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Why have we changed formation? If someone could tell me why, it would be great. But why? Why have we done this? In the last two recent games, Kevin Nolan has experimented a bit and changed to a new formation, switching from 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1 with three central midfielders including Noor Husin, Matty Virtue and Liam Noble. This means Jon Stead is up front on his own with Jorge Grant and Lewis Alessandra on the wings. However, this recent change hasn’t worked as shown by successive 2-1 losses at home to Exeter and Crawley. Notts’ amazing home record has been worsened by this change in formation and the results that have followed. By all means, this formation can work if you have the right players but this Notts team doesn’t. First you need to have a pacey striker up front - Aguero for Man City for example and Conor Chaplin at Portsmouth. Notts cannot play this formation with Jon Stead up front. He is too slow and too isolated. We have next to no threat up top when we play one striker. Defenders are quick to get the ball off him before he ever has a chance to bring the wingers into play. Next, you need to have a good attacking midfielder to play behind the striker. Someone like Luke Berry. Notts have this in Liam Noble but refuse him to play instead placing Matty Virtue into the role of the No.10 when we can clearly see that he has the same properties of Ryan Yates. We have rushed three new midfielders into the side who have not played with each other before and if we continue to play this formation, they will have to have time to gel. You can’t take that risk in a promotion race especially when Notts have only taken 26 points from their last 19 games. Notts have dropped so many points, that the gap to 4th is now minimal. In both games, when we reverted back to 4-4-2, we immediately looked more of a threat going forward. Virtue showed in the short time he had in the 4-4-2 formation against Crawley and his performance at Lincoln, that he can easily slot into Yates’ role. Just because of Yates’ recall, doesn’t mean we have to introduce a whole new system. It really isn’t needed. You have got to play Hewitt alongside him in midfield because he is the legs of the team. Even when Notts are out on their feet, Hewitt is still running around causing the opposition problems. He doesn’t stop running. These two in a 4-4-2 formation would be fine. Noor Husin looked a lot better suited to our normal formation at the weekend. He became the man pulling the strings when we went 4-4-2 against Exeter, only for him to be replaced. I would like to see Liam Walker start a few games because every time he has come off the bench, he has been quality. We have abandoned tactics that have worked so well for us all season. Why abandon them now? It makes no sense whatsoever. 4-4-2 gave us structure and stability. It gave us a Notts side that scored goals and gave us a Notts side that stood in second place. A striker, a centre back and a backup winger was all that was (and still is) needed and Notts would have been fine. But no, this is Notts and we love to bottle every good opportunity that comes our way. I salute Charlie Slater for his questioning of Nolan’s tactics last night on the radio. I love Nolan for what he has done for this football club so far but we’ve got to go back to basics otherwise we won’t even finish in the play-offs, never mind the automatic promotion places. I am begging that Nolan returns to the formation and the tactics that bought us so much success all season. Look at Brentford. We played 4-4-2 and beat a Championship team. A CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM. Seriously, we have got to go back to 4-4-2 otherwise we can kiss goodbye to promotion. 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.
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.
Notts County have emerged from the crunch clash with League Two leaders Luton Town with a very creditable point in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road. The Magpies fell behind in the first half against the run of play when Johnny Mullins headed home to put the hosts ahead. However, Shola Ameobi hit back with a header of his own to earn a share of the spoils for County, who had goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons to thank for a crucial point-blank save late on. The result keeps the Hatters top of the table on goal difference, with Notts breathing down their necks on the same amount of points after 21 games played. Here is a comprehensive analysis of the game as written by Pride of Nottingham's Chris. Was the result fair? As predicted both teams fought hard, and ultimately cancelled each other out. It was one of those performances which highlighted our promotion credentials. Whilst nothing has been won yet, this result will be one which firmly features in the memory of our progression during the 2017-18 season. Fair result? Absolutely. How did Notts play? First half Notts played some brilliant football and by all accounts we were unfortunate to have conceded when we did. For an away performance this season, it’s got to be up there as one of the most enjoyable in terms of performance and result for fans. The team performed very well and played against Luton exactly as they should have done. How did Luton Town play? They played well, there’s no denying that, but the way that Notts asserted themselves it was always going to be hard and the fact that both teams cancelled each other out, well it highlights how good both sides were respectively. Luton fans should not be disappointed or disgruntled by the result either. Did our tactics work out? The tactics were spot on throughout the game, and the decisions during the match made it hard for Luton. Notts literally matched them and of course we kept them guessing, whilst protecting our weaknesses. Tactically I would say this was spot on. How did the referee perform? Reasonable performance by the referee, there’s been little complaints and I think this shows just how efficiently he officiated the game. Who do we play next? Grimsby Town – they’re making a solid push for the play-offs and seem to have shaken off their awkward start to the season. This will be another difficult test but one we should be well prepared for at Meadow Lane. How should we play them? It’s important that we approach the game with balance, at the back we will have to steady the flow of the game and up-top it’s vital that we don’t waste any good chances that are created. The battle again will be based on the side which retains the control and has the most influence within midfield, so the game has got to be approached sensibly and well prepared. Grimsby are most likely to try and break quickly against us, with interlacing balls and runs which will get into those awkward positions. Most likely, they’ll attempt to break the game down in three ways. Firstly, by being direct, so it’s important we stand with play and attempt to win the first/second ball. Secondly, by countering us on the break – which will mean we will have to be mindful of how they attack from this situation and have men aware at the back to handle the space they attempt to create. Thirdly, I suspect they will be patient and careful with how they pass. If they revert to making simple passes – i.e neat one-two’s and other methods to get forward. Notts will have to assure any ground that is won is well protected. Controlling the game will be easier if we naturally score within the first half, the second half is always when things to start to click. I would try to get a feel for the game and press in the manner that keeps them on the back foot. We have two home games which will be key to our winter run and of course the potential promotion push, let’s create a fantastic atmosphere and finally have a Christmas worth celebrating. You Pies! Luton Town fan views from the Luton Town Forum Madpig In the end that was a fair result. County matched us all the way. I can see why they're with us. There were few real chances and both defences bosses the game. Where I think they really did their homework was in midfield. We were never given time or space to get things flowing, leaving Hylton and Elliott Lee to make their own chances. E.Lee was a constant menace to them, couldn't be bullied off the ball at all. Halton suffered his usual brutal treatment by their defenders but never let it get to him. In defence we were superb, and Mullins was my Mom, he really has become a fine player. We're top, unbeaten in ages and agonisingly one short of our 50th league goal of the season. Good day in all. ODTT The game had plenty of ebb and flow to it and was enjoyable for it. As suspected beforehand any of the three possible outcomes were possible but a draw about right consequently. I thought our defence was very nervy in the early stages and looked vulnerable. But looked a lot more composed after we had gone ahead somewhat against the run of play. Our midfield didn't shine as much as we have come to expect and seemed well covered. O Lee was particularly anonymous I thought and Berry and Shinnie seemed to play well advanced and never seemed to be any great distance apart. Rea did his defensive duties well but appeared hesitant to carry the ball out from deep with ample space in front of him. The two or three times he did push out with the ball he panicked when releasing. E Lee had a fabulous game, really put in a good shift and never gave the opposing central defenders a moments peace. Surprised in how many headed knock-ons he managed against bigger opponents. Hylton worked hard as well and pulled his markers hither and thither. Not sure what brutal treatment you speak of MP. He gives as good as he gets in a physical area of the game. The 10/15 minute spell of exquisite football we played soon after half-time was magnificent and worth the entrance fee alone. County hardly got a touch and went very ragged. The save their keeper made from Mullins late on was outstanding and got them the point. 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.
A dramatic late winner from Ryan Yates kept Notts County level on points with Luton Town at the top of League Two thanks to a 2-1 win over Colchester United at Meadow Lane. The hosts had gone in front in the 68th minute when Shola Ameobi converted from the spot after Mikael Mandron was adjudged to have held Yates inside the area. Mandron had the chance to make amends for his earlier mistake when Ryan Jackson was fouled by Jorge Grant, but saw his penalty superbly saved by Ross Fitzsimons. However, the U's did manage to draw level in the 89th minute when Mandron picked out the run of Sanmi Odelusi who kept his composure to slot into the bottom corner of the net. Notts did not let their heads drop and were rewarded in added time when Yates headed in at the back post from Grant's corner to send Meadow Lane barmy. Here is Chris's detailed tactical analysis of the Meadow Lane encounter. Was the result fair? I think the first half would have made me sway more towards a draw if Notts hadn’t been so impressive in the second half. Despite the iffy calls from the match officials, I would say the win was deserved. How did Notts play? Awful within the first half, it was stagnant and very depressing to watch. The defence just didn’t pressure or deal with anything and up top we weren’t effective at all. This was all put right within the second with a spectacular performance which honestly I felt warranted more goals for the Magpies – however it was entertaining on both parts and Colchester gave as good as they got. How did Colchester United play? No end product, they tended to overwork the ball which was fortunate enough for us. Don’t get me wrong, they played well and attacked with flair befitting of a Championship team – yet they never actually had much edge when it really mattered. They was organised very well and as a unit they did fine. Did our tactics work out? Reasonably, yet things did change within the second half. We really do need to learn how to break sides down in a more effective manner without waiting for the second half in order to do it – if you remove the penalty, the play was very dangerous at times and Notts played with a sense of confidence which we are becoming accustomed too. I would just like to see it a little more during both halves. How did the referee perform? It’s lucky I’m not an expert otherwise I would get fined for my opinion of the referee and match officials. I think they turned up with Richard Duffy, as they all seemed to be sleeping. The referee sided with Colchester, he issued a very soft card to Notts (Matt Tootle) – yet somehow managed to avoid booking several bad challenges, including assault to Jorge Grant. Then we have the incorrect decisions, and favourable free-kicks. They were dire! Enough said… Who do we play next in the league? Luton Town – it’s going to be one of those games, I can tell now. We’ll either do an Exeter City and come out of it looking very strong or they’ll do a Coventry City and turn us over. How should we play them? The key thing will be all about how we defend, if we sit back – put our feet up and invite pressure, well I don’t think we will have any nails left. It’s important that we press, cover and ultimately defend in a manner which makes it hard for Luton Town. If we allow Luton to play as we did Colchester or a number of other teams, well it’s not going to be enjoyable. There’s a very good chance that both teams effectively cancel each other out, it’s one of them that it’s just so hard to call right now. If we play to our strengths and allow the midfield to do their job, and press in a manner which highlights our conviction and belief that we are capable of winning any team within League Two. It will naturally see chances created, it will just be a case of who’s playing up top? If we have a little bit of pace this will most likely aid us, if Jon Stead is still injured and Jonatyhan Forte too. Well, I don’t know – I can’t see us holding the ball up much, so in most likely event we will need to move and use the ball well. Colchester fan views (from The U'Sual) durham_exile: Absolutely gutted and having just seen the highlights we definitely lost 3 points when we deserved a point at the very least. Still years ago we played Buryat Layer Road we were outplayed by the Shakers but managed to win with a Lindsay Smith goal, Bury were hard done by just as we were today but both teams were promoted at the end of the season. Up the U's. gerry_us: I hate to say "told you so" but U's didn't turn up for the second half until too late. I can't believe that half time talk would have been of a credible draw but County's team talk would have had to be astounding to warrant what happened second half. We did not mount one attack for the first twenty minutes of the second half and just invited County to attack us with renewed enthusiasm especially as they were very second best first half. Pressure mounted on us until the inevitable. Mandron apparently gave up the penalty but not clear enough to comment more. Only being 1-0 down did we return to the earlier endeavours with the resultant penalty award for us. All around were shouting "not Mandron" and how right we were...awful penalty. However continued in attacking ways and finally scored the goal of the game on 88 minutes. Still we failed to protect what would have been a well deserved point when we poorly defended a late corner in 93 minute. You just couldn't make it up. When will we play for 90 minutes? If? we play as we did for first half for the remainder of the season anything is possible. If we play as we did in second half goodness knows what could happen. Just an aside, excellent support from 350 travelling supporters and all were still in the ground at the final whistle. 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.
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. 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So after the diversions of the FA Cup (a 4-2 win over Bristol Rovers) and the EFL Trophy (a 2-1 defeat at Lincoln City), Notts County get back to the main task of league football. The Magpies proudly sit atop League Two and will be hoping to maintain their spot at the summit on Saturday when they take on Stevenage away. Chris has written up a scouting report for the game and discusses how Notts should line up and approach their opponents at Broadhall Way. History Notts County and Stevenage have only ever met 11 times, the first meeting coming on 17 September 2011 at Broadhall Way (known as the Lamex Stadium) - the result on that day was 2-0 to the Magpies. Our last meeting was on 4 March last season, and it proved a humbling day as Stevenage claimed a 3-0 win at Broadhall Way. Our head-to-head record is five wins for Notts, five for Stevenage, and one draw. On a knife's edge then. Run-down of their last six features Saturday 30th September – Stevenage 2 Port Vale 0 Saturday 7th October – Crewe Alexandra 1 Stevenage 0 Saturday 14th October – Luton Town 7 Stevenage 1 Tuesday 17th October – Stevenage 3 Accrington Stanley 2 Saturday 21st October – Stevenage 1 Forest Green Rovers 2 Saturday 28th October – Yeovil Town 3 Stevenage 0 The Players – Fact Sheet Highest Goal Scorers: Matt Godden 8, Danny Newton 6, Jonathan Smith 4 and Ben Kennedy 4. Persistent Foulers: Jonathan Smith 5 yellow cards, Dale Gorman 3 yellow cards and 1 red card, Luke Wilkinson 2 yellow cards and 1 red card and Joe Martin 2 yellow cards. The Key Players Matt Godden is a very confident striker at this level, he enjoys working off the opposition defence and has the ability to find time within key areas due to his exceptions understanding of the game. His ability to read the game is what makes him stand out along with his natural shooting ability. His strike partner Danny Newton is also a threat due to his knack of shooting from distance. He’s more of a standard player, yet his non-league days have aided his work-rate as he is a very hard worker both on and off the ball. Joe Martin and Thomas Pett provide the creativity within midfield, they have goals within themselves but also are key to Stevenage’s attacks. Style of Play, Strengths, and Weaknesses Stevenage build using simple passing which allows them to build whilst having options to pack out in order to cause difficulty in terms of defending from an opposition point of view. They play the ball quite well on the ground when allowed, however they can revert to route-one football and look a very capable side within the same process. Attacking-wise they have a real time spirit, which allows them to have a good understanding on how best to use the ball. On the ball their organisation is quite good, but when pressured at the back, the defence tends to create their own problems. At the back they are a very physical team which can draw fouls, however they allow their midfield to be the creative side and as such defensively they are quite reliable. I do feel that drawing free-kicks from their defenders will be a way whereby Notts can get the ball into effective areas, whilst any player confident to have a go at goal will surely have them being mindful. Notts simply have to play the ball on the ground, move within space and just overload their back line with our pace and aerial ability. Hoofing the ball will only play into their hands, which will allow them to dictate the tempo and take hold of the game – so we must be confident within possession and understand that they will get wary when pressure is asserted onto them from a defensive point of view. Playing with an attacking mind will take the edge of the game and allow it to open up, so let’s hope that players such as Jorge Grant, Shola Ameobi and Matt Tootle can find the space to influence the game. Share your thoughts about this scouting report 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.
The performances so far from Notts County during the 2017-18 season haven’t been the ‘most complete’, something which Kevin Nolan has admitted himself. However every fan should give credit to Nolan for where we are, sitting second in the league after 14 games with 9 of those being wins is very impressive. Especially after the turmoil of the last few seasons, there will always be a transitional period, and I do honestly feel bad performances are part and parcel of that. This said I do feel we should abandon the hoof ball tactics, as it invites pressure onto ourselves by being poor in possession. I feel some of the best performances that have come from Notts during this campaign came by having played the ball on the ground. Nolan was bemused at the start of the season after his side was labelled ‘a route one football’ team. He said: "If someone is under pressure, then put it in an area that is going to give our forwards or a winger an opportunity but hurt the opposition in the process. If you are a centre-half what is the ball you hate? It’s not one coming on to your head, it’s one in behind. "It’s not about putting balls onto Jon Stead’s head because that’s not his game. A lot of people maybe thought his game was that. "For people to say that’s what we want to do is ludicrous." The problem is we are more reliant of hoofing it than we are at keeping calm in procession, or against the run of play. In recent weeks, fans have suggested that the problem stems from the attack, mostly that the strikers aren’t doing their jobs – yet I wholeheartedly disagree with this. We all know that there’s a limited amount of service to our strike force, especially in games where we struggle, and the route one football has perhaps helped at times – yet it's largely hindering the progression we can truly make. Nolan has also said that he doesn’t want Notts to pass for the sake of it, something which reinforces the fact that we are reliant on hoofing the ball. "I’ve never been a manager who likes passing it for passing sake," he said. "There are managers out there who like to keep it, then look at the possession stats afterwards and say we kept it for 80 percent of the game. But I’ve been involved in matches against United, Arsenal etc and they’ve had the ball 75 percent of the game, but we’ve won 1-0. "That’s the only stat that matters and that’s because we got it right defensively, and we did the basics right. So in that 25 percent possession, we’ve scored a goal." In recent weeks I would argue that we aren’t getting the basics right at all, and in this division you can’t rely on the odd goal as a cushion – you have to be clinical and defensively solid. Passing allows you to grow in confidence, players will naturally get a feel for the game and it largely assists with setting the tempo. Most teams win games simply because they handled these simple facts, whilst allowing the pressure to be absorbed away from the defence – clearing the ball and attempting to force the play only returns frustration and it really does play into the advantage of the opposition. I have spoken about the hard work which all the players and staff have put in, and it always seems like going top of the League Two table is the issue – yet we must believe in what we do. I really hope Nolan finds a way to get the team focusing more on how we proceed with games, rather than just hacking at the ball – if you watch the training highlights released by the club, virtually everything is played on the deck, so why is it different when we go into games? For me it’s not passing for the ‘sake of it’, it’s a case of ensuring we are doing enough to protect ourselves. Teams which focus on hoofing it generally fall under those that lack quality, we know Notts have depth and capable players – I also mentioned it earlier about how when we do pass along the floor how much better we look. Losing to Crewe means very little, it's all about how we respond but we have been stuttering since playing Mansfield Town at Field Mill towards the end of last month. 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.
Notts County's season continues to move in an upwards trajectory after an impressive display - albeit with a temporary blip - in a 4-2 win at Wycombe Wanderers in Saturday's League Two encounter at Adams Park. Richard Duffy opened the scoring with a header and some comical defending led to Adam El Abd scoring an own goal to see the Magpies two goals up early on, a position retained at the break. Wycombe, to their credit, fought back and clawed two goals back, but perseverance from Notts saw Jonathan Forte claw his side back into the lead before he laid the groundwork for Lewis Alessandra to add a killer fourth. In this article, Pride of Nottingham looks at several aspects of the game, from the performance to whether the result was fair, and how to build on from a successful weekend. Was the result fair? It’s refreshing to write this - Notts fully deserved the win and, although claiming all three points was made tougher by allowing Wycombe back into the game, County fully deserved to power on and claim the win, so absolutely fair! How did Notts play? Notts put together a fine performance in the first half, with the pressure heavily preventing Wycombe gaining any forward momentum. The opening goal saw a surge from Notts, and for the most part the football was bright. In the second half, we saw that jagged play return and Notts looked out of the game after conceding twice. Yet things clicked after Jonathan Forte scored and Notts seemed hungry for more goals! How did Wycombe Wanderers play? First half they were simply outclassed, and looked certain to fall victim to a heavy defeat – yet Gareth Ainsworth managed to spark a temporary revival which saw the host take the game to the visitors. Overall they put together a heroic performance but fell short when it truly mattered. Did our tactics work out? Kevin Nolan introduced Jorge Grant to the starting 11, and applied tactics, which would cast doubts over the ‘route one’ claims – in the first half Notts played some very good football, showing no fear against Wycombe and working hard. A relapse briefly, mostly due to a loss of focus – would eventually see two substitutions fix anything that may not have been working. The tactics from the word go, to the in-game plans worked a treat! How did the referee perform? There were some dubious decisions, yet he largely allowed the football to flow throughout the game and would only fall to some very minor criticism from me. Who do we play next? Accrington Stanley, who are they? Don’t forget that the game is played on Friday 25th due to the Forest game. How should we play them? It’s hard to consider any changes after the recent results, and performances, there are very few things to suggest. Others may wish to see Adam Collin dropped for Ross Fitzsimons but this is extremely unlikely to happen. Given the opportunity to add a bit of pace upfront instead of Jon Stead is the only change I would suggest. Notts must continue the direct approach, whilst maintaining the spirit to score and of course ensuring the play stems from the floor. I would suggest that centre of the park is the ideal area for us to explore, as there should be more time to create chances there. Wycombe fans view (courtesy of Gasroom.org): fedup1980: There is no denying that the quality of our football is very poor regardless of the goals. Shev: Left ourselves too much to do. Three of their four goals were horribly soft. At least we are finding the net - 7 in 3 games, but 8 conceded is not going to cut it. bill_stickers: I'm less angry at the 4-2 than I was at 2-0. At least we played some footie second half and it was entertaining. Their third was undeserved but the fourth just shows how poor we are defensively compared to two years ago. Shev: It did show something to get back to 2-2, but it is a shame we look so wobbly every time a ball is knocked into our box. There are going to be a lot more high scoring games, seeing as so far both teams are guaranteed two goals just for showing up. Glenactico: Similar game to Cheltenham. Stinking start left us chasing the game, then we stuff up the comeback with some woeful defending. I'd venture that our attacking football was better than County's. Second half we were excellent and looked a real threat. Could easily have put ourselves 3-2 ahead. Defensively we look horrible. Not winning enough in the air and Brown really hasn't inspired any confidence at all. wformation: A disappointing result today, but the second half did show that we can play football which is enjoyable to watch. Unfortunately, the OG in the first half and the third goal, following a foul close to our penalty area, undid the improvement. If the squad maintain the style we played in the second half I think the rest of the season could be very exciting and certainly enjoyable. Already we have scored 7 but conceded 8. So we can't say we are not seeing many goals. With the injured players back who knows how much better we might get. COYB's Share your thoughts about this tactical 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.
Notts County began the 2017/18 League Two season away at Coventry City in a highly-anticipated clash at the Ricoh Arena. A total of 1,727 members of the Black and White Army descended upon the West Midlands to see the Magpies open their account for the campaign following a summer of rebuilding both on the pitch and behind the scenes. As it turned out, the Sky Blues were in inspired form following their humiliating relegation from League One last season, and the teenage prodigy Jodi Jones rattled a hat-trick past Notts for a 3-0 final result. In this article, Pride of Nottingham looks at several aspects of the game, from the performance to whether the result was fair, and how to move on from this. Was the result fair? The final score reflects badly on Notts, the players only have themselves to blame with how poorly we allowed Coventry City to wrap up the game. There’s no denying, the Sky Blues easily deserved the win. How did Notts County play? Notts enjoyed bright spells early on, yet there were issues with support which meant key areas were disconnected. You could argue that the opening day nerves simply got the better of Notts, or that the game was ruined by the poor officials, but quite simply Notts didn’t play well enough as a unit at all. How did Coventry City play? They played quite well, however if you remove Jodi Jones from the equation, they had no real threat. Whilst most Notts fans like myself didn’t appreciate how easily their players went down, which included outright diving, Coventry did pass very well and looked to make use of the space available to them (which at times was huge pockets of the pitch). Overall they played okay. Did our tactics work out? I can see what Kevin Nolan had tried to do, however his starting 11 was massively flawed. We had nobody who could dictate the tempo, or be direct in areas where we just needed to get forward. Starting two up front was a welcome addition to me, however in the game the age up front was clear for all. Notts needed pace there desperately and I left feeling like we had underestimated Coventry City. How did the referee perform? Very poorly, he allowed Coventry to milk the play and awarded them virtually every opportunity that one of their players was shot down by the invisible sniper in the ground. Honestly, I don’t believe he was very fair and he largely spoiled the game. His efforts at taking lengthy spells to talk to players, and his inability to allow the game to flow was disappointing – otherwise don’t get me started on him! Who do we play next? Our next league game is against Chesterfield at Meadow Lane, the players desperately need to re-group here and claim the points available. I would say that a win is the encouragement we need otherwise it could be a very disappointing start to the 2017-18 League Two season. How should we play them? I’d like us to start with a bit of energy up front, I would rest Jon Stead and replace him for one of our younger options. I would certainly start Jorge Grant from the start, with possibly Haydn Hollis starting too. Despite Richard Duffy being the captain, I would drop him but this isn’t likely to happen at all. I’m unsure if using full backs and three defenders would work, at this stage it’s hard to gauge what could work – yet I think it’s important we phase our attacks better and offer the defence as much support as possible. Perhaps we could try to counter attack Chesterfield as Coventry did us? We need to cover the space behind us for sure. Here is what Coventry fans thought about the game, courtesy of Sky Blues Talk: AlansEyes: Jones gets a hat trick, yet I'm sure James Collins will still be mentioned on here a few times over the next few days. I was joking with my 20 goals from Jones this season, but then again... Mick Quinn. Dion Dublin. Jodi Jones. The CCFC opening day hat trick club. What a time to be alive. Astute: So happy. Fair play to Jones. That will give his confidence a massive boost. And that is one strong Duck that we have. I hppe there will be room in the team for him to start. He will s**t the life out teams at this level. But the major bonus for me is O'Brien. Confident and he can catch the ball. He seems to know when to stay and when to come for the ball. The defence seemed to cope with the long ball most of the time. Does anyone still think Doyle wasn't a good signing? Skybluetony176: Great opening day result. Well done the team, well done MR and especially well done JJ. Delighted for the lad. Never doubted his skill just felt he needed some belief and better decision making. Hopefully he's turned a big corner today and his career can really kick on and we can benefit from that. Johnnythespider: Always good to start with a win, hats off to Jodi. Impressed by O'Brien in goal and the battling when needed, considering it was practically a new team things can only get better. I hope. Kingokings: Great game and it was a 3-0 game. Notts county were poor and I would be dissapointed if I was a fan. Opening day I would expect a lot more. The thing is notts county will probably finish around mid table so there is worse to come than them. Fair play to us and jones was terrific. Not too sure on Beavon and mcnulty to get the goals for promotion but now the duck is here and looked great then maybe a problem solved. Looked solid at the back for once and never thought we were going to concede really (partly due to county being poor) centre mid looked fiery and ran their socks off. Here is to a decent season after that. Share your thoughts about this tactics 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. 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