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  1. Notts County's superb unbeaten league home run has come to an end as Exeter City ran out 2-1 winners in Saturday's encounter at Meadow Lane. The high-flying Grecians, who are in the promotion mix, took the lead after just seven minutes through Jake Taylor. Jayden Stockley then doubled the visitors' lead just before half time as the Magpies struggled to click with several new players in the XI and in the absence of Matt Tootle and Richard Duffy. Jon Stead pulled a goal back for the hosts with a second-half penalty, won after Shola Ameobi was hauled down in the box, but sadly Notts could not go on to find an equaliser. How did the game pan out? Pride of Nottingham's Chris takes a look with this weekend's Tactical Talk. Was the result fair? It’s very hard to say it the result was fair or not, I feel a draw may have been deserved but ultimately I do acknowledge that Notts were poor yesterday – likewise I feel Exeter equally unimpressed but we massively lack any real quality on goal. How did Notts play? For me we seemed too focused on attacking, rather than retaining the ball – we frequently gave it away very cheaply and the whole way we played made it very difficult to match the speed/creativity which Exeter did process. In the second half things did change, we held the ball and knocked it around – yet we never drawn Exeter’s player out or made space available. We tended to waste chances by trying to force the play, and only until Shola Ameobi came on did we look like a team able to get through the oppositions defence – simply we played a game of two halves. How did Exeter play? They played okay, at times quite exciting but for some reason they always insisted on doing something which wasn’t really required. I considered them to be a very good team coming into the game, yet I feel their schoolboy tactics and efforts to cheat really became unimpressive. When they focused on playing ‘football’ they looked a useful side but I think they’d have struggled to score if Notts had performed better and had noticed what they were doing. Did our tactics work out? Not very well in the first half. In midfield, we had too many new faces, this really meant that Notts had to have a little more creativity on the ball and we never really saw this until the second half. We focused on attacking more than we did retaining the ball or even defending – it was clear a few minutes in that Exeter would push us due to how far we seemed to be playing up the pitch. Second half Notts played better, yet at no point was it really enough – it highlighted exactly why we need a striker and a defender as outlined in my January transfer window article (please link) How did the referee perform? I felt he was poor, yet his decisions seemed more ‘blinded’ than negligent – I do feel he favoured Exeter, who’s players seemed to get away with everything but really he’s the standard of your typical League Two referee and I feel Notts should be smarter to this. Who do we play next? Crawley Town – another test in terms of the physical side of the game. They won’t be pushed off the ball or bullied and they will pressure us for the ball. We need to be stronger and more creative, as I feel these are points to be claimed. How should we play them? Notts need to be focused defensively, we can’t play too far up the field and if Nicky Hunt starts – he needs to be told to only go forward when we can afford his absence. In midfield I think we need to be calmer, more patient with our build-up play and attempt to draw the opposition out – as against Exeter we seemed to pack the centre of the park and this really limited the space that we could have exploited. With Crawley being your typical ‘physical’ League Two team, we need to be mindful about giving them any sort of space on the pitch. Whilst we lack pace at the back, wise positional play would give the magpies advantage and I think any attacks should be phased and risk assessed for being caught out. I’d like to see us use Jorge Grant and Liam Noble as a way to draw the opposition out, these played apart from each other would give us a means to break the Red Devils down and to allow some ‘creativity’ to get started. Really, Notts should look to thrive under possession-based football and look to be more dynamic with awareness going forward. Pressure the opposition defence, use link-up play to support the attacks and just pass the ball into space whereby this may release someone goal side – it’s not exactly difficult but if we give Crawley an inch they will take a mile. Exeter fan views (from Exeweb) Billy the Fish: The first half we took the game to them and was as complete a performance from City as I have seen in a long while. The second half County came out entirely differently and looked like promotion candidates, dangerous in attack but strangely vulnerable to our counter attacks. Lee Holmes looked out of sorts and Jordan Tillson is obviously just filling a position until the big boys are back. He works hard and gets his challenges in but today he was like a rabbit in the headlights whenever he found himself with the ball at his feet. All the others impressed, TAH rode his luck at times but otherwise every one them can be proud of themselves. I couldn't see the incident which saw Troy penalised and booked for the penalty but it came from a free kick awarded in front of us and the linesman and for which there was no discernable infringement. One of many strange refereeing decisions which infuriated both sets of fans. Great three points and a great day out. Red Bill: Just watched the goals, what a great goal the second was. Fantastic ball from Harley and a great finish from Stockley. I feel making the most of Harley, who i hope has done a lot to silence his critics with some terrific peformances lately, could be key to a serious promotion push. Andrew P Long: We went too defensive after going two up. Instead of trying to prevent them scoring we should've gone for their throat. If we had done that we'd have won more easily and comprehensively, say 1-4, and RHK was cheated out of more than a grand etc. Share your thoughts about this tactical analysis 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.
  2. Notts County have extended their lead at the top of League Two thanks to their 3-1 win over Cheltenham Town on Saturday. The Magpies took the lead on the half-hour mark through Jorge Grant following Jon Stead's layoff but Carl Winchester hit back within five minutes to equalise. However, a quickfire double from Notts in the opening stages of the second half - through Grant and Shaun Brisley - gave Nolan another home win. Here is Chris's detailed analysis of the Meadow Lane encounter. Was the result fair? The first half had 'draw' written all over it, but the second-half performance was very impressive when things clicked, and the victory is well deserved. I do feel sorry for Cheltenham in some senses, yet this is football but it was nice to see a team continue to give Notts a game even after going 3-1 down. How did Notts play? There’s very little to write about within the first half, it was scrappy and uneventful mostly. Out of nowhere Notts took the lead – at a time whereby it looked very likely to end a draw. After Cheltenham scored, our defence looked totally depleted and nervous. Second half started very lively, and the midfield pushed to take the lead and then after the game just seemed much different. It certainly wasn’t pretty at times, but overall it was a very good team performance and a well deserved three points. How did Cheltenham play? Their defence was rocky due to trying to be more offensive, I could see this being the case myself and I mentioned it within the scouting report. I disagree that they ‘played badly’, I thought they moved the ball around well and certainly gave Notts a game even after going 3-1 down. They just seemed unlikely to score, yet their goal was a brilliant move and certainly if they had of clicked themselves it could have been more difficult. Yet overall it was a decent performance, we just outplayed them in the second half but credit to Cheltenham they never gave up. Did our tactics work out? I think the way both teams started it just cancelled each other out. Prior to our goal we looked the most likely to score, but everything was just a bit uneventful due to a lack of quality on goal. In the second half things changed, and as a result Notts played with more tempo which forced the play. How did the referee perform? He was a bit baffling at times, yet I’m always going to say it – he’s the typical standard for League Two. My gripe is I felt he always seemed keen to have words with Notts players, whilst after going 3-1 up – it was like he couldn’t award any genuine foul in our favour simply because we looked likely to score. I counted at least five punishable challenges which were never given, luckily it didn't cost us in the end. Who do we play next? Yeovil Town – They’re not the same side that we played a few seasons ago, although they are a decent outfit and one that does tend to raise to playing games against teams such as Notts. How should we play them? We just have to assert the same level of pressure as we did against Cheltenham in the second half, our performance similar to how we did against Exeter City. Be confident in possession, wise on the ball and move into the areas whereby we can make the most of the space gained – if we put them under pressure I honestly think they will cave in but that said we need to avoid causing problems within our own defence. Yeovil are a side which will easily make the most of opposition indecisions at the back, and any worrying will lift them. If we can avoid making too many changes, this will also aid us but that said I do expect to see at least three – I just wouldn’t go beyond five at all. Our midfield can play in such a style that it can take the pressure of ourselves, whilst enabling confidence upfront. It’s important we strive for this, as any of our strikers could make the most of this. Cheltenham fan views (from The Robins Nest Forum) Runlistening: Conceding 2 goals in 2 minutes again.. how does this keep happening? I know this was always going to be a hard game but soon as we concede 1 you know another one is going in in 1-2 minutes... Longmover: Whatever they have been instructed to do isn't working, It's the management job to get the instructions to stick, they're (Gary Johnson's) players, he bought them in. Oldun: Oh good show! Lose to top of table team and its knives out for Gary. Now there's a surprise! Only six subs, very weak bench due to injuries and suspensions (all Gary's fault) Deflected second goal. (Gary's fault) By the way... Luton scored seven today, which shows how terrible it was not to win last week. Gary will have to go; we really can't carry on like this, not winning every time we play. And I hate sarcasm too. Another_FoD_Robin: So if we have six players on the bench Oldun whose fault is it? I thought as a football manager you bring players in and take players out. I accept budget and we can't take into account some bad luck but the bottom line is GJ is meant to bring players in to strengthen the squad. Or to ensure players coming in can do a job. GJs job is to motivate and instruct what to do during games. So on the back of game management - the players need to take responsibility too. I as an amateur player understand how to manage a game so please explain to me why players who are professional struggle. The little things add up... Share your thoughts about this tactical analysis 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.
  3. Notts County have climbed to third in League Two and stretched their unbeaten run to six games in all competitions following a 2-0 win over Morecambe. Dan Jones opened the scoring for the Magpies at Meadow Lane with a 27th-minute free kick which was curled expertly round the Shrimps wall and beyond goalkeeper Barry Roche. Morecambe launched a fightback but their efforts were to no avail as Notts struck late on through substitute Jonathan Forte as he broke through and rifled home via the inside of the post. In this piece, Chris has taken an in-depth look at how both sides played, whether the result was fair, and how to move forward. Was the result fair? The result was about right for me, Morecambe didn’t look much of a threat on goal and struggled to get a grip on the game. Notts passed nicely at times, created chances and always looked to get forward. How did Notts play? It wasn’t a "wow" performance, yet the team spirit again shined and there were several occasions where pieces of play really did entertain us fans. I think we needed to be slightly more direct, along with taking our time when shooting but overall it was a very decent performance. How did Morecambe play? Morecambe really struggled, defensively they were quite poor and I felt if Notts created better chances they would have been finished off early. Their midfield wasn’t able to get hold of the game, nor could they change the tempo. This in turn isolated their attack, so it was a typical disconnected performance by a team clearly struggling to get their season going. Did our tactics work out? Honestly, I felt that we needed to change things before the game. Make a simple adjustment to the midfield by allowing Rob Milsom to start and perhaps the tweak we all have been wanting up front. The tactics weren’t bad, I just felt it was somewhat flat but it allowed us to control the game and so to a degree it worked. If Morecambe had been more of a threat or the physical team we know they can be – this could have been different, but the balance was about right for us. How did the referee perform? I can still hear his whistle, his repeated blowing and lack of control really frustrated me at times. However, I don’t think it had any sort of impact on the game and again I find myself thinking in hindsight that he was just another poor League Two referee. Who do we play next? Swindon Town – a team still getting to grips with life back in League Two, although they’re heavily tipped for a return to League One and have several good players. This will be a tougher game on Tuesday for Notts! How should we play them? Notts needs to be able to cope with any pace they have, the right-hand side of the defence for me is a concern if Matt Tootle doesn’t start. I think Swindon will know that they have a chance to influence the game by using the flanks so defensively we have to stand tall – whilst ensuring we force them back into the centre of the park. I would like to see Notts try to hold the ball up, perhaps push Jorge Grant a little forward and let him sit behind whoever starts up front. Kevin Nolan could perhaps justify reverting to one striker, however I think it might limit our chances – yet it would offer Notts more bulk in the centre of the park where it matters. This would allow us to pass the ball around, whilst offering protection to the defence. We can’t just sit back and defend however, we must pass the ball and look to maximise the set pieces that we get. Share your thoughts about this 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.
  4. Notts County's season continues to go from strength to strength after a solid 1-0 win over Port Vale in Saturday's League Two fixture at Vale Park. Lewis Alessandra came on as a substitute and scored with his first touch of the game in the second half to edge the visitors ahead. The Valiants didn't offer much and, even with Shaun Brisley coming off injured and leaving the Magpies down to ten men having made all their substitutions, they still couldn't find a way back into the game. In this piece, Chris has taken an in-depth look at how both sides played, whether the result was fair, and how to move forward. Was the result fair? I feel the result may have probably been fairer as a draw, however I do think Notts performed better than Port Vale – so victory to the Magpies isn’t unjust or unworthy for the Valiants. How did Notts play? Notts tried to change the tempo of the game at times, only for Port Vale to bring it back down to the ground to which slowed down the game massively. Notts could have done with creating more clear chances, with a cutting edge, but overall the win wasn’t pretty at all. How did Port Vale play? They played like a team struggling to adapt to the division, despite having signed some new players – this probably also impacted their play. Port Vale struggled to get hold of the game and looked largely ineffective throughout the pitch. Did our tactics work out? The simple answer would be yes, yet this type of game is where in-game tactics could have been used to give Notts more of an edge. I’m not complaining though as everything worked well, yet from a tactical point-of-view there could have been positive changes. Yesterday’s game was largely down to performances and the type of play which emulated from it. How did the referee perform? Average League Two referee is how most would sum up Robert Lewis. There will always be something questionable decisions, yet he allowed the game to flow and generally didn’t interfere too much. Who do we play next? Morecambe – this will be a difficult game in terms of the physicality for Notts. They’re a side which we must show we can play against, and well. How should we play them? It’s quite obvious that Kevin Nolan already has the basis of his starting 11, any changes will merely reflect on the opposition or injuries/knocks picked up. Personally, I would look into forming a holding midfield and include the absentee Rob Milsom – he will allow Notts to fight the type of tactics which Morecambe will try to play with, whilst his ‘move forward’ frame of mind will allow Notts to go forward in a positive way. I highly suspect there won’t be any changes up top, however I would start with a bit more pace there if possible. Shola Ameobi will be influencing the midfield and anchor play, so if Jon Stead starts he must play closer to the Morecambe defence. He could use Jorge Grant, as someone who could release him but there’s no doubt in my mind that Notts must look to retain the ball and move promptly with it. Draw the fouls and use it to gain ground, whilst any free-kicks outside of the penalty will be key. Port Vale fans view (courtesy of One Vale Fan): Jeffers: We can't score goals as we don't play with strikers other than the cart horse up front. It's not Tom Pope's fault but his best days are behind him. Where is the pace to frighten defenders... lying on the sick bed. Jacko51: In our last 12 league games we have failed to score in 9 of them. Brown won't solve this problem by playing Tom Pope on his own up front with no one within 30 yards of him. Tom won't outrun the defence so you can't play the ball in behind. There is no point hoofing the ball in the air to Pope if no one is near him to pick up the knock downs. It's absolute madness to keep doing the same thing game after game and expecting a different outcome. Jeffers: Tom played well against Crewe but not today. Jones gave him 20 yards and caught him. Don't be blinded by Toms heart on the sleeve attitude, but he will be lucky to get 10 goals. He never was blessed with pace, but my frustration is that he needs legs around him which Brown doesn't see. Bluedevil: Why did Brown make his first substitution when he did? We had no shape or threat after his changes, County couldn't have believed their luck. Brown snatched a defeat from the jaws of victory today. Share your thoughts about this analysis 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.
  5. A rollercoaster August on the pitch for Notts County has ended on a somewhat sour note as the Magpies were held to a 2-2 draw by Accrington Stanley. In Friday night's League Two fixture at Meadow Lane, rescheduled due to a fixture clash with the neighbours over the Trent, the Magpies edged into a 1-0 half time lead thanks to Jon Stead's penalty. Things got even better for Kevin Nolan's charges as they doubled their lead in the 54th minute through Jorge Grant, but for the second consecutive game, this was to be wasted. First, Mark Hughes looped home a volley, then in injury time, after a player from each side had been sent off, Mallik Wilks struck the equaliser. Here is Pride of Nottingham's review and analysis of the match. Was the result fair? It’s harder this week, as on one hand Notts didn’t deserve to lose their 2-0 goal lead but on the other we didn’t finish our chances which ultimately lead to Accrington coming back into it. Putting aside tactics, changes, and the woeful decisions by the officials, I actually feel the final score doesn’t reflect well on the game at all. How did Notts play? First half we passed the ball around well, defended efficiently but that same old problem of rushing when in the final third appeared. Until the Jon Stead penalty, I honestly couldn’t see Notts scoring and that decision lifted the confidence of the players. My gripes against Accrington is that we simply weren’t fluid enough when it came to truly finishing the game off – yet several players did perform well and as a team we did okay. How did Accrington Stanley play? They passed the ball well, made good movements and actually looked sharper when they focused on playing football (not pulling shirts or diving) – yet they didn’t defend very well and heavily relied upon their goalkeeper. When it came to scoring opportunities they didn’t really threaten as much as I felt they should have, I’d describe them as the typical ‘League Two’ team. Did our tactics work out? In a way, yes, the tactics set out by Kevin Nolan worked. It allowed Notts to play with a level of confidence but there were visible signs that needed adjusting at half time – whilst the substitutions actually balanced the game in Accrington Stanley’s favour. Reverting to one up front in the second half really had a negative impact on the game. How did the referee perform? Possibly one of the worst referees I will see this season, he gave fouls for literally nothing – most of the time he seemed to favour Accrington. Whilst they as an opposition side focused on shirt pulling, physically restraining players and pushing – very few of these decisions were noticed. I feel the penalty decision was quite soft, and a call which he felt probably would balance up his poor decisions – yet he was card/whistle happy and I just wanted to see him assert his authority a lot more without being daft. Who do we play next? Port Vale – a team which will give us more of a football match, and Notts will need to show their determination towards achieving a respectable league finish by ensuring we leave with a good result. How should we play them? It’s obvious to suggest, yet I have been calling for it for a while now – start Jonathan Forte in place of Jon Stead. Also, bring back Lewis Alessandra, allow Jorge Grant to play a more direct role just behind the forwards when in procession and allow someone like Rob Milsom to be the forward thinker in midfield. Without completely changing the balance, there’s not a lot Kevin Nolan can do but I feel this would give us favour over Vale and how they may possible set themselves up. Defensively we need to be accountable, only commit when there’s a good chance of winning the ball – so Richard Duffy go back and access your defending against Coventry City and Stanley. Stanley fans view (courtesy of Accringtonweb): Phil Whalley: Terrific spirit from the Stanley boys, Wilkes a superb finish after a Sykes nod on for an unlikely point. Once it went 10 vs 10 we were all over them. Chappers MOM by a country mile, let's get behind this lad, he needs to keep building his confidence. McLeod terribly unlucky to be sent off, he was rightly fuming. A really good point against one of the better Notts teams of recent years. Alvin the Chipmunk: Best goalkeeping performance by any Accy stopper in many a year. Not a vintage performance but sheer bloody mindedness salvaged a point. Lord Stiffupperlip: Another stonewall penalty denied, which could have won us the game. But how & why were they given theirs? Must be the softest penalty award ever! Monkey Hanger: Still a penalty as one of our lads charged into the back of one of theirs in the box. Soft maybe but did Kayden go down too easy with the push. Penalty for me anyway as contact was there. just going off the highlights which was not the ref's view. Share your thoughts about this match analysis 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.

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