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Report | Altrincham (a)

Vanarama National League | 28 March 2023


A clean sheet, league debut penalty save and record breaking goal all punctuated a very strong evening from Luke Williams’ travelling Magpies. As they did at Meadow Lane, Altrincham made it difficult, but Notts ultimately proved why they have 97 points in March, as they returned to the top of the table on goal difference.

As they did at the weekend, Notts started very much on the front foot. They peppered the Alty goal with shot after shot, most of which were deflected. Still, the pressure was mounting on Oliver Byrne’s goal, and while they held out slightly longer than Scunthorpe did, the result was still the same, as Notts took a first half lead.

The opener was a subject of plenty of controversy, not least as the National League TV Stream didn’t even capture the goal, nor show a replay. That is probably reflective of how quick the goal was. A free kick was given on the edge of the area. With Macaulay Langstaff unmarked in the area, Notts took the set piece incredibly quickly, and for some this was done too quickly. That wasn’t the opinion of the referee however, as he let play go on, giving Langstaff one of his easiest chances of the season. He duly rolled the ball past Byrne to not only give Notts the lead, but also to break the club record of goals scored in a single season. This also tied Ricky Miller’s 40 goal record for the National League, with all 40 of Langstaff’s goals coming from open play, an absurd achievement.

The good feeling wasn’t to last for the visitors though, as Regan Linney got past Kyle Cameron, forcing the skipper to bring him down, giving away the penalty. Much was made of Luke Williams’ decision to stick with Archie Mair pre game, but the Norwich loanee repaid that faith in bucket loads. Leaping to his right, at full stretch, Mair was able to get a glove on Linney’s resultant effort, tipping it round the post to spare Cameron’s blushes. A big moment for the youngster, and the 2nd Notts keeper to save a penalty this season. In fact, in Slocombe’s 4 years with the club 4 keepers have made penalty saves, none of which have been him.

That ensured Notts remained ahead at the break, one which they deserved considering the balance of play. There would be a penalty either side of half time, but this time it went the visitors’ way, with Nemane doing more good work down the right, before seeing his cross strike an Altrincham hand, forcing the referee to point to the spot. Despite the fact 1 more goal would take Langstaff clear of the league record, there was little doubt as to who would take it. Up stepped Rodrigues to dispatch his 8th penalty of the season, coolly sending Byrne the wrong way, sending the fans behind the goal into raptures.

From that point on it was total Notts domination. The only slight concern was that goalscorer Rodrigues was forced off after 55 minutes, seemingly with a slight limp, but with 10 days rest ahead it should be just a precaution. He was replaced by Jim O’Brien, who had a fine second half. Byrne made a smart stop to deny Palmer making it 3, before Notts made their final 2 changes in quick succession. First Rawlinson made way for Brindley, who finally made his return after a lengthy spell out with injury. Then Nemane made way for Frank Vincent, a switch which saw Chicksen swap to the other side.

That change seemed to give Notts a new attacking outlet, as Chicksen drove into the box on several occasions on the right hand side. First he cut it back for Langstaff, looking to supply the assist for the record breaking goal, but Langstaff couldn’t adjust in time to get a shot away. Next he got into the box again, but this time his cross evaded both Bostock and Vincent at the back post.

The pressure on the Alty game only mounted as Notts grew stronger. Bajrami, who was excellent once again, played a lovely ball over the top, which Austin latched onto. His cut back was beaten away though, as Altrincham looked to hold on. With the FA Trophy Semi Final this weekend, the hosts could have been forgiven for seeing the game out, but they still gave chase, with new signing Burgess making an instant impression. He drove forward, and was fortunate to see the ball ricochet back to his feet. His shot was testing though, but only glanced the crossbar as it went over.

It was then Langstaff’s turn to hit the crossbar, as in the final minute he struck a well hit shot against the upright. It would be the final chance of the game, as Notts ran out comfortable 2-0 winners and regained that all important top spot.


Another dominant display from Notts provides us with the usual match action radar shape which has pretty much been the same throughout the season.

Alty looked to press Notts and despite sticking to their task in varying degrees throughout the game it was actually Notts' press that came out on top, although this again will be influenced by over 75% ball possession and the fact Notts averaged 8.15 passes per possession compared to 3.53 for Alty.

The xG analysis suggest Notts still did enough to win the game with an xPTS of 1.94 and an expected win percentage of 56.64%.

The penalties meant that Rodrigues and Linney both recorded the highest xG value respectively but worth Noting that John Bostock had two good chances as well.

Despite the ease in which Langstaff recorded his record breaking 40th goal from the quickly taken free kick that goal still only recorded an xG value of 0.13. This will likely be due to the historical data held for previous goals in that position from free kicks where other defences would probably be more switched on than Altrincham's.


Season stats updated below.

A goals by segment table has been added to the season stats as this hasn't been used for a while but provides a clear picture of when Notts are scoring most which appears to be either side of the interval and the last 15 minutes.


Player Stats - National League:

There has been much discussed about John Bostock's impact on the field since joining Notts but it's fair to say he is now starting to provide evidence of his quality, not just on the ball but his movement and break up play off it.

The fact he is also getting closer to scoring that elusive first goal for The Magpies is another indication of how he is growing into life at Notts and in the National League. He was dead on his feet at the final whistle again showing how committed he has become to the cause.

Here is a snapshot of his key actions from this game.

A total of 99 match actions from an advanced midfield position is pretty high and only surpassed in midfield by Matty Palmer who along with the back 3 will always see more of the ball considering Notts' propensity to build from deep.

Bostock was a key element in The Magpies disruptive play with a number of key interceptions and recoveries and his ability to turn the ball over , maintain possession and find a teammate allow Notts to settle before another attacking transition.

If he had managed to convert his far post chance in the second half it would have topped of a very good all round performance.


With no game on Saturday we now have a short break before the Good Friday home game where Wealdstone are the visitors. Keep an eye out for our Easter Preview where we will take a closer look at both the Stones game and the much anticipated visit to The Racecourse Ground.

Finally, just a quick plug for the work myself, Colin and Tom undertook for the FA and England C. If you haven't already seen it here is a link to our article on Analysts Bar providing an insight into that work, the process and the challenges faced.

As always thanks for reading.



For Notts County Stats:

Richard - @notts_stats

Tom - @tomhwilliams23

Colin - @Colin_Sisson



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