Rumours of Notts County’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Ok so it’s massively premature right now to make such a bold statement on the back of yesterday’s result. But a win is a win, and we’re on the board at least.
Oh come on, as if it’s ever that simple.
Concentrating on the positives first though, Notts showed great character yesterday in victory. Daggers came to Meadow Lane to make amends for their two defeats last season and the visitors were unfortunate not to find themselves at least two goals up by half time.
You’d struggle to make a case that Notts even showed up for the first period in fact, and they’ll be grateful for the efforts of Stuart Nelson in goal as well as the inside of the goalpost! Nelson was putting in the sort of performance that make it clear that Rob Burch has a fight on his hands to get the number one jersey back upon his return.
In the absence of the injured Lee Hughes, County lined up with a 4-5-1 formation which on paper did absolutely no favours for the currently much-maligned Ben Burgess up front. But much to the big man’s credit, he came more into the game as it progressed and showed glimpses of the form that makes me believe we have a player we should feel privileged to have.
The first half was largely an error strewn, cautious, and nervy affair. for the side in black and white. The lack of confidence on the back of two sound hammerings was there for all to see.
It gets frustrating when you can think how the team would’ve played certain areas last season. You can picture Ben Davies running on the overlap, or Craig Westcarr running at defenders, but this wasn’t the case at all early on yesterday, with Craig Short’s XI preferring to hold back. Daggers would take the opportunity to push up high and leave the Notts backline to pass amongst themselves for periods which didn’t help the nerves of a restless Kop.
Second half, was a different story. The side came out and got stuck in to the Daggers. Burgess started to link up well with Davies and Westcarr, and within the first five minutes Notts had made two attempts on goal, double what we’d seen in the first half at least!
Shortly after Man Of The Match Craig Westcarr had slotted home Notts’ first League goal of the season, having been put through by an improving Davies. Harsh for Dagenham & Redbridge to swallow no doubt but it was a much better Notts that came out for the second half.
There were still the awkward moments of play where the ball would be stuck in the Notts’ final third, the odd moments of two players going for the same ball, but largely better none the less. Thommo was in total control at the back, which spurred the rest of the side on to assert themselves better than they had previously this season.
The final whistle as you can imagine, came as a massive relief at the end of the four minutes of added time, but where the official had found those will forever go unexplained.
Much like most of his decisions then! Both sides will come away from the game bemused at some of the refereeing decisions on the day. Not least, the time where Ben Davies effectively caught the ball with both hands on half way!
Over the course 90 minutes it was still a game of more questions than answers. It’s still far from the Notts that we know that can tear opposition to pieces. The new boys, whilst individually might put in the good performances, are yet to gel significantly with the squad of players they’ve joined.
This itself is a point of frustration for many because they looked like a cohesive unit in the pre-season games against much tougher opposition than we’re currently facing.
Ray Trew had said in the last week that based on the result yesterday that the club might go back into the transfer market before the window closes. So in some respects, yesterday could be considered a win/win situation. We got the win, but not in the sort of fashion that would please Mr Trew from the Pavis.
What would concern me is that just as the players start to show promise on the field after an injection of a lot of new blood, that we go and mix things up again with more new players.
With all this said, it’s too easy to let it overshadow the fact that for the second time in the absence of Hughes, we’ve won a game. We now have three points on the board at least and something to build on in the coming weeks.
Starting next week, with a visit to a firing on all cylinders Bournemouth, who’ve netted eight goals in their last two games.