Updated: Sep 6, 2022
Dagenham & Redbridge 0 - 5 Notts County | Vanarama National League | 3 September 2022
An hour before kick off County boss Luke Williams sprang a surprise with his team selection, dropping Geraldo Bajrami, a man who was many people’s man of the match on Monday, in favour of Jim O’Brien. Other than that the Magpies were unchanged, and Williams’ decision appeared to be a good one, with O’Brien heavily involved in the opening proceedings.
Notts had an extremely early penalty shout waved away after Scott went down from a pull of the shirt, before the aforementioned O’Brien played Nemane down the right. The Frenchman then delivered a dangerous low ball into the area, which, to the relief of Dagenham defender Hare, was well dealt with by keeper Justham.
Nemane was the liveliest of Notts players in the opening 10, with him first seeing a shot deflected wide, before putting a cross to the back post for Chicksen, who was unable to turn it home. The fact that the Zimbabwean full back keeps getting into these dangerous areas must encourage boss Williams, especially considering his pre match comments about Chicksen having a goal target this season.
Notts’ pressure on the Dagenham goal continued to build, as O’Brien had a shot held by Justham, before Omar Mussa hacked Langstaff down, entering the book, the first player of the afternoon to do so. Langstaff drawing a foul from Mussa may have been a warning shot for Dagenham, as 2 minutes later Notts finally got their breakthrough, and it was that man Langstaff who punished the Daggers. Following a scramble in the box Langstaff proved the poacher that he is, finishing smartly inside the 6 yard box for his 7th goal of the season.
The momentum of the game persisted following the opening goal, as Notts continued to dominate their hosts, with both Rodrigues and Baldwin seeing shots fail to hit the net, before Nemane went through on goal on 36 minutes, only to rattle the bar, almost a reward for flanker being such a livewire all half. Dagenham did muster a response, as Matt Robinson forced a save from Slocombe, who held the ball well.
The hosts’ pressure didn’t last long, as Nemane once again got a shot away, but this time it was deflected into the path of Cedwyn Scott, who added his first and Notts’ second of the game to really put the visitors in command. The connection and understanding between Langstaff and Scott has been talked up for sometime, following their 52 goal strike partnership last season, and already this season we are seeing the effects of them playing together. Scott has gone somewhat under the radar because of his striker partner, but he is sure to score goals, like he did here.
It wasn’t long before Notts added a third, and of course it had to be Langstaff to net his 8th goal of the season. Scott had a shot well saved by Justham, but Langstaff, being the fox in the box that he is, was there to follow the shot home, putting the Magpies 3-0 up before half time, and effectively killing the game. This marked Langstaff’s 4th brace of the season, and it truly is like London buses; when Langstaff scores, a second seems to always come along. It is a slightly bizarre, but pleasing stat, and long may it continue.
Langstaff’s second sent the two sides into the break, with Notts deservedly leading 3-0. At half time Mo Sagaf replaced the booked Mussa in Dagenham’s midfield, but he couldn’t prevent Notts continuing to dominate, with Jim O’Brien putting in 2 dangerous crosses, first for Langstaff and then for Cameron, both of which resulted in nothing. On 60 minutes O’Brien then made way for Sam Austin, a man who would have been entitled to be frustrated that he didn’t start the game. He made an instant impact, finding Scott in the box, but the chance was blocked.
Williams then made a tactical change, with Bajrami entering the fray in place of Nemane, and in the process switched to a 4 at the back system. Williams clearly saw this as a good opportunity to try a system he has spoken about before, and one that would truly allow us to use all of our attacking options. Whilst the back 5 has been immensely successful so far this season, it does limit our options up top, and at least one of Austin, Scott or Bajrami tends to sit on the bench because of it.
2 more changes followed, with Josh Walker coming on for Dagenham, whilst Ed Francis replaced Scott for Notts in the 73rd. Just a minute later the game exploded into life, with 2 goals in 3 minutes turning a one sided win into an absolute rout. First, Adam Chicksen came good on his earlier attacking threat, scoring his second in as many games. As previously mentioned, Williams had spoken about the goal he had set for Chicks, and the full back moved one step closer to doing so by cutting onto his right and firing into the far corner.
Two minutes later Langstaff finally broke the brace curse, and fired in his first professional hat trick, once again poaching, diverting a Kyle Cameron shot to the opposite corner to complete an extremely good day at the office. Langstaff now has 9 goals in just 7 games, a ridiculous return for a player who came from the 6th tier of English football. If he can maintain this pace, or even anything close to it, he and Notts have a very good chance of winning accolades come the end of the season.
With the game at 5-0, the hosts took a damage limitation approach, and outside of a yellow card for Ed Francis the remaining 20 minutes were relatively quiet. Notts won on the road, and won big, and that makes it 9 goals for the Magpies in the last 2 away games. Positive signs are clearly there for Luke Williams’ men, and just 5 days after a season best performance they have another contender for that name tag.
Key Match stats next and some stand out numbers.
At 3.80 this was The Magpies highest recorded xG of the season so far with Langstaff recording just under half of that tally with a total xG for the game of 1.72. In fact his second goal, a tap-in on the line registered n xG of 0.86, probably the highest xG recorded for one shot by a Notts player for as long as We can remember.
Notts had a total of 20 shots on goal compared to 7 for Dagenham and based on the overall xG Notts had an expected points tally of 2.94 and an expected win percentage of 97.16% Again, these are the highest xPTS and xWin% win can remember seeing for a Notts team.
Notts dominated in most areas but Dagenham came out on top (just) when it came to challenge intensity, but this could be a bi-product of having to defend under constant pressure.
Notts were actually a little bit down on their usual stats for pressing but in the game they actually pressed twice as much as Dagenham.
Adam Chicksen got his second goal in two games from LWB and appears to be thriving under the guidance of Luke Williams.
He had to work a little harder for this goal than the winner against Solihull but it's great to see the composure and attacking threat he has now added to his game.
Chicksen's opposite in the Dagenham camp was, for most of the game, 29 year old wide left player Mauro Vilhete.
The key difference between the two players during this game was Chicksen winning most of his battles in all areas.
In fact Chicksen came out on top recording the better stats for total successful actions, accurate passes, duels won and recoveries. A clear indication of the work he has put in behind the scenes to ensure he is at the forefront of Luke Williams mind when it comes to team selection.
Vilhete is without doubt a a very good player down the left, however, unless Daryl McMahon finds a way to make his team more competitive key players like Vilhete are going to struggle to record the kind of stats needed to do their abilities justice.
Goals + Assists:
A few rather tenuous assists for Notts but we've given them anyway. Chicksen for the first goal, Langstaff for the second as he deflected Nemane's shot into the patch of Scott, who gets an assist for the third after the keeper failed to hold on to his shot leaving Langstaff to prod home on the goal line. Rodrigues with the assist for Chicksen's goal and Cameron with the assist for Langstaff's third.
Slocombe, Brindley, Chicksen and Cameron the players who haven't missed a minute yet this season.
Thanks to Jacob Daniel (@jacobncm) for his player ratings.
Slocombe - 7 - Another quiet afternoon in terms of having shots to save, but seems to be getting more confident with his distribution with every game. Brindley - 7 - Same job every week, ability to sweep up balls over the top with his pace remains crucial. Baldwin - 7 - Really finding his feet as a Notts player now, stepped into midfield on numerous occasions to help overload Dagenham’s midfield. Cameron - 8 - Excellent stuff, bullying the dangerous Morias for strength and pace, getting forward well and nicking himself an assist. Nemane - 9 - Simply outstanding in the first half, with Notts creating chance after chance through him wide on the right. Unlucky not to score a screamer which clattered off the ball, hopefully the knock he picked up is just that. Chicksen - 8 - Goal machine! Neat finish with his weaker foot, has always been solid defensively but clear that Williams is working hard on increasing his attacking output. Palmer - 7 - Kept things quietly ticking over while those around him caused havoc, never wasted a pass. O’Brien - 8 - Ever since that little argument with someone on Instagram after the Chesterfield game, JOB has played like a man with a point to prove. Popped up everywhere. Rodrigues - 8 - One of the most promising things about Notts’ start is that the goals are flying in from everywhere, and Ruben hasn’t got going in front of goal yet. Playing a bit deeper this season and a nightmare for opposition players to try and pick up. Scott - 7 - A good foil for Langstaff, getting a real poacher’s goal. Will feel he should’ve finished the third himself before the rebound was gobbled up. Langstaff - 9 - What can you say any more, really? None of his goals were particularly eye-catching, but he’s such a threat every time the ball is in the box. In a team which has always had lots of possession and entries into the area, he’s going to score loads. Austin - 7 - Took over from O’Brien in the ‘boundless energy’ role, unlucky not to be starting really and was unlucky not to score here. Bajrami - 7 - Tough game for subs to come into and make an impact with it being over as a contest, helped to keep things solid. Francis - 6 - Same as Bajrami really, but loses a point for picking up a needless booking.
Two home games up next for Luke Williams' men with Bromley on Saturday and Aldershot Tuesday evening. Both very winnable games and a chance for Notts to really put down an early marker for their promotion intentions.
As always, thanks for reading.
Your Notts County Stats Team:
Richard - @notts_stats
Tom - @tomhwilliams23
Colin - @Colin_Sisson