Report | Dorking Wanderers (a)
Nearly a thousand Notts fans made the trip to the Surrey Hills, a first away trip to Meadowbank which will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
On a day where most were concerned about the quality of the pitch it was the quality of Notts resolve which proved to be the real issue, with the Magpies falling victim to two stoppage time goals.
The game ended 3-1 to the hosts courtesy of a James McShane hattrick, a man who now has 8 goals this season.
The scoreline may suggest Notts were second best, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Notts ultimately were the architects of their own downfall, with all 3 goals coming as a result of mistakes, goals which could easily have been prevented.
The first was a delightful chip from McShane, who capitalised on a mix up between Slocombe and Palmer, the latter losing his footing on the artificial surface gifting the ball to the Dorking forward.
After failing to make the most of chances in the first half Notts finally responded on 50 minutes thanks to a fantastic Cedwyn Scott finish, smashing home at the near post, and you sensed Notts would go on to win the game from there.
However, goalkeeper Dan Lincoln, who was once the reserve specialist fielder for England in the Ashes, had the game of his life, making a string of superb saves in both halves.
And it was thanks to Lincoln that Dorking were still in the game, but when 9 minutes of added time were announced Notts fans believed it would be the Magpies who would go on to score the decisive goal.
As it happened it was the hosts who went on to win the game, courtesy of a stoppage time McShane brace. Massive credit must be given to Dorking; they defended well as a team, and did exactly what they needed to do to get the points. They simply had more steel and desire and displayed their offensive threat throughout.
Despite the result, the trip to Dorking was still an enjoyable one. The Dorking fans were some of the most welcoming experienced, and they were extremely complimentary about Notts’ performance, with some even admitting to the smash and grab nature of their victory.
A friendly and welcoming town, with several great pubs, including a fantastic micro pub, meant that the day wasn’t completely sour; we wish Dorking good luck for the rest of the season, and look forward to welcoming them to Meadow Lane.
As we have come to expect Notts come out on top in the possession stats but nowhere near the sort of numbers we've been used to in recent games.
Despite having more than double the goal attempts the nature of Dorking's goals, particularly the two injury time efforts, means they recorded a higher than expected xG. In fact when looking at some of the chances Notts had other than the goal, Scott, Rodrigues, Bajrami and Mitchell all had opportunities that on another day thy might have buried.
Despite both teams countering each others press it was Dorking's challenge intensity that probably played a big part in the final result, especially with all three goals.
When analysing the xG data there are some interesting pointers. Dorking squandered big chances in the first couple minutes seeing their xG reach 0.80 by minute 3.
Notts started to knock on the door shortly after and Ruben Rodrigues having a chance to open the scoring on 5 mins. However it was McShane who broke the deadlock with his opportunist but coolly taking chip recording just 0.05 xG.
That was pretty much Dorking's last sight of goal for the next hour of play as Notts took a tighter grip on the game before what was a crazy 12 minutes of injury time.
Based on xG Dorking just shaded it but a draw would have been a more likely result.
McShane recorded a whopping xG of 1.78 with his two shots for the second goal where he followed up his own shot off the post, conspiring to record a collective xG of 0.90.
James McShane was a player we had featured in our match preview and one we decided to compare in the game with Macaulay Langstaff.
It's clear to see that McShane was much more involved in the game than Langstaff with received passes, ball losses and recoveries much higher than the Notts marksman. This could also be due to McShane playing more of an attacking right midfielder than an out and out forward, however, his positioning in the attacking phases saw him becoming a third attacker alongside Seager and Ottaway.
It was a game Langstaff clearly struggled to get involved in, despite working hard he was restricted mainly to half chances, whereas McShane, playing on the front foot did very much everything he could to make his own luck and was well rewarded for his endeavours.
Goals + Assists:
Goals and assists table updated and Scott's excellent solo effort takes him up to four goals and two assists for the season so far.
First minutes of the season for Connell Rawlinson who looked very good and an impressive debut for Quevin Castro.
Progress chart compared to last season updated.
As promised here is the points needed visual. The points for top, third, seventh and relegation are averages based on the last 5 seasons.
First defeat for Luke Williams as Notts Head Coach.