The Half-Term Report

We’re now officially half way through Notts County’s League One schedule for 2011/12 and find the side in tenth – a decent distance away from the same time last season!

Whilst form of late (including defeat today) has been a major concern, there have been many positives to come from the campaign – here’s the pick of the statistics that back up that statement.

If you missed it, here is the previous facts and figures roundup I did in the Summer.

In the 2010/11 season, Notts reached the halfway point of their campaign on January 22nd with a defeat at home to Carlisle. By that point, County had picked up nine wins, lost 11 and drawn just the three games – scoring 30 goals in the process. They sat in 18th place, three points out of the relegation zone.

Today’s defeat at Oldham Athletic (a 3-0 defeat last season) sees Notts resting in 10th, having won nine (same as last year at half way), drawn four (one more) and lost ten (one less).

The graph below details the progress made over the last two seasons, with the black line being this year, the grey denoting last:

The home record for 2010/11 by now was a respectable seven wins – even with Notts in 18th position, this record was only bettered by another five sides in the division. At the same time though, only one side had lost more than County’s five games at home by that point.

The position in the league this year would be even stronger were in not for the 13 points dropped so far from winning positions.

Notts need 8  more league goals this year to equal how many they scored for the whole of last year. With 23 more games left to play, it will only take four more goals at home, and four more goals away to top last season’s totals.

Up top in 2010/11, Ben Burgess and Karl Hawley could only muster one goal between them (Big Ben at Bournemouth in August). This season, they’ve amassed six goals in League One – four for Burgess and two for Hawley which are complimented by his three in cup competitions also. An improvement – but it was never exactly going to get worse!

They’re of course joined by Lee Hughes, who has provided seven goals in League One already – six short of last season’s 13 goals for the entire league campaign. Jeff Hughes is Notts’ joint-top scorer so far this season with seven goals – the most goals we had from a midfielder last season was Ben Davies who netted five times before leaving in January.

Obviously we’ve seen an improvement in goals from all over the field. Last year saw 11 goals scored in the league from defence and midfield. We’ve already had 17 and we’re only now going into January!

Honourable mention for Christian Montano who came in on loan from West Ham and chipped in with four goals during his time at Meadow Lane.

From defence, Krystian Pearce is already credited with three goals – as opposed to his solitary strike last year.

On the assists front, last term Ben Davies laid on seven goals, with Craig Westcarr supplying six. Already this year, Notts have Alan Sheehan on five, and both Alan Judge on four, and Jeff Hughes on five.

In the 2010/11 season, Notts finished “top” of the chart for ill-discipline. So far this season they sit in 11th spot – below the likes of Tranmere Rovers and Huddersfield Town who have questioned the physical nature of Notts County’s play.

Three red cards so far this season (Neal Bishop, Julian Kelly and Ishmel Demontagnac) should hopefully mean Martin Allen’s men will be nowhere near to last seasons final tally of 12!

Bish was the County player to commit the most fouls last season – and he again leads the way.

The encouragement being offered to the players to get forward and try and shoot is obviously paying great dividends also.

Captain Neal Bishop, Krystian Pearce, Karl Hawley, Ben Burgess and Alan Judge have already registered more shots on target this season than they did for the whole of last.

Looking at Meadow Lane attendances, and taking note of the eight teams that Notts have played at home both this season and last – the average is marginally down.

When Charlton came to Meadow Lane last season for a televised game on a Friday night, the attendance reached 8,141 boosted by a kids for a quid initiative. This year 6,397 attended the Saturday fixture.

Games against Walsall and Rochdale, both Tuesday night (Rochdale originally a Boxing Day fixture) games last year saw rises of 1,500 for the same fixture being played on a Saturday. Walsall’s attendance was no doubt boosted thanks to a draw at Juventus just 48 hours before.

This season’s Leyton Orient match – on the last shopping weekend before Christmas – wasn’t aided by the Kids For A Quid promotion.

Last season, on the back of five games in the FA Cup, Notts were only able to win on one occasion – against Charlton Athletic following the 1-1 draw with Manchester City at Meadow Lane.

With two games in the competition played so far, Notts have lost both rebound fixtures. Firstly following up a 4-1 beating of Accrington Stanley with a scrappy 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield Town’s Galpharm Stadium. Then came another away defeat at Yeovil Town having overcome Sutton United 2-0 the week previously in the FA Cup Second Round.

Notts will travel to Bournemouth on January 14th looking to buck a worrying trend a week after facing Doncaster Rovers in the cup’s third round.

Not a chance. Notts followed up their 1-1 away goals victory at the Juventus Arena with an professional 2-1 victory over Walsall at Meadow Lane less than 48 hours after their Turin game.

On the field, so far Allen has called on the service of 20 players, compared to the 38 who represented the club last season.

The team last year, led at the time by Paul Ince and Craig Short previously were on 30 points. Victory against Scunthorpe on November 26th saw Martin Allen’s men pass that particular target.

Martin Allen’s 30 (and counting) games in charge now make him Notts’ longest serving manager since Charlie McParland having surpassed Steve Cotterill’s reign of 18 games, and Paul Ince’s 24-match tenure.

The Summer was a period littered with missed transfers targets – particularly up front. Notts have not struggled for goals like they did last year, but these were the options that were so nearly brought in to bolster the attacking options – a number of whom have been able to find the net regularly for their new clubs:

Billy Mehmet
Played for Notts as a trialist against Corby United
Now at Perth Glory in Australia
One goal in nine league appearances

Clayton Donaldson
Summer transfer target
Opted for more money at Brentford
4 goals in 23, including an equaliser at Meadow Lane

Charlie MacDonald
Summer transfer target
Agreed terms, chose MK Dons
Their top scorer with 6 goals in 13 games

Shefki Kuqi
The un-named deadline day target
Changed his demands en route to Meadow Lane
Oldham’s top scorer with 8 goals in 17 games

Marlon Harewood
Long-term target for much of the Summer
Opted for a last minute move to China’s Guangzhou R&F
Netted four goals in ten games of six month spell

Lee Miller
Loanee last season, almost came back on loan
Unknown if he was summer target, is now at Carlisle United
Another top scorer with 8 goals in 17 appearances

Paul Benson
Summer transfer target, couldn’t agree personal terms
Remained with Charlton Athletic and didn’t start a game
Saw a number of moves collapse before today joining Swindon Town

Enoch Showumni
Neither Notts or his club Tranmere could agree a fee
Remained with Rovers and has been mostly injured this season
1 goal in 15 appearances

And then there’s Craig Westcarr – sold on to Chesterfield for an undisclosed fee. He’s netted six goals in 19 appearances (including one against Notts) and is currently the top scorer on their books having seen Leon Clarke go back to Swindon Town.

West Ham forward Christian Montano’s two month spell at Meadow Lane came to an end when he was recalled only to be packed off to Swindon – where he scored one goal in four appearances. He is now on loan at Dagenham & Redbridge where he already has three goals in five starts having recently seen his loan extended until the middle of January.

Interesting statistics from elsewhere in the Football League:

Up until December 10th, Notts County were the last side to take points away from Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium. Since that game on January 15th, the Saints had won all 18 home fixtures in League One and the Championship before the visit of Blackpool.

At the end of November, Sunderland sacked their manager Steve Bruce. Since Notts’ trip to the Stadium Of Light in the FA Cup last season – Sunderland picked up only six wins in the following 11 months with just two coming at home.

Paul Ince is yet to find work anywhere in football since his dismissal from Meadow Lane. Surprised? His final points per game ratio stood at 1.08 across 24 games. After 30 games in charge at Notts County, Martin Allen’s ratio is 1.3 points per game.

Defeat at Huddersfield on Monday will signal five straight League One defeats – the same run which saw Paul Ince fired.

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