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.
First minutes of the season for Connell Rawlinson who looked very good and an impressive debut for Quevin Castro.
Requests for this one to come back so here we go.
Will also include the points needed chart after the Dorking game.
Tom Williams has provided us with his player ratings.
Sam Slocombe - 9
One of his best performances in a Notts shirt, Sam looked assured with the ball at his feet, and made a few crucial saves while it was still at 0-0. He’s clearly organising his defence much better and he leaves his line with great success now, intercepting and dealing with through balls before they become an issue.
Nemane - 8
Another top performance from our wing back, getting down the right and causing real issues for their defence. He stretched them and put in plenty of crosses, one which resulted in a goal and another assist for the Frenchman. He keeps getting better, and his pace and power was sustained for the full 90 minutes which was pleasing.
Brindley - 7
As predicted pre game Effiong was put on Brinds, and outside of a few nervy moments he dealt with the threat really well. Went down with an injury in the first half and despite carrying on he never really looked right and was forced off. Hopefully it’s nothing serious as I believe it’s not only been Brinds’ best start to a season but that he’s also been our best defender so far.
Bajrami - 9
A man of the match performance from our Albanian defender/midfielder. Baj slotted in seamlessly at CB in place of the injured Baldwin, after he put in an equally stellar performance in midfield last time he played at Meadow Lane. It’s the biggest compliment that Baj looks equally adept in either role, and he didn’t put a foot wrong all night. He dealt with their pacy forwards, controlling loose balls and went on a marauding run before ultimately setting Scott up for the opener. Superb.
Cameron - 8
Another assured performance from our skipper, one where he showed the attacking threat we know he has whilst also demonstrating brilliant defending and leadership qualities. Cameron’s performances have gone under the radar this season, but he’s quietly and comfortably establishing himself as one of the best in the league. He’s the first name on the team sheet, as is evidenced by the fact we don’t even have a vice captain; and it’s for good reason too, as he’s been immense so far.
Chicksen - 7
Not his finest day at the office, and it may sound harsh but I felt it was more the Chicks of last season than the new improved version we’ve seen this campaign. He missed a gilt edged chance to make it 3 goals in 3 games, but other than that I felt he offered very little going forwards. Defensively he was fairly solid, but did miss 2 high balls, one of which almost resulted in a goal, with Effiong going agonisingly close by crashing a shot off the post.
Palmer - 9
This was Matty Palmer back to his best. Free flowing, dictating from deep and making things happen when in more advanced positions, Palmer looked absolutely unbelievable. He bossed the midfield, and dropped into defence when one of the 3 pushed forward. He covered an unbelievable amount of ground and showed his class throughout.
JOB - 8
I’ve seen mixed opinions online about Jim’s performance but overall I thought it was a very good one. He has constant energy, puts in big tackles and played some really nice passes. He also supported Nemane in the wide areas, clipping in a few crosses of his own and made a real difference. However as Colin points out his recoveries, for which he received most of his praise, are often as a result of his own mistakes. Nevertheless, another good performance from Jim.
Ruben - 8
A player who always shows his class, Ruben was fairly well pressed by Aldershot for the first 25 minutes or so, but as soon as he got the ball in front of him he flourished. He looked to make things happen, but is still looking for that elusive open play goal. If he continues to perform like this I would say it’s only a matter of time, and the work he puts in off the ball is exceptional.
Scott - 8
Like his strike partner Macca he was fairly absent for the first half an hour, forced to drift into wide areas in order to pick up the ball. However as the game progressed he looked more threatening, and it paid off as he got on the end of a Bajrami pass across the goal face for a tap in. Both our strikers seem to have a knack of being in the right place at the right time, and it’s paying off in a big way.
Langstaff - 8
Macca finally broke the multiple goal curse, and to be fair he was probably helped in this by being subbed off fairly early. As previously mentioned he didn’t pose too much of a threat early on, but a combination of his movement and persistence meant the game began to open up for him. In the second half he got his 10th goal of the season already, an incredible feat. Ricky Miller’s goal record is under threat.
Quevin - 8
A 30 minute cameo off the bench for his debut, and what a debut it was. On the limited showing we have it would appear we have an absolute player on our hands. He played a delicious disguised pass as well as pressing and showing great energy levels. At the end he put a good challenge in, and he may have shot too much, but we can put this down to him being desperate to impress his new fans.
Rawlinson - 7
It’s great to see Connell back in action, and he slotted in seamlessly when he came on for Brindley. He dealt with everything brilliantly, especially aerially, and he adjusted extremely quickly. It was even more impressive as he hasn’t actually featured to the right of the 3; I’d like to see him in the central role soon as he really impressed me in that role in pre season.
Mitchell - 7
Worked hard when he came on, pressed relentlessly and is showing he is the perfect forward to bring off the bench. He has energy, puts himself about and is fully committed to the team. He possesses a goal threat too, and stretched Aldershot’s defence at times too.
Back on the road again at the weekend and a first time visit to National League new boys Dorking Wanderer's, preview to follow soon.
As always, thanks for reading.
Your Notts County Stats Team:
Richard - @notts_stats
Tom - @tomhwilliams23
Colin - @Colin_Sisson