Gateshead 1 - 1 Notts County | Vanarama National League | 16th August 2022
Notts were frustrated once again on the road, coming away from a trip to the North East with just a single point to show for it. However, unlike Saturday at Meadow Park, it was The Magpies who had to come from behind at the Gateshead International Stadium, which if nothing else displayed some resilience and fight late on.
The opening 20 minutes saw Gateshead dominate, with the biggest chance of the opening proceedings falling to former Magpie Adam Campbell, who forced a smart stop from Slocombe. However, with Notts growing into the game it looked like it would be the visitors who would open the scoring. A plethora of chances fell the Magpies way, with Ruben Rodrigues posing the biggest threat to Heed stopper Montgomery, but the hosts held firm, sending the two sides into the break at deadlock.
An opening 45 minutes without a goal couldn’t have been more stark a contrast to the second period, where it took just a minute for winger Tom Allan to run onto an under hit back pass from Kyle Cameron to open both the scoring and his account for the season. Allan is the man Gateshead brought in to replace Langstaff, and scoring your first goal against the side Langstaff left for is sure to have pleased the 22 year old.
Despite going ahead, Gateshead did not let up, making for an exciting, end to end second half. Adam Chicksen was heavily involved down the left, exploiting the space left by Gateshead’s attack, but right back Tinkler, who ended up man of the match, was in fine form. Former Notts loanee Kenton Richardson also put in a terrific performance, playing across the back line, and not looking uncomfortable in any of the defensive roles given to him.
Just after the hour mark Luke Williams opted to make his first changes, with super sub Kairo Mitchell entering the action. Whilst his impact from the bench wasn’t quite as profound as against Boreham Wood, the Grenadian international did hit the post, and continued to make a nuisance of himself all night. Further changes saw Langstaff replaced by Cedwyn Scott, the two former Gateshead strikers receiving a good reception from the home crowd in the process. Makeshift right wing back Aaron Nemane continued to harass the Gateshead back line as Notts pushed for an equaliser, and with 10 left to play Frank Vincent was introduced from the bench in place of O’Brien.
The breakthrough finally came in the 88th minute, as Nemane once again got forward from the right, putting in a dangerous ball which was ultimately turned into the net by Gateshead defender Louis Storey. An unfortunate goal to concede, but one which Notts deserved on the balance of play, and with 4 minutes added on there was still time for either side to grab a winner. However, it was not to be, as the spoils were shared, with Notts once again feeling they had dropped 2 points.
The Non-League Tinkerman
Luke Williams changed his 11 for the first time, with Aaron Nemane, Matty Palmer and Geraldo Bajrami coming in for Joel Taylor, Sam Austin and Aden Baldwin. Nemane’s re-introduction to the side meant Notts would operate with a more conventional right wing back, albeit still not a natural position for Nemane, and having a natural right footer proved decisive, with Nemane’s cross providing the winner.
Sam Austin dropping out of the side was a pragmatic choice, with Williams choosing to try to dominate the midfield in order to stifle the attacking threat Gateshead carried. The most interesting, and perhaps bizarre change, was in the heart of the defence. Whilst Williams’ hand was forced by the injury to Aden Baldwin, the natural choice would have been to play Bajrami in the central role as a like-for-like replacement. Instead, Williams opted to shift Cameron into the centre and play Bajrami on the left of the three, something which caused confusion, and which never really looked right. Williams himself commented on the unfamiliarity of the role for Bajrami, and losing Cameron’s attacking presence from the left half space proved to be a big miss.
Onto the stats and on the face of it Luke Williams was probably right in his assessment that Notts did enough to leave with all three points.
As expected, Notts dominated possession, but we also had a far higher xG than the hosts.
We can also see from the xG that after 13 minutes Gateshead didn’t really have any major chances; in fact their xG hardly increased at all. This was a stark contrast to Notts, who grew into the game, and especially late on, when they were applying pressure, you can see their xG really inflate.
One man who might look back at his performance with regret is Macaulay Langstaff who would have been desperate to get one over his former side, and he had the chances to; he had the highest xG of any player at 0.75. In fact, Langstaff had an xG of just 0.14 lower than the entire Gateshead side, showing how threatening he was.
Unfortunately, an inability to convert these chances on the night proved costly, but also comes as somewhat of a surprise; on the opening day against Maidenhead Langstaff scored twice, despite having a lower xG than last night (0.71). Hopefully he, and the rest of the Notts side, will convert their chances in future, and the stats at least tell us that there is still much to remain positive about.
Goals + Assists:
An assist for Aaron Nemane and 'Own Goal' nets his first for Notts this season.
Back on home soil Saturday and the visit of in form Chesterfield in front of the BT Sport cameras.
The Spireites have had a decent start to the season and looking at their stats really put Wrexham to the sword last night with 21 attempts at goal compared to 7 from Hollywood.
Based on the last couple of games could Kairo Mitchell be the foil to Langstaff or indeed Scott and impress against his old club? Preview to follow soon.
As always, thanks for reading.
Your Notts County Stats Team:
Richard - @notts_stats | Colin - @Colin_Sisson | Tom - @tomhwilliams23