Report | FC Halifax Town (h)
Notts County 1 - 0 FC Halifax Town | Vanarama National League | 28 January 2023
"Alexa, show me a complete hammering,
without it looking like a complete hammering".
At the third time of asking Notts finally had a game go ahead, with their first outing at Meadow Lane since a penalty shootout defeat to Maidstone.
Unsurprisingly, Notts started the brighter of the 2 sides, clearly the outfit looking to press and search for an opener. Notts thought they had found it after 8 minutes, as Langstaff reacted quickest, nodding home a Ruben Rodrigues cross. However, much to their frustration, the linesman raised his flag, favouring the visitors in what was a call of the tightest margins.
Notts remained on top for the start of the half, applying pressure upon the visitors goal. Rodrigues made another foray into their box, this time finding Chicksen, but the wing backs ball was cut out by a grateful Halifax defence. Notts moved again, this time forcing a corner, one which almost resulted in a nightmare for travelling keeper Sam Johnson. He made a mess of collecting Palmer’s delivery, but the visitors eventually scrambled the ball behind and away from danger.
The one way traffic continued, first with skipper Cameron firing over, before Sam Austin, who was deservedly our man of the match, drifted into space, before picking a pass for Adam Chicksen. The wing back found himself in the opposition box, as he has done so regularly this season, but his effort was unable to beat Johnson, as the big Halifax stopper pushed it behind for another corner.
Only the hosts looked likely to open the scoring, and on the half hour mark they had their best chance to date. Langstaff wriggled free in the area, and he met Cameron’s low cross from the left. However, on the turn, Langstaff was unable to get a clean contact on the strike, sending it narrowly wide. The Shaymen should have perhaps heeded this warning from Langstaff, as when given another opportunity he made them pay.
The opener was actually down to a Halifax error, Jamie Stott, at the heart of the Halifax defence, having a moment to forget. Stott received the ball from Debrah, some way from goal, and in fairness, the 25 year old was being closed down by Langstaff. However, he horribly under hit his back pass, allowing Langstaff to race clear into a one on one situation. Johnson closed the angle well, but Langstaff didn’t let that phase him. Taking the ball wide, coolly rounded the keeper, presenting him with a brilliant chance. Stott had made a recovery run onto the line, but after a few touches to gather himself, Langstaff showed frightening composure, sweeping the ball into the empty net. A great finish, and a deserved goal for the dominant Magpies.
Notts didn’t stop there though, and with just over 5 minutes to play before the interval, the Magpies poured on the pressure in search of that second goal. Austin had grown into the game, becoming more active, and his relationship with Chicksen continued to blossom as the afternoon went on. A link up between the pair gave Austin a chance to hit an inswinging cross into the box, but unfortunately for the hosts Jim O’Brien could only head the inviting cross over. Still, Notts were very much the side on top as the action came to a close for the end of the first period.
There were no changes at half time, and no changes in the pattern of play in the game either. Notts continued to pile forward, applying immense amounts of pressure on the Halifax goal in order to put the game to bed. They almost did so with the first real chance of the second half, Jim O’Brien once again involved in the action. His effort was denied, with Halifax looking vulnerable at the back.
It was a link up down the left again between Chicksen and Austin which provided the next meaningful chance. O’Brien had picked out the Zimbabwean, and his knock down found Austin. However, he could only see his shot blocked. Seconds later the ball broke to Austin again, after Rodrigues’ cross evaded the head of Langstaff, but once again Austin was unfortunate, this time the ball bouncing off him into the hands of Halifax keeper.
Both sides then began to make changes, with Scott first replacing O’Brien after 70 minutes. 5 minutes later Austin would make way for debutant Jodi Jones, with the excitement round the ground palpable at the thought of seeing their new man. The visitors also opted to make a change at this juncture, Rob Harker replacing Mani Dieseruvwe, with the departing forward having a much quieter afternoon than his last visit to Meadow Lane.
Despite the changes, the one way flow of traffic continued, with Johnson remaining busy in the latter stages of the afternoon. Rodrigues had the best chance of that period, latching onto another loose pass from the back, but his decision to take the shot on himself, rather than pass to an unmarked Scott, proved to be the wrong one, as Johnson was once again equal to his effort. The visitors made one final change before the end, with Alli replacing Golden, but it made little difference, as Notts completed the most comfortable of 1-0 victories they are likely to have this season.
Another totally dominant performance again clearly displayed in the match actions radar with Halifax well beaten in all areas, except for long ball passes, another feature we have grown to witness, especially in games at Meadow Lane where most teams have to clear long under pressure from Notts' high press.
Based on the match xG the xPTS for Notts comes out at 2.27 compared to just 0.48 for The Shaymen.
Notts came out of the game with a 67.55% expected win percentage with Halifax's expected win percentage a lowly 7.85% confirming just how one way this game was.
Diesruvwe had the one and only attempt on goal for Halifax, a header from a corner that recorded an xG of 0.09.
Macaulay Langstaff's goal came in at a high 0.55 xG in a match that saw him have 4 chances and a total xG of 1.05.
Jim O'Brien pitched in with 3 attempts alongside Rodrigues.
Season stats updated below.
Notts currently have a PPG of 2.321 meaning a points projection of 106.77. Wrexham with their game in hand have a PPG of 2.407 giving a points projection of 110.72.
The closest of the teams chasing the leaders is Chesterfield in 4th with a PPG of 2.08 giving a points projection of 95.68 and Woking in 3rd with a PPG of 2.00 meaning a points projection of 92.00. This further emphasises the levels both Notts and Wrexham have set this season.
Langstaff's 23rd goal means he has had 30 direct goal involvements so far this season, the highest in the league currently.
Luke Williams now has a league win% of just under 68%, 71.43% at home.
Player Stats - National League:
Sam Slocombe continues to have played every minute in the league this season and now has 12 clean sheets, currently he most in the league, one ahead of Wrexham's Mark Howard.
19 Minutes for new boy Jodi Jones on his debut that saw him make 14 match actions with a 79% success rate. The most impressive of these was completing 4/4 recoveries in the opposition half indicating that he has the tenacity and desire to press that is required in a Luke Williams team.
A quick turnaround sees a visit to Solihull at the second time of asking. The original postponement would have helped The Moors more than Notts with key injured/sick players having more time to recover meaning Notts will face a stronger side than the one that has been struggling of late.
Match preview to follow.
As always thanks for reading.
For Notts County Stats:
Richard - @notts_stats
Tom - @tomhwilliams23
Colin - @Colin_Sisson