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  1. Notts County have climbed to the top of League Two after a resounding 4-1 victory against 10-man Lincoln City. The Magpies rode out a tricky start at Meadow Lane to edge into a numerical advantage when Billy Knott was sent off for a high boot into the face of Ryan Yates. Notts then took the lead through Jon Stead and, despite being pegged back by Harry Anderson's equaliser, went on to strike thrice more, through Matt Tootle, Jorge Grant and ex-Imp Terry Hawkridge. Here is an in-depth analysis of the game from Chris. Was the result fair? Notts asserted domination after Lincoln pulled level, and despite all the whining about the red card and refereeing decisions, it was the correct decision. Ultimately Notts responded well after losing the lead. And I have explained further why the result was fair in my feature, "Billy Knott red card cannot be blamed for Lincoln City loss". How did Notts play? First half was disappointing, the players refused to keep the ball on the ground and this better suited Lincoln. I feel we were cancelled out, largely by negative game play but in the second half Notts managed to assert control of the game and from there it was one of the best second half performances I have seen at Meadow Lane for a long time. How did Lincoln City play? Firstly, I felt they played well. Attacking wise they reminded me of Notts with how we tend to force play but they worked the ball very nicely and created chances. It was obvious that they wanted the play to be primarily thought-out in the air, however several rash challenges and blatant cheating ultimately saw their performance spiral to a very low point. Why the Lincoln goalkeeper decided to go down at two periods to allow his team to have a ‘team talk’ is beyond me. Did our tactics work out? First half no, second half play was adjusted and the wider positions gave Notts what they needed. The players also focused on passing rather than hoofing and it was like watching a different game. Line-up wise it was spot on but Notts just need to remember to keep the ball down in the future. How did the referee perform? He was alright, I think some of the decisions he made was swayed by both teams players and Lincoln fans might moan about Matt Tootle but there were times several of their players did the exact same thing. I don’t think the official controlled the game very well, especially for since it was a local derby. Who do we play next? Next up, Exeter City – a game which they have been hyping quite a lot. It’s one of those games which will easily define the 2017-18 season for Notts. How should we play them? I don’t want to see Kevin Nolan opt for a defensive line-up, as I feel this would play into the hands of Exeter who will be heavily focused on attacking. To control the game, we should build slowly, pass the ball around into positions whereby we can guarantee more time to pick out the right pass. It’s important that we make a lot of movement as we move forward, as this will create better chances. Again the midfield will have to do a lot of running and hard-work, as this will help the defence handle Exeter. We just have to build careful and be prepared for them to throw everything at us, I think they start a lot like Swindon Town did – using a mix of pace and creativity to form good chances, so we must be alert at the back. Lincoln fan reaction (from the Lincoln Vital page) Scotimp: Danny said he wants to be around the top ten at the halfway stage. We are 12th, having played some very difficult games - we have played the top 2 away, for example, and the teams who are 3rd and 5th at home. We have also played the teams in 9th and 10th away. We are 4 points off the play-offs. We are in the Football League. We are not Tranmere. I'm pretty pleased with all of that. Croozey: I don't think we need a squad of 25. Two more would be enough. But I think in January we could see some of the current squad moved on and replaced. Hulloutpost: We dominated the game until the outrageous sending off against a team second in the league, high in confidence and with some very experienced/decent players. We are not far away from giving somebody a spanking and the sooner it comes the better. We have had a similar start (bit patchy and inconsistent but some good stuff also) to what we had last season and whilst this is undoubtedly a tougher league I have seen enough to know that we have better players than last year. Given a better rub of the green and a bit more sharpness on our part and we will be fine going into the January transfer window. I expect us to kick on at that point. 85 Horace Green: I was sat quite high up and admittedly saw the last three County goals from a distance, but it didn't look to me as if Farman was at fault for any of them. He does flatter to deceive sometimes but I'm not sure today was his fault at all. 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 made it four clean-sheet wins on the spin after securing a hard-earned 1-0 win over Crawley Town in Saturday's League Two encounter at the Broadfield Stadium. Jorge Grant was the hero once again for the Magpies as he drilled home from close range after Jonathan Forte played a low ball into the loanee's path. The result keeps Notts second in the table and takes their unbeaten run to eight matches, ensuring yet another weekend of smiles for the Black and White Army. Here is an in-depth analysis of the game from Chris. Was the result fair? Both sides created several decent chances, but the whole game lacked a leading side. I think a draw would have been fairer but I’m delighted to see Kevin Nolan’s side push past a difficult performance to maintain the winning streak. How did Notts play? You’re watching it, even in the highlights and you're pondering what could make this Notts squad click and turn into a similar side that we saw back in 2010 – that said it doesn’t really matter, as Notts worked hard yet again and passed around nicely in spells. Defensively they looked comfortable, so not much else matters. How did Crawley Town play? They played as I expected and wrote in my scouting report, so quite well and very much focused on committing players forward. Their finishing was very poor, which was a good thing for us because they managed to create some cracking chances. Defensively they played much better, yet a few wobbles could have had us threaten them a little more. Crawley fans can’t be downhearted though, as they seem capable of doing well. Did our tactics work out? The simple answer is yes, it allowed us to hold the game but we failed to create any convincing chances – which I personally feel could have been amended at half-time - but hey, we won. How did the referee perform? As per usual there a few gripes, though largely he didn’t make much of an impact on the game and at League Two level it would suggest an okay performance by any match official. Who do we play next? Lincoln City – a local derby which has already seen a good amount of tickets sold for the away end at Meadow Lane. The game should be lively, though on a personal note I am hoping for a result similar to the Chesterfield game. How should we play them? Defensively if Notts play as we have been we should be okay, I’d like to see Notts build from the back – as this would increase the confidence and provided our defenders a chance to get a proper feel for the game. There’s no doubt in my mind that we must be patient, yet careful at the same time. I actually feel Chesterfield would have been the harder game, yet as this one leads into Mansfield – I think it’s vital that we get the best possible result. So, for Notts it’s about building clear chances and maintaining that steady work-rate we have seen. Regarding changes there’s not much I feel Kevin Nolan should do, leave the line-up without making several changes and just monitor how the game pans out as it happens. Lincoln can’t be written off, yet I think if we assert the right amount of control from the off – the game will be easier to manage and that Notts will create good enough chances to get the points at Meadow Lane. Crawley fan views (from the CTFC Fans Forum) Hampshire Guest: "Total trash. We didn't look like scoring no threat up front at all and usual blunder at the back. It was like watching a games under Yates era. No enjoyment or entertainment what so everybody." (sic) Hickmottsenior: "We did ok to contain them in the first half but in the second we didn't get a look in and looked utterly clueless. Not having a striker is costing us. I think we had a fair shout for a penalty though. As above, this was like traveling back in time to any of the previous few seasons. Crap. I think it's made my mind up about (not) going to Barnet." AlexBH: "Absolutely woeful display in the end. First half was OK, we competed, but didn't threaten. Second half we give a silly goal with another mistake at the back and from then onwards we lost of shape and looked completely desperate. The tactics were awful! Play out from back, no recognised midfielder for the last 15 minutes except smith with 5 attacking players on the pitch. It was schoolboy stuff, lump it up there and then Notts county won all the second balls as we had no midfield to speak of except Smith. Truly woeful showing. I can't remember us having a single shot on target all game. What on earth Harry was trying to achieve with the players out there I don't know. We looked OK first half with Bulman, Smith and Payne in there. Then he goes and takes off Payne and Bulman and we completely lost our shape. We looked desperate and clueless. Harry has got to learn that this playing out from the back doesn't work especially when you don't have midfielders showing for the ball. I thought after some good results against Swindon and Yeovil he was beginning to realise this. Instead we seem to be going backwards." 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 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." 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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