Chesterfield - 2
Smith 33', Denton 78'
Notts County - 3
Boldewijn 22', Rodrigues 90', Wootton 90'
Did key substitutions help to paper over the cracks at the Technique Stadium as Rodrigues played a starring role off the bench?
Notts Line Up (4-3-3)
Michael Doyle (C)
Jim O'Brien (Ruben Rodrigues 60')
Enzio Boldewijn (Elisha Sam 60')
Substitutes not used:
Notts reverted to type once more in this encounter with the Spireites in North Derbyshire.
Another competent start by the Magpies was rewarded with a goal on 22 minutes when Enzio Boldewijn reacted fastest to latch on to a loose ball after Ben Turner saw his header from a Jim O'Brien corner saved by the Chesterfield keeper.
However, old habits die hard as Notts sat deep once again in familiar manner allowing Chesterfield to get back into the game with an equaliser just 9 minutes later.
With the game starting to run away from Notts a little in the second half Neal Ardley made changes that saw Ruben Rodrigues and Elisha Sam replace Jim O'Brien and Enzio Boldewijn respectively.
Chesterfield capitalised on a lack of closing down by the Notts midfield as Tom Denton brushed aside a Kelly-Evans challenge to powerfully head past Sam Slocombe from an unchallenged Jordan Smith cross on 78 minutes to take the lead.
With just over 10 minutes to go Notts finally discovered some urgency in their play but as the clock counted down it was starting to look like defeat was on the cards.
As the 4th official confirmed 4 mins added time Notts won a free kick just inside the Chesterfield half. Michael Doyle lifted the ball into the box and a loose defensive clearance by goal scorer Denton was pounced on by substitute Rodrigues who managed to score with a nicely placed header.
Notts looked like they had somehow salvaged a draw but in a remarkable finish were able to summon a winner in the dying seconds of the game when Kyle Wootton managed to get his head to a beautifully delivered free kick from Rodrigues, guiding the ball into the bottom right hand corner and securing an unlikely victory for the men in black & white.
A win and three points will be very welcomed but again there were signs of a Notts team hesitant to push on and put their opponents to the sword having taken the lead. Whether it's a lack of confidence or tactical instruction that is holding this team back after we may never know but one thing is for sure if a solution to this problem isn't found soon any chance of mounting a serious title challenge will be lost. That said games like this can be a turning point and hopefully has done much to reinstall some of that confidence that has been so clearly lacking of late.
On to the stats and a big thank you to James Cooper (@coopernets) on Twitter who was brilliant and kept a log of key stats during the game for me as my usual source of data wasn't available.
Goal contribution table updated.
Unfortunately due to a lack of data I was unable to plot game xG in a graph. That said both teams performed better than their xG.
Chesterfield's xG was 1.44 but they scored twice.
Notts' xG was 1.76 but they managed to score three goals.
Points needed and with 8 games played Notts have a PPG of 1.620 which would see a return of just over 71 points for 44 games. You can see from the chart below that would project a play off finish based on target points set. Although not currently in a play off position it is likely at this stage that there are teams in the top 7 that are over achieving.
Results tracker updated:
League progress now and the win sees Notts move back up to 10th place.
Remember you can view league table, latest form match info and player stats here
Goal time segments updated and the two late goals for Notts helps to improve the number of goals scored second half but remain more dominant in the first 45.
There was a good response to the new attack/defence charts for all clubs especially from fans of those who were doing particularly well or indeed badly so I'm going to keep that one going but update it maybe every few games. I will be introducing a National League stats page to the website soon where you will be able to access this content.
Interactive goal scatter chart updated. Like before hover over a dot to see info about that goal.
Before Saturday's game at Chesterfield all of Notts' goals had come from open play. Strangely all 3 goals scored in this game resulted from dead ball opportunities, one corner and two free kicks, although you could argue by the time they were scored they were from open play?
Player ratings updated after match 8 and it was a good day For Ruben Rodrigues who topped the match day charts having scored and got an assist in just 30 minutes on the pitch.
Neal Ardley's record updated:
Next another first for Notts as we host newcomers Wealdstone at Meadow Lane on Friday night. The Stones have made an impressive start to their National League campaign currently sitting in 4th place but it is a real chance for Notts to expand on two games unbeaten on the road and get back to winning ways at home.
Until then . . .