A year ago today some 400 or so fans were at Arnold Town for a night that ultimately would cost Notts County their League One status.
As Ryan Krause tangled with Jimmy Spencer in the host’s penalty area, he took with him the majority of the season of our most technically gifted footballer in years. We couldn’t even get close to replacing him.
A year, a manager, a relegation and a dozen new faces later however we’re a little more optimistic about the future. Last night a return to the scene of the crime saw two different XI’s lined up for the first and second halves with each offering contrasting options to the other.
The first half was spearheaded by Spencer and new signing Jon Stead and they were quickly showing signs of a decent partnership. It was Stead who picked up the first goal of the game, slotting in a cross from Spencer who had just had a well struck effort parried. Were it not for the Arnold Town goalkeeper then Notts might have had four or five goals before half-time.
Level of competition accepted, Julian Jenner had the beating of his man every time down the right flank, Gill Swerts and Rob Milsom were running the midfield, meanwhile Alan Smith was doing a fine job of breaking the play up in the centre of the defence before pinging quarterback-like balls up field.
It might have made for a more entertaining contest were it not for a referee thinking he was in a mid-90’s whistle crew at a rave, or a linesman intent on getting any small aircraft overhead to try and land on the pitch. The stop start nature did little for the contest though.
If the first half was a display of industrial nature, the second was all about brutal incision as Ricardo Moniz fielded a considerably younger, pacier side.
Within minutes of the restart it was already 3-0 with Kyle De Silva notching two goals in a minute with his first touches of the ball in County colours. He’d add another two by the time the night was through, and already Notts fans had one to keep an eye on this year.
De Silva is hailed as one for the future, one that will play a key role in the club’s entry of a reserve team this year and it isn’t difficult to see why. Also up front was Adam Campbell who headed home from eight yards to get on the scoresheet. Meanwhile youth team graduate Lartay Sarpong pounced to get on the scoresheet, as did Curtis Thompson to finish off seven unanswered goals in the second half.
Worth noting also that the 8-0 scoreline was a repeat of the one we had against the same side six years ago with Munto looming on the horizon.