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Chris last won the day on November 23

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  1. We're 19 games into the season and top spot in League Two keeps changing hands more often than a game of "pass the parcel". Notts County were top of the table until Tuesday night, when a 1-1 draw at Yeovil Town saw Luton Town return to the top on goal difference. But this weekend we go again and the team standing between the Magpies and three points is Colchester United, who currently sit in a very healthy ninth place in the standings. How should Notts line up against the U's? What's their style of play and how can we counter it in order to be most effective and clinch victory? PON's Chris aims to answer these questions in this Scouting Report. History Notts County have met Colchester United 43 times over the years, all league encounters except for one Sherpa Vans Trophy tie in 1988. The Magpies are in front when it comes to head-to-head, having won 21 games to Colchester's 15, with seven draws. The first fixture between Notts and Colchester took place on 23 February 1959 at Layer Road, a Division Three clash which finished 4-1 to the U's. The last fixture was last season on 1 April, the Magpies winning 3-1 at Meadow Lane. All league encounters between the two have never taken place higher than the third tier. Run-down of their last six features Tuesday 17th October – Newport County 1 Colchester United 2 Saturday 21st October – Coventry City 0 Colchester United 0 Saturday 28th October – Colchester United 3 Crewe Alexandra 1 Saturday 11th November – Barnet 0 Colchester United 1 Saturday 18th November – Colchester United 0 Morecombe 0 Tuesday 21st November – Colchester United 1 Lincoln City 0 The Players – Fact Sheet Highest Goal Scorers: Sammie Szmodics 7, Mikael Mandron 6, Kyel Reid 3 and Ryan Jackson 2. Persistent Foulers: Tom Lapslie 6 yellow cards and 1 red card, Mikael Mandron 4 yellow cards and 1 red card, Lewis Kinsella 4 yellow cards and Doug Loft 4 yellow cards. The Key Players Mikael Mandron is a versatile player, who can play out wide or up front. He’s a player that Notts will have to mark wisely, as he will cause some trouble if allowed to find space. In an attacking midfield position Sammie Szmodics is capable of lashing a shot towards goal from distance; he’s also a threat during set pieces and from corner kicks. Lastly at the back Tom Eastman tends to lead the line and offers something to both Colchester United going forward and protecting the back. Style of Play, Strengths, and Weaknesses Colchester United like to get the ball out wide where they have pace, whilst showing determination to take on the opposition with direct runs. They also tend to knock it back into the centre of the park where again they like to run in order to create chances and find space. They can carefully craft chances whilst not being afraid to be patient within their build up play. The majority of chances fall just outside the opposition area where they aren’t afraid to have a pop at goal – which will be a test for Notts to ensure they close them down early as possible. Tactically they build in the right way, showing a nice mixture of styles and methods in order to create organic chances. However, they’re prone to wasting chances but nonetheless they’re a team to be wary of. At the back they are quite solid and well organised, teams find it hard to gain space – whilst breaking them down isn’t easy at all. They hide their weaknesses well, which teams often explore during the half way period on how to exactly attack them – this will be a good test for the creative players within the Magpies’ ranks and the centre pairing within midfield will need to be knocking on Colchester’s door in terms of causing them problems. I can’t see many one-on-ones being created, so Notts may be force into drawing fouls for free kicks or taking shots themselves from distance. Share your thoughts about this Scouting Report article on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
  2. Kevin Nolan: 'Richard Duffy has been fantastic this year'

    I don't quite agree, he's been better and slightly decent - yet frequently he costs us results by making poor decisions or by not defending at all. Brisley has been much better and this is his first season.
  3. Should Forte be in our plans?

    I feel he's got a lot of strengths which we lack currently. Honestly, I think Smith got the break due to his cup performances and the fact we need a stronger character up top. I don't remotely think it means that Nolan is pushing him out of the door, this would be quite a silly move - unless Forte wanted to go (which I would understand). He's not getting the game time he probably wants, yet I agree with those who believe he should be implemented more wisely into the squad. There's the 'motivation' tag that he gets, this seems fair enough but he seems to do well when given a chance. He might be the impact sub type of player, yet I think it's for the management team to get the most out of him.
  4. Nah, I get what you mean - it can be depressing but I could never attend games based on if we would win or if we are winning. A few years ago I went to the majority of home and away games, I was bitten by the football bug but sadly most things these days involve the cost and other justifications. If I have the time and money, I will go. I miss going to games, but if winning bothered me I wouldn't have had a season ticket for all the years I have done.
  5. Prediction League Round 20

    Burton Albion 1-0 Sunderland Fulham 2-2 Millwall Fleetwood Town 1-3 Blackpool (Joker) Northampton Town 1-0 Bury Exeter City 2-1 Accrington Stanley Swindon Town 3-0 Newport County
  6. Most on here will know I rate Jonathan Forte as a player, he's a capable backup on the win (although I prefer him to start up front) - I do feel he's a very good player at this level. I realise most say he drifts, doesn't give much etc. However, I think he should be in our plans more. He's a natural goalscorer, he does give 100% but he relies on the team to be playing well (as most players do) but his run in the starting 11 wasn't the best time considering the form had dipped. Yet despite the dry patch, he still gave more than some players and he did chase every ball at least when I have seen him. Whilst some fans are speculating that he doesn't have a future, mostly going on the 'Alan Smith' card - I disagree. What do you think? Should Forte be in our plans?
  7. Grant is clearly better off staying here, however doesn't this highlight what I've been saying? Go back to the PONcasts where I discuss Grant. People think Yates might go, but he needs time to learn and Grant is the natural scorer out of the two so it makes sense that Forest may want him. Yates is doing well, yet needs to learn and gain further experience. Just to be clear, I don't think either will help up being recalled. Though the worst case scenario is that one might if Forest don't improve upfront.
  8. Match Discussion: Game 19 - The Glovers (A)

    I really don't feel Duffy is someone who can lead us at the back, I don't disagree that he has improved but I just don't think he's good enough. When he was given the captaincy, I just didn't get why. I'm not bothered about the result, I respect the point and I have said it's a decent result. Yet we should have won, and would have done without a silly challenge. I'm hopeful we sign a solid CB for this league in January, whilst I hope we give someone else the armband. Yeovil aren't a bad side, and like I called I felt they would pinch a point. At the time it seemed to be all favouring us though, yet my gut just said that it would happen. It's kinda disappointing, yet we can't be deflated by the result. Yet If we aim to escape this division we can't accept weak or poor defending. Bring on the next league game, we'll be fine.
  9. Yates for me due to him repeatedly being praised, not just by Slater/Stallard but also various fans throughout the game.
  10. Who was your man of the match for Yeovil Town against Notts County?
  11. Match Discussion: Game 19 - The Glovers (A)

    As I mentioned he should have started IMO. People go on about his performance but most came during the dry patch we had, plus there was a limitation within the service he and other players received. If he responds better after being challenged, well find a way to set targets within individual games. I love the fact he scored! It shows that he's still an important player, its just a case of playing him. I really think Notts needs a second goal, I'm just a bit wary that Yeovil might break late on and pull level. As I mentioned Yeovil are using their pace which is an advantage over us, so really it's a good thing that Forte is up top. I just hope that Stead is okay as he doesn't need to recover from any injuries, it seems to take him longer to find form now. 1-0 Notts - COYP!
  12. Match Discussion: Game 19 - The Glovers (A)

    Interesting to see Forte not playing, I would have given him the nod myself. Mark Stallard believes his performance starting has knocked him back, yet he said he's still a vital part of the squad which goes against those attempting to start rumours. I don't think much of it right now, but lets hope the lack of pace up top isn't an issue. It seems kinda flat so far, lets get a spark! #COYP
  13. With Notts County two points clear at the top of League Two following Saturday's 3-1 win over Cheltenham Town, attention must swiftly turn to a taxing midweek fixture away at Yeovil Town. Although the Glovers currently sit 17th in the table, they have claimed a number of big scalps this season, including Coventry City, Exeter City and Accrington Stanley. How should the Magpies approach this game? Here is Chris's Scouting Report to analyse the fixture and the opposition from a tactical perspective. History Notts County and Yeovil Town have met 15 times over the years. The first game took place at Meadow Lane on 4 November 1961, with the Magpies beating their opponents 4-2 in the FA Cup. That was the only meeting of the two pre-21st century - the 14 meetings following that game all took place between 2004 and this year. The last game was a League Two encounter at Meadow Lane last February, a goalless draw. Yeovil have the upper edge in the head-to-head with seven wins, five defeats and three draws against Notts. Run-down of their last six features Saturday 14th October – Yeovil Town 2 Crewe Alexandra 0 Tuesday 17th October – Cambridge United 2 Yeovil Town 1 Saturday 21st October – Barnet 1 Yeovil Town 1 Saturday 28th October – Yeovil Town 3 Stevenage 0 Saturday 11th November – Carlisle United 4 Yeovil Town 0 Saturday 18th November – Yeovil Town 1 Swindon Town 2 The Players – Fact Sheet Highest Goal Scorers; Otis Khan 7, Olufela Olomola 7, Francois Zoko 5 and Sam Surridge 5. Persistent Foulers; Francois Zoko 5 yellow cards and 1 red card, Olufela Olomola 2 yellow cards and 1 red card, Nathan Smith 4 yellow cards and Otis Khan 4 yellow cards. The Key Players Midfielder James Bailey is Yeovil’s engine in midfield. If he’s playing at the top of his game, it influences the players around him. He has the ability to take hold of a game and instantly change, whilst pressing he can also unlock chances. Francois Zoko on his day can be a major problem, both for the opposition but also his own team. If given space, he can cause headaches at the back – however this is provided he keeps his temper in check. His strike partner Olufela Olomola, meanwhile, is also a very pacey option for Yeovil who likes to be direct, and his attitude and energy can really cause problems. Style of Play, Strengths, and Weaknesses Yeovil Town mix their style between passing along the floor, whilst they also try to break teams down by keeping the ball in the air – quick passes usually enable them to move forward into the opposition territory and it does warrant some concern if allowed to play. They like to inject pace onto the ball, but they seem to have a fairly weak grasp on their organization, whilst they tend to give silly fouls away which often leads to them feeling exposed at the back. If caught out in possession it takes them a little time to adjust, something which good teams often use to their own advantage. Despite looking comfortable on the ball, all it takes is for an individual to make one mistake and this can really be Yeovil’s undoing. Defensively they just don’t seem committed when it matters, there’s little pressing and their loose marking makes it very easy for the opposition to have a shot. Teams that work hard and perform well often manage to make the most of the chances gained, so it’s important for Notts to be strong within the midfield, yet patient upfront when it matters. Picking the ball up and countering will be something Notts could use to their advantage, as is drawing fouls – free-kicks and other set pieces will naturally come if Yeovil are pressed. If we play with our own tempo and pace, avoiding just focusing on one flank, Notts should enable space to open up within the centre of the park. Jorge Grant, Ryan Yates and Rob Milsom will be players who can maximise the opportunities which presence themselves. Overall Yeovil aren’t to be underestimated, yet if the game can be controlled by Notts, it should fall in favour of the away team. Share your thoughts about this Scouting Report piece on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
  14. There was a lot of focus from Notts County fans on other teams around us during the Cheltenham Town game. I saw plenty of comments about pre-season title favourites Coventry City and about the nearest threat at the moment in Luton Town. Oddly not many comments mentioned Accrington Stanley, who have performed arguably better than most would have expected so far, and are definitely a solid team for this league. With the focus mostly coming in around a team who currently sit seventh as a I write this, and of course the team immediately beneath us in second, I wanted to express my thoughts as to why we as fans shouldn’t worry about the opposition and why the team should avoid doing the same thing. There are several teams I believe are capable of gaining promotion, with a handful being that extra quality that I feel could go onto win the League Two title in 2017-18. Wycombe Wanderers and Swindon Town are two teams often missed out in discussions since both sides have somewhat become inconsistent – yet both teams have done well enough to seize top spot in the table at various points during this campaign. However, both of the above teams didn’t quite have the focus to retain a place in the top three when it ultimately mattered. And despite the first half against Cheltenham not being up to much in my opinion (it screamed a draw to me), in the second half Notts regained their focus and played very well. In fact, I feel the confidence from playing the ball along the floor really shined and it’s what we have seen in previous games i.e Lincoln City. At the moment the dry spell seems to have been overcome, with Notts starting to play with a ‘cool edge’ to their game which reinforces my belief that we can be champions this season. For any fans still doubting the quality, I really would echo comments from managers and players higher up the football pyramid about how good ‘belief’ can be and when you combine this with a ‘core spirit’ from a hard-working approach to playing, then it’s only a case of failing to push your own boundaries. Claudio Ranieri himself said of Leicester City's Premier League triumph: "It was an amazing achievement. We wanted to do something special, but no one could have believed we would do this." Although on a much smaller scale, I believe that nobody would have dreamt about Notts going to places like Wycombe and Exeter and winning in style, nor being able to avoid a home defeat at Meadow Lane in the league during 2017 so far, especially after the amount of games the club lost last season. Likewise, I doubt highly that anyone would have believed we were capable of reaching - and remaining - top come November and we are fastly approaching December now in the same position. Our sole focus should be on taking games as they come, whilst worrying not that Luton won a game 7-0, as it’s really beside the point. If we allow our focus to fall on the teams beneath us, this will only lead to caution and pressure which isn’t exactly a positive thing – at which point should we stop worrying about teams that could leapfrog us in the league table? The attitude of showing no fear works well, teams from the lower tiers who have enjoyed success in the FA Cup will know you shouldn’t fear to play football. This is exactly why I am not remotely bothered currently about the results across the league, the only time it did matter for me was last season. Perhaps if we were chasing the playoffs things might be different, it still wouldn’t attach any concern and I’m not sure why others are bothered about Luton Town – are you? At the moment things are looking very good - we aren’t worried about Kevin Nolan leaving this season, so I take the same approach to who may or not overtake us in the table. Besides, I feel some of the bad patch after Mansfield Town came from worrying too much about fixtures and we have managed to return top due to good results. Let’s hope the Magpies can keep flying high, as future success can only be built on stable foundations and these are being put into place. Share your thoughts about this feature article on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
  15. Match Discussion: Game 19 - The Glovers (A)

    Yeovil are exactly the type of team this season we tend do well against. The only issue the fact that they tend to play well again us, I don't know why, they just always seem to do well. I think there will changes made, but I think Forte coming on to replace Ameobi would keep his legs fresh. After Steads performance on Saturday, I think he warrants to start and I do think he will score. Just keep the pressure off ourselves and we will be fine. We don't need to make many changes, plenty of time to recover in time for the next game.

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