Notts play their first return fixture this weekend, as they travel to Maidenhead, the side they welcomed to Meadow Lane on the opening day. The Magpies will be hoping for a repeat, a comfortable 3-0 win last time out ensuring Luke Williams’ tenure got off to a good start. A lot has changed since then though, not least the fact the Magpies now have 2 RWB options, with the first fixture seeing Joel Taylor deployed in the role. We at Notts Stats take a look at our weekend ahead.
Notts fans may be excited to see their new man, John Bostock, in action, and whilst it’s sensible to act with caution when including a new signing, this could be a game that suits the 30 year old’s skill set. As we saw at Meadow Lane, Alan Devonshire's Maidenhead are a side who like to sit in, soak up pressure, then break with pace on the counter. They pose a significant threat on the counter, so controlling the game is vital, something Bostock is adept at.
Maidenhead currently sit 14th in the last 6 form table with 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats in a run of games that included a defeat to Dagenham in the FA Cup.
The two wins in this period shows us that Maidenhead still have a bit about them and victories over Eastleigh and a much improved Aldershot should not be dismissed.
Notts were back to winning ways in emphatic style away to Scunthorpe last weekend and will be looking to take another 3 points on the road and maintain their place at the top of the table.
Looking at the playing style rankings Notts continue to score highly in al areas except long ball pases.
By contrast Maidenhead appear to have an aversion to keeping hold of the ball but score very highly in territory by completing a lot of progressive actions into the final third, mainly on the break.
As mentioned earlier Alan Devonshire will look to be well drilled in trying to frustrate Notts so expect to see them holding a low block with very little pressing.
Maidenhead will line up with a back 4 and initially may look to take the game to Notts early on by starting with a 4-2-3-1. However, if they fail to gain any traction and Notts settle into their controlled possession based game expect to see that 4-2-3-1 become a more defensive 4-1-4-1.
They will have some threat on the break though and when they do get possession will look to hit the final third as quickly as possible with lone striker Emile Acquah looking to get on the end of the long ball either down the middle or either channel.
Versatile Frenchman Remy Clerima scored last time out, and whilst where he will play is tough to predict, it is certain that he is a key man for the Magpies. He operated as a right midfielder last time we played Maidenhead, giving Asare extra protection down the right flank. However of late he has been used as a central defender, due to injuries, but his most natural position is at right full back, so Clerima really is versatile.
Clerima is 6'2" and mobile, and at 32 he is one of the more experienced heads in an otherwise youthful side. Clerima is an excellent defender, winning a very impressive 69.41% of his defensive duels. Wherever he plays on Saturday he will be tough to beat. This is even more impressive when you consider the amount of duels he’s been involved in, 170, the 9th most in the league. Clerima has been an ever present, so expect him to feature heavily tomorrow.
As mentioned, Maidenhead have a good crop of young players, and one of the standouts in that area is 20 year old Reece Smith. Capable of playing out wide, but more recently used behind the striker, Smith is a tricky runner with an eye for goal. Smith has 2 to his name, both of which came in the last 3 games, so he’s very much the man in form.
Smith is full of energy, and loves to run with the ball at his feet. He will look to get on the ball and stretch our defence, crucial for their counter attacking style. Smith records 6.77 dribbles per 90, 10th most in the league, showing his willingness to get on the ball and dribble. Smith also takes 1.74 shots per 90, so expect to see him testing Slocombe at some point during the game. A dangerous young player, he’s certainly one to keep an eye on Saturday afternoon.
Strong forward Emile Acquah is likely to make himself a handful on Saturday afternoon, and he has led the line well for the Magpies so far this season. A physical presence, Acquah has 4 goals this season, making him Maidenhead’s top scorer, and it’s fair to say he is their main goal threat.
At just 22 he’s still extremely raw, but the signs of a good target forward are there. Acquah is involved in 10.68 aerial duels per 90, of which he wins a respectable 33.83%, a good amount for a striker. That’s the 21st most aerial duels of any player in the league, showing how Maidenhead like to play the ball long towards the striker.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Acquah pinned against Brindley, looking to take advantage of the height disparity. However, of his 4 goals just 1 was a header, so clearly he is a dangerous shooter too. He hits the target with 41.94% of his shots, so if he gets the ball in and around the box he will be a threat. Expect him to look to snatch a goal, and bully defenders with his strength.
Maidenhead currently sit 14th in the league on 28 points from 22 games meaning a PPG of 1.27.
They've scored 22 goals in those 22 games meaning they are averaging a goal a game with an xG of 1.42 per game suggesting they have been a tad wasteful at times in front of goal.
At the other end of the pitch they are conceding 1.23 goal per game compared to an xG of 1.33 suggesting they are pretty much where they should be in defending their own goal.
Maidenheads home form is better than when on their travels winning 5 and drawing 3 of 11 games played at York Road.
Maidenhead Home Form:
P 11 | W 5 | D 3 | L 3 | F 12 | A 10 | GD +2 | PTS 18
Notts have done well at Maidenhead and are yet to concede a goal at the Berkshire club in the last 3 seasons. In fact the only defeat to Maidenhead was at Meadow Lane at the height of the pandemic when Notts had several key players out with covid.
On the road Notts sit top of the way table with 24 points from a possible 33, which is 6 points more than second place Boreham Wood.
Macaulay Langstaff - 19 (xG 17.27)
Charlee Adams - 4 (xG 3.31)
Emile Acquah - 4 (xG 5.15)
Despite being at home Maidenhead are better value than Notts for the win with Coral offering 7/1 for the home win.
The best you can currently get on the away win is 2/5 with Bet365 and Boyle Sports. You can get 4/1 for the draw with BetUK.
There is still a risk that the weather will win the day with temperature not looking to rise much above zero degrees but both clubs have made provisions for a decision to be made on the playability of the York Road pitch in plenty of time to avoid any necessary travelling from fans with an inspection booked for 9am Saturday morning.
If the game goes ahead it will again be a case of Notts looking to control the tempo of the game. As always there needs to be a case of guarding against complacency and maidenhead are likely to be a tougher prospect than they were at the start of the season.
That said Notts have quality all over the pitch and you would expect them to come be pushing hard for the 3 points.
As always thanks for reading.
Full stats report to follow after the game.
For Notts County Stats:
Richard Ogando - @notts_stats
Tom Williams - @tomhwilliams23
Colin Sisson - @colin_sisson
The Terrace - @theterracelife - The home for Notts County official retro and fan culture merchandise
Betting odds and score predictions are only used as another means to assess current form and sporting industry expectations of possible result. Notts County Stats do not receive any remittance from gambling organisations. We also understand that for some people gambling can have a harmful impact. If you are concerned about the way you gamble please seek advice here Be Gamble Aware