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Report | Barnet (h)

Vanarama National League | 14 February 2023


A very happy Valentine evening saw Notts once again come from behind to win, on the same night that Wrexham finally relinquished their perfect home record. The result saw the Magpies extend their lead at the top to 5 points, albeit having played 2 games more. It wasn’t a game that the scoreline reflected; Barnet gave Notts an incredibly stern test, but once again Luke Williams’ side rose to the occasion.

It was a fast paced start from both sides, as Barnet pressed high as expected. Their tenacity and energy caused the Notts backline some issues, but it was the Magpies who started the brighter of the two sides. The Magpies made a few forays into the Barnet box in what looked to be a very open game. Barnet themselves carried a threat, but it was Notts who looked the more likely to score. It was a great shame therefore when the Magpies gifted Barnet an opening goal after 7 minutes.

A free kick inside their own half saw Cameron play the ball into the feet of Palmer. The high Barnet press meant he looked to play it back to Baldwin, who was in a withdrawn position. However, a combination of an overhit ball and Baldwin not expecting the pass resulted in an extremely threatening chance for Barnet. Baldwin slipped, and Harry Smith, a man who had 3 goals in 2 games going into Tuesday’s game, pounced. With Slocombe out of his goal Smith was presented with an easy chance, one he took emphatically. The Bees had the lead, much to the disappointment of the Meadow Lane crowd. Of course, this is an ‘occupational hazard’ when you play out from the back, and mistakes are expected, but it was disappointing nevertheless.

Notts responded well, first creating a chance down the flanks, as was identified pre kick off. Slocombe launched the ball to the left, where Chicksen was able to get forward. With the ball bouncing, he cleverly guided it into the box, for Scott to run onto. Barnet keeper Laurie Walker raced off his line, just in time to deny Scott, getting down superbly to snuff out the chance.

The next chance came just after 10 minutes, once again from the flanks, this time off the right. Rodrigues had drifted into a wide area, picking the ball up near the by-line. He checked back inside, gliding past Gorman, before unleashing a wonderful effort on his left. An acrobatic stop from Walker prevented the ball from smashing into the near side top corner, a great effort from Rodrigues denied.

Another defensive mistake from Notts led to a chance up the other end, this time for Kanu. Baldwin’s ball out to the right didn’t have the required pace, but Rawlinson perhaps could have reacted quicker. Either way, the Sierra Leone international got there first, before going on a mazy run, avoiding 4 or 5 challenges in quick succession. He didn’t pull the trigger however, and the ball ran behind for a goal kick.

While the quality of Notts’ passing left a lot to be desired, immense credit must be given to Barnet. Their constant, organised, energetic press caused Notts plenty of issues. It prevented the Magpies from building through their usual phases, forcing them to play long with far more regularity than we are used to seeing. This unsettled Notts’ possession game, brilliant game management from Dean Brennan.

Another error, again from Baldwin, almost gave Barnet a second. His pass to Bostock was poorly judged, considering a Barnet player was already marking the midfielder, and his pass was cut out. This allowed Barnet to transition quickly, firing the ball over the top into the path of Smith. With the ball perfectly placed on his head Smith wasn’t able to generate any real power, and instead allowed Slocombe to make a comfortable stop. Still, the warning signs were there for Notts.

With half an hour gone Rodrgiues had 2 strikes at goal, both of which clearly worried Walker in the Barnet goal. The first was fizzed towards Walker, who was able to parry well, but moments later he was left stranded. Notts worked the ball well to Rodrigues, who found himself on the edge of the area with an excellent shooting opportunity, but his strike was just the wrong side of the post.

A prolonged period of pressure and possession from Notts nearly proved fruitful with 5 minutes left in the first half. The ball was played into Bostock, and with his back to goal he flicked it round the corner into the path of Cameron. Some good defending thwarted the captain’s run, only to work itself into the path of Scott, who’s first time effort on the volley was well saved at Walker’s near post. Unfortunately for Notts the resultant corner came to nothing.

On the stroke of half time Bostock and Cameron once again combined, with another flick round the corner unlocking the Barnet defence once more. On the left side of the area Cameron looked to be in a threatening position, and his drilled cross in front of the face of goal caused concern for the Bees, but much to their relief it was deflected behind for yet another corner, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, resulted in nothing yet again. That was the last chance of the half, sending the 2 sides into the break with the visitors leading 1-0.

A change at half time saw Adebayo-Rowling, who had picked up a knock earlier in the half, make way for Jodi Jones, playing in an unfamiliar inverted right wing back position. It didn’t take Barnet long though to implement their high energy press, and with the 15 minute break they did so with renewed purpose. Just a minute into the second period they almost forced a turnover in Notts’ own box, but the Magpies just about escaped unscathed.

5 minutes into the second period it was Rodrigues who once again looked to have a chance. He started the move with an excellent pass into Langstaff’s feet. The ball was then worked wide, before being returned to Rodrigues who once again found himself free on the edge of the area. His curling effort proved just that bit wide again; nevertheless better from the Magpies.

Another 5 minutes later and potentially the most chaotic moments Meadow Lane have seen all season ensued. Down the left Notts had possession deep in Barnet’s half, before a collision left Ryan De Havilland on the floor. A prolonged period of possession for Notts continued, with De Havilland still rooted to the floor. The ball was worked past the felled Barnet man, into the path of Palmer, but excellent keeping from Walker kept the ball out. Still, not to be deterred Notts continued with possession, at which point De Havilland was back up. Again Notts looked to attack, still in the same sequence, but this time Dale Gorman went down off the ball. Notts did not change their approach, opting to continue their attack, and once again the ball went past the downed Barnet player. 2 blocked shots later the ball fell to Scott, who emphatically smashed the ball past Walker to level the scores. A controversial equaliser, but a goal the pressure warranted.

Barnet responded well, breaking down the left, drawing a foul from Jones. Gorman stood over the free kick, and almost had redemption, his whipped ball bending into the top corner. It was however too high, hitting the top of the bar as it went over. Jones was involved at the other end of the pitch, linking up with Rodrigues. He played a 1-2 with the Portuguese midfielder, before sitting his opposite number down, cutting back onto his left foot. However, his cross was headed back to Walker by Diarra.

Barnet then made a change, Marvin Armstrong entering the action in place of goal scorer Harry Smith. Armstrong almost had a goal with his first touch, an in swinging cross from the left from Kanu finding his head, but unfortunately for the substitute his header glanced just wide. A corner up the other end gave Notts their best chance of the second half, as it was well worked to the edge of the area. Bostock’s venomous strike looked to have Walker beaten, but he pulled off yet another acrobatic save, pushing it behind for another corner.

Moments later Walker made yet another super stop, this time denying Scott. Jones had got down the right with pace, and found Rodrigues, who in turn supplied Scott. His low, driven effort troubled the keeper, but his agility was on display again as he made a top save to keep the score level. That was his last action of the game, as Sam Austin replaced him. It did appear that the wrong substitution was made, as both Scott and the coaching staff looked bemused, but play was waved on and the change was made.

It didn’t take long for Notts to forget about the confusion over the substitution, as Jones drove forwards once again down the right hand side. He skinned his man, before clipping the ball to the back post, where substitute Sam Austin headed the ball back across goal. It fell to wing back Adam Chicksen, who tapped in his 2nd goal in as many games to give Notts a deserved lead. An instant impact from the sub, and yet another goal for the high flying wing back.

Dale Gorman made way for Kian Flanagan, and his absence was felt almost immediately. Notts broke down the left hand side, and the area where Gorman would usually be covering, the edge of the area, was occupied by Langstaff. Austin, on the edge of the 6 yard box, pulled the ball back into Langstaff, who smashed it into the roof of the net to give Notts a 3-1 lead, and some important breathing space.

Notts goalscorer Adam Chicksen then made way for Frank Vincent, making his first appearance since his return from loan in a makeshift LWB position. It didn’t take him long to make an impact either, as his burst into the area down the left hand side. His cut back worked it’s way through the box to Jodi Jones, who on his favoured left foot looked to have curled one into the far corner for his first goal for the club. However, much like Chicksen did to him earlier in the season, Langstaff stole the goal, getting the slightest of touches to get his 27th league goal of the season. That was the last meaningful action of the game, with Notts ending Barnet’s unbeaten run. In that 11 game period Barnet had conceded 5 goals; in one night Notts had scored 4.


Despite what was arguably the worst 45 minutes of football this season from Notts they still managed to record some of the stats we had become more accustomed to.

Just under 88% possession and 22 shots on goal saw Notts score 4 and amass an xG total of 3.03 compared to just 0.97 for the visitors.

Additionally, despite Barnet's aggressive press in the first half Notts managed to push back with their own press and as Barnet tired The Magpies passing game came to the fore contributing to a clearly superior PPDA of 6.90 compared to 18.05 for Barnet.

The match timeline xG chart clearly shows the difference between the two halves with Barnet having slightly the best of it. However, the ramp up in the second half from Notts is a clear indicator of how they managed to get a grip of the game and put Barnet to the sword.

Based on the xG data the expected win percentage for Notts was 82.63% and an xPTS of 2.60 confirming that over the 90 minutes they were worthy of the win.

After some early confusion over the scorer of the 4th goal the club declared that it would be credited to Macaulay Langstaff who got the slightest of touches on a Jodi Jones effort to guide the ball into the far corner denying the Oxford loanee his first goal for the Magpies.

In fact, that decision had a big impact on the xG adding 0.53 to the total.

Ruben Rodrigues and john Bostock had the most attempts on goal with 4 each followed by Matty Palmer and Cedwin Scott who both had sight of the Barnet goal on 3 occasions.


Season stats updated below.

Looking at the season stats above we can now see that Notts have found themselves top of the league after 18 of 32 games so far this season.

Current PPG of 2.406 would see Notts hitting just over 110 points for the season (110.676). This is fractionally higher than Wrexham who have a current PPG of 2.400 meaning a season total of 110.400.

Looking at goals Notts now have 4 players on double figures for the season. Langstaff needs just 13 more goals to equal Ricky Miller's 40 goal haul for Dover in 2016/17.

There were two assists for Sam Austin in a 20 minute cameo seeing his assist tally rise to 8 for the season and there's no stopping Adam Chicksen who netted his 10th goal of the campaign.

Luke Williams now has an impressive 71.88% win percentage in the league currently seeing him with the second highest win percentage of all Notts managers just behind Steve Cotterill who recorded a 78% win percentage in 18 games.


Player Stats - National League:

Although the sponsors choice of Sam Slocombe for player of the match against Barnet left some scratching their heads it was probably a fitting tribute to a player who has played more league minutes than any other player in all 24 teams.

At 34 years old Slocombe might be in the twilight years of his career but he has risen to the challenge this season keeping the most clean sheets in the league and visibly improving his all round game, a testament again to the work ethic instilled in this current squad.


A trip to somerset on Saturday sees the Magpies take on Yeovil at Huish Park. The Glovers 'park the bus' performance at Meadow Lane back in November will still be etched in the memory of many a Notts fan, and it will be interesting to see how former Notts Boss Mark Cooper sets about foiling Notts' title charge on their own patch.

Preview to follow.

As always thanks for reading.



For Notts County Stats:

Richard - @notts_stats

Tom - @tomhwilliams23

Colin - @Colin_Sisson



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