Report | Yeovil Town (a)
Vanarama National League | 18 February 2023
Notts once again hit a team to the tune of 4-1, although this time it made for slightly more nervy viewing. Macaulay Langstaff stole the headlines, his hat trick not only ensuring victory on the road, but also taking him to the 30 goal mark in mid February. His 3rd goal also marked Notts’ 52nd goal away from home this season; that’s more than 19 sides have managed at home and away combined.
In recent weeks the Magpies have been slow off the mark, but that wasn’t to be the case at Huish Park. A blistering start saw Notts take the lead inside 5 minutes, with Langstaff opening his account for the afternoon. Sam Austin peeled into space on the left hand side, allowing Chicksen to play the ball forwards. Swivelling to face goal, Austin then charged at Staunton. The Yeovil centre back prevented Austin from cutting inside, showing him down the outside. That wasn’t an issue for the midfielder though, as he showed he has a strong weaker foot, dinking a cross to the back post, where Langstaff was on hand to head home the opener.
A mention must be given to Sam Austin. Arguably Notts’ best performer on the day, that cross marked Austin’s 10th assist of the season. After Ruben Rodrigues (11), that’s more than any other player in the league, a remarkable achievement considering the amount of football he’s played.
The game was turned on it’s head following the opening goal, with Yeovil on top for large portions of the half. A combination of sloppy build up play by Notts and the Glovers chasing the equaliser produced a litany of chances. Slocombe made a good save with his feet, before Rawlinson was called into action, producing a fine block to keep Notts in the lead. The Glovers then had 2 quick fire corners go close, but neither D’Ath or Fisher could find the target.
It was Notts’ turn to take control of the game, and they created a couple of half chances. First Langstaff looked to be in again on the half hour mark, but a good recovery challenge halted him in his tracks. Chicksen went closest next, but he was unable to hit the target from the edge of the area. That concluded a close first period.
The start second half was all about Matty Palmer. Pulling the strings from midfield, Palmer was imperious with his passing. First he picked out Nemane after spotting the Frenchman’s darting run. Nemane got too much on the lofted pass though, sending it behind for a goal kick. Palmer wasn’t done there though, as moments later he picked out Langstaff. He looked set to double his tally, beating Smith to the ball. However, few could scarcely believe when he fluffed his lines, hitting the outside of the post in a rare let off.
It was a mistake he would come to rue, as with 25 minutes left in the half Yeovil drew level through Andrew Oluwabori, a man we highlighted as a threat in our preview. It was the Magpies’ own mistakes which cost them though, as indecision from Slocombe resulted in a mistake while in possession. The speedy attacker pounced and made no mistake, punishing Notts and getting Yeovil a deserved equaliser. Oluwabori, clearly buoyed with confidence after scoring, nearly gave his side the lead 5 minutes later, but after some tricky feet he dragged his shot narrowly wide.
With less than 20 minutes to play Notts pressed searching for a winner. Time looked to be running out for Notts, and it seemed the Glovers would take yet more points off of the Magpies. However, with less than 10 minutes remaining Notts surged forward, with Palmer finding himself being brought down in the box. This left the officials with no choice but to award a penalty, putting Rodrigues under pressure once more. He rose to the occasion yet again though, sending Smith the wrong way. His 13th and arguably most important goal of the season so far.
It wasn’t a simple end to the afternoon though, as the hosts went close once more. Following a free kick from Law, which was well saved by Slocombe, the ball fell to Agbaje. His scintillating effort seemed destined to level the scores once more, but could only hit the crossbar and go over.
There was to be another late goal though, but unfortunately for the hosts it was the Magpies who found the net once more. Langstaff had his brace, during the 5 minutes of stoppage time. Rodrigues had picked the ball up some way from goal, drawing the attention of the Yeovil defenders. Excellent movement from Langstaff allowed Rodrigues to play a delightful ball into his path. Langstaff took the ball in his stride, before stroking the ball with his weaker foot past Smith to give Notts a 2 goal cushion.
It wouldn’t be long before he would complete his hattrick. Straight from kick off Notts’ high press win the ball back. A long ball over the top found Langstaff in space, and he raced clear. Excellent keeping from Smith denied him at the first attempt, but a second chance fell to Langstaff, again on his weaker left foot, one which he took this time. Another hattrick and his 30th goal of the season gave Notts a flattering 4-1 victory.
In a match that was chalk and cheese in comparison to the goalless draw at Meadow Lane Yeovil made a very good account of themselves, matching Notts on shots at goal and becoming only the second team this season to better Notts in the territory stats.
Interestingly they were close to matching the Magpies in the press and it's clear the penalty was the big turning point in the game.
Despite both teams having the same number of chances Notts clearly created higher value chances and whilst the penalty inflates that somewhat, if you remove it from the calculations Notts still recorded an average xG per shot of 0.15 compared to 0.11 for Yeovil.
The late, late show from Notts meant that their expected win percentage came out at 65.28% with 2.14 xPTS, numbers that are probably a little unfair to a Yeovil team that probably deserved more from the game.
When it comes to players it was all about Langstaff who accrued a total xG of 1.54 from 8 attempts on goal meaning an average xG of 0.19 per shot.
Jamie Reckord's fluffed header in added time with the score at 2-1 to Notts came in as a big chance with an xG of 0.46, the biggest chance of the game in open play.
Season stats updated below.
Difficult to come up with anything else to add to the season stats that hasn't already been said.
Player Stats - National League:
A troubled Southend are the visitors to Meadow Lane on Tuesday night. The Shrimpers have an uncertain future but the problems off the pitch seem to be galvanising the Essex side on it. Add to this the transfer talk around Notts and Southend's Jack Bridge and it's another tough challenge for the Magpies.
Preview to follow.
As always thanks for reading.
For Notts County Stats:
Richard - @notts_stats
Tom - @tomhwilliams23
Colin - @Colin_Sisson