These things are a downright pain to write when things go as well they did yesterday afternoon at Meadow Lane.
September 4th, 2010 might well be seen in the near future as the day that Craig Short’s gameplan came together and he found his first choice starting XI. At the eight time of asking maybe, but surely all that matters is that he got there at all?
At a time when many have questioned the need for the new manager to change what was an already impressive side, it was perhaps fitting that it was three of last season’s strongest players that should seal a 4-0 win over an underpar Yeovil side.
Early contender for Player Of The Season Craig Westcarr opened the scoring in the first half. A rejuvenated Ben Davies, free of the distractions of now abandoned move to Derby County scored a first half brace. Whilst the returning Lee Hughes volleyed home an impressive fourth to put the seal on the best performance under Craig Short so far.
It was one of those days where everything just clicked. Krystian Pearce, my personal man of the match mopped everything that came his way, likewise John Thompson. John Harley again impressed with some great moments of interplay with Davies.
Stuart Nelson was once again strengthening his claim for the number one jersey with his second clean sheet in as many Meadow Lane games. Strong and confident when coming off his line, Nelson has also began to take charge of his backline. In the absence of Kasper Schmeichel this season, Nelson is working hell for leather to ease the pain left by the great Dane’s absence.
The enthusiasm that Lee Hughes brings to the side can surely no longer be questioned either, not least by myself as i had worried about breaking up the verging-on-successful partnership of Kevin Smith (who again, impressed massively) and Jake Jervis. Last season’s top scorer was digging deep into his bag of tricks throughout the game, most notably the backheel that led Ben Davies’ first, or the chest down for Super Ben to get his second.
The biggest question to remain now is how to deal with those games where we’ll be without Hughesy. With his style of play, it stands to reason that he’ll inevitably pick up suspensions, and he’s already missed three games through injury this season. Would the Jervis & Smith partnership have come together well enough in those games, or is County’s reliance bordering on Wayne Rooney/England levels of dependency?
As downright fantastic as the 4-0 scoreline suggests it was, as ever we need to keep things in perspective. With no disrespect meant, Yeovil probably aren’t a side that’ll be pushing the sides at the top end of the table come the closing months of the season.
Next week Notts County travel to Charlton Athletic, a really stern test for a team brimming with confidence after seven goals in two league games with key players of last season returning to form.
It’s early days for sure, but that didn’t stop people calling for the head of Craig Short. So why not look at the table?
A win at The Valley on Saturday could conceivably see Notts County on top of the table. A table where none of the big guns like Huddersfield, Southampton or Sheffield Wednesday are setting the division alight, and where fellow promoted sides Bournemouth and Rochdale continue to upset the odds.
The league seems to be as wide open as it possibly could be even at this early stage in proceedings. With Bournemouth yesterday taking a 2-2 at Huddersfield’s Galpharm Stadium, County’s 3-3 draw last weekend seems all the more significant. What happens next week now, already, is huge!
It may have taken Craig Short a few attempts, but on yesterday’s performance, we at least now have a side capable of making inroads in the third tier.