Report | Aldershot Town (h)
Notts County 2 - 0 Aldershot Town | Vanarama National League | 13 September 2022
Aldershot came to Meadow Lane after a brilliant 3-1 win over Barnet last time out, but any confidence they had gained was dampened by an evening where they saw just 28.19% possession. Molesley’s men started the game well, and his tactics, whilst obvious, seemed spot on, as Inih Effiong was employed as a makeshift left winger in order to target Brindley. It seemed to work early on, as Aldershot caused Notts issues, especially with their pace in attack. Brindley made a superb recovery challenge to deny Effiong, and from the resultant corner Slocombe made an incredible stop, diving to his left to keep the scores level.
Notts began to grow into the game, with Langstaff forcing a save from opposition Ashby-Hammond, before Effiong pounced on a mistake from Chicksen, before crashing a shot onto the post. After the first 30 Aldershot’s energy levels dropped significantly, and this allowed Notts to assert their dominance and take control of the game. Ashby-Hammond was called into action a few times, mainly punching crosses, and despite being fairly anonymous for the first 30 minutes Langstaff and Scott began to be more threatening before half time, with the latter seeing an effort dragged wide. Rodrigues had the biggest chance of the half, which came in stoppage time, as Ashby-Hammond spilled a cross into his path, which he somehow didn’t turn home. Notts had two more chances in stoppage time, but they were unable to break the deadlock, so the two sides went into the break all square.
Notts started the second half as they finished the first, on top and creating plenty of chances. Cameron saw a strike blocked, and Notts continued to pepper the crosses in, a tally that would add up to a staggering amount. On 52 minutes Notts finally made one of those crosses count, as Bajrami burst forward on a brilliant run, which saw him beat 4 men to arrive at the right hand side of the box. He then managed to clip the ball across the goal face, where Scott was able to control the ball and tap into the goal, giving Notts a well deserved lead.
A few minutes later Notts had a casualty in the shape of Richard Brindley, who had taken a knock in the first half, but had managed to continue until the pain clearly got the better of him. He was replaced with Connell Rawlinson, who made his return to the side following a spell out with injury, and his performance was as assured as Brindley’s.
Notts continued to mount the pressure on Aldershot’s backline, leading to chants of ‘we’ve still got the ball’ from the home support, and it wasn’t long until the pressure told as Notts got their second with just under half an hour to play. Of course it was that man, Macaulay Langstaff, who bagged his 10th goal of the season in just 8 games. To have hit double figures already is a monumental achievement even the most optimistic of supporter couldn’t have imagined.
Luke Williams opted to protect his strike partnership, as they both made way for Kairo Mitchell and debutant Quevin Castro, making his first appearance in a Notts shirt since his loan arrival on Monday. Castro introduced himself well to the home crowd, with a lovely range of passing on display, and a few shots which kept the Aldershot defence busy.
The game fizzled out somewhat in the last half an hour, as the visitors offered very little resistance, opting to allow Notts to have possession. If it were a boxing match you would suspect the corner would throw the towel in, and the game was seen out for a comfortable 2-0 victory for the Magpies.
Key Match stats and so much to discuss.
With 71.81% possession this was the third time this season that Notts have bagged 70% or more of ball possession, the other two games being Maidenhead at home and Boreham Wood away.
Notts completely dominated Aldershot in all areas, except long passes, it's safe to say there may be a grey area there for Aldershot between long passes and clearances.
Pressing and challenge intensity for Notts was the highest since opening day against Maidenhead. In fact PPDA against which is used to calculate a sides press and challenge intensity was ridiculously high at 47.25 which means that on average Notts were allowed to make over 47 passes per attacking action before losing possession.
That brings us on to passes and Notts managed to record an enormous 699 passes, a new record for this season. In fact there are rumours that we still have the ball!
Wing play next and Notts managed to record a total of 47 crosses with 20 of those crosses coming from Aaron Nemane, albeit that only 5 of them found their target which isn't unusual considering the high number of variables involved in this action, blocked, defensive clearance, across the face of goal, keeper collections etc.
xG now and 2.27 the second highest recorded after the Dagenham demolition. The visual is a great way of seeing how the game played out. Aldershot started well and maybe should have scored in the 14th minute where a goalmouth scramble saw three different players spurn chances but there was also a great save from Slocombe as well.
Despite another close chance on 35 minutes they then didn't get a sniff at goal until the dying minutes of the game. If you compare this to Notts you can see there was constant pressure on the Aldershot goal for the best part of 70 minutes.
Cedwin Scott recorded the highest player xG for Notts with his goal value a very high 0.65.
Inih Effiong's saved close range effort on 14 minutes with a value of 0.44 xG the best chance for The Shots.
In our preview we featured Aldershots keeper Luca Ashby-Hammond who is on loan from Fulham.
It's fair to say that The Shots stopper had the busier game but Slocombe was still called upon on a couple of occasions and wasn't found wanting.
The big difference in the two was purely an emphasis on style of play. Ashby-Hammond finding he was having to clear his lines and cover his area for pretty much most of the game.
By contrast Slocombe played the modern day sweeper keeper to great effect and this is clearly visible in the data below.
Slocombe recorded nearly double the amount of passes compared to his young opponent, double the number of forward passes and over three times the number of received passes again confirming how Slocombe is confidently coming to terms with the high defensive line now deployed by Luke Williams.
All in all it was a very competent, if not faultless performance from Slocombe in all areas of his game which is encouraging to see.
Goals + Assists:
Goals and assists table updated and Scott's goal assist has been awarded to Geraldo Bajrami which is much deserved. Not often you see a centre back marauding deep into enemy territory before showing the composure to halt his run, look up and dink an accurate cross to the far post.