Annual Review 2020
To say 2020 was an unusual year for football is an understatement. Aside two world wars never has the football program undergone the type of upheaval experienced during the last year.
A curtailed season settled by points per game saw Notts secure a place in the National League play off’s and an opportunity to return to league football at the first attempt and then a stutterring new season without fans but littered with virus victims and dodgy online streams.
2020 will be a year for the history books but one many will want to put behind them.
The Magpies started the year with an uninspiring goalless draw at Maidenhead having beaten them 3-0 at Meadow Lane just 6 days earlier. Despite the shut out the draw meant Notts would continue their best unbeaten run of the season which would stretch to 9 games in all competitions.
That said with just the one win in the league during January the run came to an abrupt halt in the last game of the month with a 2-0 defeat at Dagenham, a game that saw Callum Roberts play his first 68 minutes in a Notts shirt and a game where Daggers exacted their revenge following Michael Doyle’s long range injury time winner in the FA Trophy earlier in the month.
Notts would finish January in 7th place with 47 points averaging 1.516 PPG.
A second postponement at Fylde and two more Trophy cup games meant just 3 league games were contested in February.
Notts started well with a 3-0 win at home to Chesterfield in front of the live TV camera’s and a crowd of 6,347 which would be The Magpies, and the National League's highest attended game of the season.
Wins against Yeovil and Aveley in the Trophy saw Notts secure a semi final spot and put a bit of a shine on an otherwise indifferent February that saw Neal Ardley’s men win, lose and draw their three National League games.
The Chesterfield win saw Notts up to 5th but would finish the month back in 7th place on 51 points and averaging 1.645 PPG.
The 5-0 demolition of Aveley on the last day of February was a precursor for what was to come in March as Notts hit a run of form that suggested they might just mount a challenge for the league title.
The month started well with an impressive away win, at the third attempt, against AFC Fylde. This was followed with victory at champions elect Barrow and then a comfortable home win against Aldershot Town.
However, amidst the backdrop of the Magpies improved form a spectre was lurking in the shadows as the UK succumbed to a global pandemic.
On Saturday 14th March Notts hosted Eastleigh in what would become one of the last unrestricted attended games in English elite football in a match that saw the Magpies run out 4-0 winners in front of a crowd of just under 5,000 fans.
It was one of the last National League games played that season as the campaign was curtailed and settled on an unweighted points per game basis which would see Notts finish in third place behind Harrogate Town and title winners Barrow securing a place in the play off semi finals in the process.
Notts would win 4 from 4 in March meaning they finished the season in 3rd place on 63 points and an unweighted PPG of 1.658.
Final table 2019/20:
A Covid fuelled footballing hiatus ensued and it would be 4 months before Notts saw competitive action again, Barnet at home and behind closed doors in a highly anticipated play off semi final.
Neal Ardley had managed to keep a play off squad and shocked many by preferring Jim O'Brien on the left side of midfield to Enzio Boldewijn and it worked with O'Brien playing probably his best game in a Notts shirt which included an asist for the opening goal in a convincing 2-0 win in a game that would also see Callum Roberts shine.