Preview | Coalville Town (h)
In a break from what has been an exciting and intense start to the National League season Notts County welcome Premier Division Central Coalville Town to Meadow Lane on Saturday in an FA Cup 4th qualifying round tie.
Coalville have had a decent start to their season and currently sit third in the league on 20 points after just 10 games, and are on a current unbeaten run of 6 games in all competitions.
In current form and backed by a large travelling contingent they will have every reason to feel confident of causing an upset despite this being the first time they have gone this far in the FA Cup for 18 years.
The Ravens booked their place in the the fourth round qualifying with a comfortable 4-1 win over fellow Premier Division Central league side Ilkeston Town, avenging a defeat by the same score earlier in the season.
For those who aren't familiar with where the Premier Division Central sits in the pyramid it is part of the Southern Leagues at step three of non-league and acts as a feeder league to National League South and in some cases National League North.
Coalville's manager Adam Stevens is enjoying his second stint in charge of the Leicestershire club. A former player Stevens was a part of the team that made the first round proper in 2004 and then took over as Manager for the first time ahead of the 2007/08 season. Steady progress saw promotion in 2011 along with an appearance at Wembley in the FA Vase Final.
Having narrowly missed out on promotion for two seasons Stevens left The Ravens in September 2014 and after a period out of the game joined Grantham Town whom he transformed into one of the best footballing sides in the league and got them to this seasons play off final. (1)
As mentioned earlier Coalville currently find themselves in a rich vein of form having won 5 and drawn 1 of their last 6 matches.
This includes a 7-0 mauling in the league of AFC Rushden & Diamonds and FA Cup wins over Ilkeston and Macclesfield and a Trophy win over AFC Sudbury.
As we know Notts are also enjoying some good form having currently won 4 games on the bounce and the only blot on the landscape being the defeat at Dorking.
Coalville’s current top scorer, Ashley Chambers, is an experienced striker, one who has played in the EFL, but other than 12/13 with York City he was never really prolific in the Football League.
However, more recently he has been a forward who scores plenty of goals in non-league, mainly in the National League North, where between 2017 and 2020 he scored 47 goals in 3 season, a very impressive return. This season he has 10 goals in 15 games, so is certainly their main goal threat tomorrow, and whoever Luke Williams selects in defence will be tasked with watching the forward closely.
Chambers is Coalville’s penalty taker, and so far this season he has been rather hit or miss from the spot, scoring 2 and also missing 2. He’s 32, so still has plenty to offer up front, and he may be a real handful for the Magpies defenders.
Unlike the other names analysed here, Tom McGlinchey is a player who has almost exclusively played at Coalville’s level, and has been at the club for the last 5 years. He’s recognised as one of the finest players at that level though, something shown by being included in the Step 3 Team of the Season last term.
A dangerous winger, this season he has seen his output increase even further, with 8 goals in 15 games an extremely impressive return. He is the other man who may take penalties on Saturday, with 2 goals and 1 miss from the penalty spot, and his form of late has been particularly high, with 5 goals in his last 4 games. In that time McGlinchey scored a 26 minute hattrick against AFC Rushden & Diamonds, so the winger is certainly one to watch this weekend.
36 year old defender Chris Robertson will be leaning on every bit of experience he has this weekend, and the centre back has bags of it. Robertson has over 250 EFL appearances, and the defender loves the FA Cup too, scoring 3 goals in 19 games.
He will certainly be a threat from set pieces, and at 6' 3" he will be capable of dealing with Notts’ aerial threat too. He’s played 14 of the 15 games this season, showing despite his age he is still incredibly fit, and with just 2 yellow cards in that period he is extremely disciplined too. He will be a key cog in Coalville’s defence if they are to get anything from the game.
Free kick specialist Andi Thanoj was a high profile signing for Coalville in the summer, and the former Albania u21 international has shown his class this season already, firing an excellent free kick past Notts loanee keeper Tiernan Brooks.
Thanoj has over 90 National League appearances, and at 29 he’s still got plenty to offer. A classy midfield operator, who has 2 goals in 12 appearances, his threat from set pieces is likely to be crucial.
He has a fantastic delivery, and if Notts do commit fouls in and around the box Thanoj is likely to back himself to hit the target.
Andi Thanoj finds the top corner above.
The highest profile name in Coalville’s side, Accrington Stanley legend Billy Kee is a player of immense quality, one that if he wanted could still be playing in the EFL.
Kee retired from professional football in 2019 for personal reasons, but in his last 2 seasons in professional football he fired in 25 goals in League 2 in 17/18, and 13 goals in League 1 in 18/19, huge returns, signifying what a quality player Kee is.
Now a part time forward, he is likely to be on the bench at Meadow Lane, but if Coalville are in need of a moment of magic late on Kee is certainly the man who has the quality to do it.
In the league Coalville have scored 30 goals in 10 games meaning they currently average 3.00 goals per game.
At the other end of the pitch they have conceded 15 goals meaning they are conceding 1.50 goals per game. it also means that league games involving Coalville so far this season average 4.50 goals per game.
I you add their 4 FA Cup and Trophy games to the equation they add another 11 goals in the for column and 2 against meaning that for all games in all competitions this season they are still averaging just under 3.00 goals per game for and 1.21 against.
In the league Coalville's away record is actually better than their home record, winning all 4 of their games on the road compared to winning 2 at home.
Coalville Home Form:
P 4 | W 4 | D 0 | L 0 | F 18 | A 3 | GD +15 | PTS 12
By contrast Notts have played 6 games at home this season, winning 5 and drawing 1 meaning they are averaging 2.67ppg at Meadow Lane.
Popular striker Ashley Chambers is Coalville's current top scorer with 10 goals in all competitions.
At the time of writing Notts were favourites for the win with several bookies offering the best odds at 41/100.
Coral were coming out best with 13/2 for the away win and you could get 47/10 for the draw at STS.
Not much to get excited about there!