads.
Edited by Joe Jones