Eastleigh 0 - 2 Notts County | Vanarama National League | 12 November 2022
On an unusually hot November afternoon Notts reclaimed top spot with a comfortable 2-0 win over Eastleigh. Notts had failed to score at the Silverbank for some time, and they had to remain patient yet again waiting an hour until they got the breakthrough, but ultimately Notts gained yet another scalp, ending Eastleigh’s unbeaten home record in the process.
The Magpies undoubtedly started the brighter of the two sides, and established their main means of attack early, getting Adebayo-Rowling forward down the right, but his cross was unable to cause any real issues. He repeated the trick after 20 minutes, this time standing his man up, before quickly shifting the ball onto his right, getting his cross past Harper. However, once again it evaded the men in the box, frustrating the visitors.
They went close again moments later, as another of the surprise inclusions, Sam Austin, got forward, seeing his shot deflected over for a corner. Notts once again struggled with their delivery, as the corner resulted in nothing. Francis then went into the book as he was forced to drag down an Eastleigh attacker, who would have otherwise been away following Francis mis controlling the ball. Not long after Ruben would join Francis in the book, this time for dissent, signifying the frustration the Magpies were feeling. Eastleigh were defending their box well, with Cisse providing good cover for the back 4, and despite Notts hemming them in at times, very few chances were created.
The game came to life just before half time, with Langstaff seeing his first, and only real involvement of the game, collecting a ball into his feet, before rapidly setting himself for a snapshot. However, the strike on his weaker foot sailed over, allowing the hosts to breathe a sigh of relief. They then recorded their first and only shot of the first half, as JJ McKiernan’s tame effort found the gloves of Slocombe.
Half time saw no changes, but it was Eastleigh who had the first real chance of the second period, as former Magpie McDonnell played a delightful flat, long ball, providing a chance for the pacey Abrahams up front. His shot squeezed past the County keeper, but fortunately for Slocombe it also just went past the post. A let off for the visitors, who then looked like scoring a spectacular goal of their own, as Rodrigues’ attempt at a bicycle kick just narrowly missed, hitting the side netting instead.
The hosts wouldn’t be able to hold out for much longer though, as the danger man Adebayo-Rowling once again got free down the right, as more space began to open up for him as Eastleigh legs tired, allowing the wing back to take full advantage. A driving run and cross later Notts were ahead, as the other wing back, Adam Chicksen, got on the end of the cross, netting his 7th goal of the season. The goal scoring form Chicksen has shown is nothing short of remarkable, and none are as crucial as this one, finally scoring at the Silverlake.
Brindley entered the book for a foul, before Scott entered the action in place of Francis, but the story of the game didn’t change. The visitors kept the ball, moving it in order to manipulate Eastleigh’s compact defence, not allowing the hosts any possession. Not only did it tire the visitors, but it also ensured they had very little of the ball, limiting their offensive output. Rodrigues then began to press the advantage, running the show, first seeing a shot blocked before moments later finding Scott in space, only for Eastleigh to block yet again.
The lead was doubled with 15 minutes to play though, as that man Rodrigues exchanged quick passes with Scott, before continuing his run, receiving the ball back from Austin before firing a low shot past McDonnell to all but secure Notts’ victory. A super team goal finished off with an equally impressive strike, and a fine way to cap off a great team performance. 500+ Notts fans continued to generate noise the likes of which haven’t been experienced away from home for a long time, another by product of the fine afternoon provided by the boys on the pitch.
Straight after the goal Bajrami and Mitchell replaced Rodrigues and Langstaff, just adding fresh legs as Notts continued to pour on the pressure, responding to the noise the Magpies fans were making. Notts had several fine chances to make it 3, the pick of the bunch a chance for Adebayo-Rowling who once again got free down the right, steaming away from their defence to run clear at an angle. He then decided to smash the ball at pace at the near post, but the wing back was so unfortunate to see his shot crash off the upright, a rare let up for the opposition. That was the last chance of any real note, as the visitors ran out as comfortable winners, taking 3 points back home with them.
An unusually late stats report on this occasion thanks to the late publishing of data from Wyscout.
In fact the late data along with reader feedback has meant a slight change to the presentation of the stats visualisations. Firstly we have replaced the goals by time segment table in the match stats with a shots for/against by match time segment to ensure it remains in keeping with the rest of the match stats.
The goals by time segment table has been added to a new season stats dashboard which you will find further down in the report. This way we now have key stats dashboards for both the match featured and the season to date.
Looking at the Eastleigh data can only provide greater comfort and confidence from Magpies fans in a game that Notts completely dominated with over 73% ball possession and total domination of all other key match stats which is clear to see from the performance by match action radar chart.
The shots for/against table is a great indicator as to when Notts upped the tempo in attack falling in line with the xG timeline.
With 16 shots on goal from 9 different players Notts have again confirmed they are not a team wholly reliant on Macaulay Langstaff for goals.
It was the Magpies second half performance that really put the game to bed proving that their relentless pressure and control of the game paid dividends as the game went on.
Based on the xG data Notts' xPTS for this game was 2.00 and they had a win percentage likelihood of 58.06%.
Both Rodrigues and Chicksen had the highest collective xG for the match so it's fitting that these two also found themselves on the score sheet suggesting that they made the most of the chances created for them.
Eastleigh were restricted to just 5 shots on goal with centre back Aaron Martin having the best of their chances following a set piece early in the second half that was well saved by Slocombe.
Player Ratings: (Tom)
Slocombe - 7.5
A solid, quiet afternoon, one which Slocombe picked up another clean sheet in. His distribution left quite a lot to be desired, with the long balls being overhit consistently, however he did sweep up very, very well. He was quick off his line, negating their pace in behind, and overall he had a good game.
Brindley - 7
A really quiet afternoon for Brinds; he didn’t have to do a great deal defensively, and he didn’t get forward all that much either. Still, he didn’t really put a foot wrong, and he covered the right flank well, allowing Tobi to get forward with freedom.
Rawlinson - 7
Scarcely put a foot wrong all game, was strong in the air and adapted really well, stepping back into the side in Baldwin’s absence. Was a little off with his passing at times, but overall a good performance from the big Welshman.
Cameron - 7.5
A really good day from Cameron, leading the side well and getting forward with increasing regularity. Was a real threat when we were in possession, but feel he could have a little more presence from corners. Nevertheless another clean sheet for Skipper, he’s really leading a great group in the right direction.
Adebayo-Rowling - 9
The first big surprise in the starting XI was seeing TAR come in for Nemane, but my word did he deliver. My man of the match, he got up and down that right flank with unbelievable energy, and was our main threat going forward. His incredible skill to stand a man up then get a cross in was on display again, and he attacked the space down the right brilliantly. Got the crucial opening assist, and rattled the bar late on; had he scored that he might have just got a 10.
Chicksen - 8
Scored yet another goal in what has to be the best season of his career (going forward it certainly is). He looks like a man possessed, his positioning when in possession is so consistent, and he dealt with their attacking threats with ease too. A really good performance from a man who just keeps getting better.
Francis - 6.5
May seem a little harsh, but I felt Francis was anonymous throughout. I don’t think there is anything Francis does that Bajrami doesn’t do better, so I’d rather see Baj start in future. He also got an early yellow due to a self inflicted mistake, and he made me nervous for the remainder of the first half walking round on a yellow. To his credit he got better after that.
Palmer - 8
Mr Consistent, he rarely misfires, and today was another example of why he is one of the best players in the league. A class above throughout, he cycled possession so well, a particular highlight being his retaining of possession in their corner, pressed by 2 men, but still managing to get a pass away. A crucial cog in this machine.
Rodrigues - 8.5
Ran the show from midfield, drifting around the park and completely bamboozling Eastleigh's defence. Topped off his performance with a lovely finish, but his overall game is what gets him the high rating. Passing was superb, positioning excellent, and he just had a really top top game.
Austin - 8.5
Great to see him finally get his start, and boy did he grab the opportunity with both hands. Was full of energy for 90 minutes, he gives this side a totally new look with his tireless running in behind. He stretches things, opens things up, and ultimately played a key part in the win. Glad he got to stay on for the full 90.
Langstaff - 7.5
Didn’t do a great deal, other than a left footed snapshot in the first half, but his mere presence and movement creates opportunities for the rest of the side. He’s so threatening that he takes 2 men with him wherever he goes, allowing others to shine.
Scott - 7
Came on and attacked the box well, another threat and just showing the quality we have in this relatively small squad. A fine cameo from the forward.
Bajrami - 7
Came on and shored things up, giving a calming presence in the midfield. Didn’t have the most active of games, but didn’t have to. Love his passion as well.
Mitchell - 6.5
Did his job when he came on, ran lots and put his body about. He just lacks that little bit of quality our other players have, but he certainly has his role.
Season stats dashboard below and we have now also split Luke Williams record into home and away games.
With 7 goals and 3 assists Adam Chicksen now finds himself as the 8th highest direct goal contributor in the league.
Macaulay Langstaff tops that table with 18 goals and 5 assists putting him on 23 direct goal contributions.
Luke Williams and his coaching staff quite rightly won the Manager of the Month award for their unbeaten October and Williams now has a 68.24% win percentage in the league.
After safely navigating three very tricky games without defeat and pretty much unscathed Notts can now look forward to a record breaking weekend when they host a struggling Yeovil in front of a sell out Meadow Lane.
Look out for our bumper preview for this fixture, coming soon.
As always, thanks for reading.
For Notts County Stats:
Richard - @notts_stats
Tom - @tomhwilliams23
Colin - @Colin_Sisson