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Report | Dorking Wanderers (h)

Vanarama National League | 11 March 2023


Despite the added pressure of playing in the late kick off, Notts managed to avenge their loss to Dorking with a dominant 3-1 win at Meadow Lane. Notts have had a mixed record when playing on BT Sport this season, but no nerves were evident, as a spirited Dorking side were put to the sword.

Their travelling support, which is has to be said was excellent, were sent into raptures early on, as against the run of play Dorking took the lead. Wanderers wing back Josh Taylor broke down the left, and with Nemane stranded up the pitch O’Brien was tasked with shifting over on the cover. However, the experienced midfielder allowed Taylor to back him up into the box, and once they were there the attacker had a clear advantage. To his credit he played a fierce ball across the face of goal, with big forward Jason Prior on hand to flick the ball home.

Notts responded to going behind very well, and from that point on it was total domination. Notts recorded 73.25% possession, which against any side is impressive. It becomes even more so when you consider Dorking had the 2nd highest average possession heading into Saturday’s game. The part time outfit worked hard, but ultimately couldn’t cope with the quality Notts had, evidenced by the fact their lead lasted just 5 minutes. Nemane got in down the right, released by O’Brien, and in his usual fashion he drilled one across the face of goal. Lincoln, who put in a stellar performance in the first meeting, cut the cross out, but his clearance took a deflection off a man in yellow. It fell into the path of Langstaff, who hooked home his 34th goal of the season.

The goalscorer then had 2 good chances to give Notts the lead. First a turnover in possession high up the pitch by Rodrigues provided Langstaff with an excellent chance. In truth, Rodrigues should have released Langstaff quicker, but it was still a chance you would expect the forward to take. He measured up the Dorking goal, but seemed to drag his shot, not getting a clean connection, which saw it scuff wide for a goal kick.

A clever set piece routine moments later unlocked the Dorking defence, as it saw the ball fall to Langstaff once more. This time his volley was denied, with the ball turned behind for a corner. Throughout the contest Notts played their corners short, to varying success, but it was a tactic that seemed to improve as Notts grew into the game.

Notts proceeded to control the rest of the action, but lacked a killer edge, which saw the sides enter the interval at 1 a piece. A double Forking switch at half time saw Seb Bowerman replace Ottaway and Luke Moore enter the action in place of Wheeler.

The second period continued as the last finished, except this time Notts seemed to have more impetus about their play. It didn’t take the hosts long to ensure their advantage told, as just over 5 minutes into the half Langstaff had his second of the evening. Sam Austin won the ball back high up the pitch, in a move reminiscent of Ruben’s in the first half, but this time on the opposite side. Austin drove at his man, twisting and turning before delivering an inch perfect ball into Langstaff in the box. He duly finished the move to score his 35th league goal of the campaign, and put his side in front for the first time.

The 2 involved in the goal contributed to terrorise the Dorking defence, with both Langstaff and Austin seeing their efforts denied by Lincoln. Austin did finally have the keeper beaten on the hour mark, as Nemane once again got down the right. This time his wonderful cut back worked through to Austin, via Rodrigues, and his effort beat the stranded Lincoln. Fortunately for Dorking, defender Craig had taken up a place on the line, and heroically headed behind to prevent another goal.

That was to be Austin’s last action of the game as he made way for Lemonheigh-Evans. He made an instant impact, showing his quality, picking out an excellent pass for Langstaff. His shot on the turn didn’t trouble Lincoln though, as he was able to gather. Rodrigues produced another moment of magic not too long after, as his pass split the defence to find Langstaff, but he was forced wide. Unable to get his shot away he returned the ball to Ruben, who’s shot went narrowly wide of the post.

Bostock and Vincent replaced O’Brien and Jones before Notts did finally get their deserved 3rd goal, as a lovely team move was rounded off by Palmer. Chicksen had driven into the opposition half before finding Rodrigues, who in turn played a clever pass through to Palmer. A calm finish under pressure, and no celebration, saw a lovely team move executed with style. Notts then controlled the action to see the game out for a comfortable 3-1 victory.


Yet again Notts give the opponent a goal head start before getting their act together. To be fair it hasn't happened as often as it seems with just 9 out of 37 games seeing Notts relinquish the first goal so far this season.

Dorking Manager Marc White suggested they were going to go out to make Notts defend in his pre match presser, and it seemed his team were going to stay true to his words with 3 shots and a goal all inside the first 15 minutes. Unfortunately that remained for the remainder of the game with just a single attempt on goal in the second half on 82 minutes the best they could muster.

In fairness to Dorking, after going ahead they found themselves dropping back into a low defensive block in an attempt to hold on to their lead as Notts industrially went about their business as usual in a game that could have seen the hosts chalk up a couple more goals than they did in the end.

The Magpies 22 shots on goal generated an xG of 2.84 averaging 0.13 xG per shot. For Dorking Prior's near post conversion on 13 minutes registered 0.53 xG meaning the remaining 3 goal attempts were pot shots at best accruing a very low 0.07 xG between them.

Langstaff had 8 attempts at goal totalling 1.64 xG so despite just missing out on a hattrick still converted what would have been expected.

Sam Austin's input to this game was palpable, setting up Langstaff for his second and having 5 attempts on goal himself.

Based on the xG data Notts' xPTS came in at a whopping 2.71 compared to just 0.19 for the visitors. This is further confirmed by expected win percentage of 86.90% for Notts and just 3.10% for Dorking.


Season stats updated below.

Two more goals for Langstaff which now sees him on 35 goals for the sees, still all from open play. A second and much deserved goal of the season for Matty Palmer and assists for Nemane, Austin and Rodrigues.


Player Stats - National League:


A look ahead to Eastleigh (h) Tuesday 14 March 2023.

The tough games don’t relent for Notts as they welcome 5th place Eastleigh on Tuesday night. The Magpies felled the Spitfires 2-0 in their first meeting, and the return fixture is likely to be as equally close. The visitors have conceded just 38 goals, just 4 more than Notts; in fact, only 4 sides have conceded fewer this season. Eastleigh are always a tough side to breakdown, but they have tended to struggle at Meadow Lane, mainly due to the larger pitch stretching them out of their organised shape.

It is likely to be a match of fine margins. In their last 9 games Eastleigh have seen 7 games finish 1-0, with another ending 0-0 too. Clearly they thrive on being in games of fine margins. In that 9 game period they have recouped a fantastic 22 points, the same total Notts have. It is therefore a clash between 2 sides who are very much in form, and tests in this run in won’t come much tougher.

Notts can take some solace in the fact that Eastleigh sit 14th in the away table. When you couple this with the fact the Magpies have already beaten the Spitfires this season, you’d expect confidence to be high. Notts must guard against complacency, as while Eastleigh are very much a well organised side they do have individual quality throughout their side. Lee Bradbury, who is possibly doing the most underrated job in the league, sets his side up in a rigid 4-4-2 shape, but in that system he is able to accommodate the individual brilliance of certain individuals.

One such player is attacking midfielder Charlie Carter, who features in the Non League Paper Team of the Week after the weekend. A player with real craft and flair, Carter has featured on both flanks for Eastleigh this season. The 26 year old has 7 goals and 6 assists this season, and is certainly Eastleigh’s main attacking outlet. He is both creator and finisher, and is likely to be their most threatening player on Tuesday night. Eastleigh will look to Carter to make something happen, and he is likely to look to get in behind both wing backs into the space they leave when they attack. Carter had plied his trade extensively in the EFL, and that quality is evident, as he looks a cut above this level whenever he plays; it won’t be long before he returns to the Football League.

As always thanks for reading.



For Notts County Stats:

Richard - @notts_stats

Tom - @tomhwilliams23

Colin - @Colin_Sisson



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