Report | Yeovil Town (h)
Notts County 0 - 0 Yeovil Town | Vanarama National League | 19 November 2022
Despite smashing the attendance record by almost 4,000, the feeling of disappointment couldn’t be avoided, as Notts failed to break down their visitors. It resulted in a bore draw, one which will be the source of frustration for some time. A game that always carried the potential of being a banana skin, the Glovers deserve immense credit for the way in which they defended. Mark Cooper set his side up to get a point, and they completed their objective, with a clean sheet too.
This result makes it 3 draws in 4 for Luke Williams’ men, but the concern that is creeping into some small parts of the fan base is a little unwarranted. County sit just 2 points behind Wrexham, and in their next 5 the Magpies face 3 sides that currently sit in the relegation zone, so all is not lost in the title race.
County started the game on the front foot, a trend that continued through the entirety of the afternoon’s action. Grant Smith, a player we highlight in our preview, was called into action early, as he made a fine stop to deny Langstaff. Adebayo-Rowling had got free down the right before supplying the league’s top scorer, but Smith was equal to the effort.
It wasn’t long before Notts attacked Yeovil’s goal again, a set piece breaking to skipper Kyle Cameron on the edge of the area. We also highlighted in our preview that he is due a goal, but it wasn’t to be on this occasion as his shot went over. Still, the feeling was positive as Notts continued to dominate in front of the capacity crowd.
The chances began to dry up as Yeovil got into their shape, maintaining a low block which proved difficult to break down. Notts’ superb passing game did craft chances at times though, as Ruben found Sam Austin just inside the area, only for his shot to be well blocked. A frustrating period for the Magpies, but one which they were definitely on top in. Smith in the Yeovil goal had an excellent game, and he made yet another smart stop. This time it was Scott who went close on the turn, but the Glovers keeper showed safe hands.
Adebayo-Rowling seemed to be Notts’ best chance of crafting a breakthrough, as his runs down the right continued to trouble Yeovil’s defence. First his clipped cross was met by Langstaff in the air, but his header went just over. Next he once again got in behind, this time courtesy of Austin, and his cut back found Langstaff once more. However, unlike the talismanic forward’s usual finishing, Langstaff got it wrong, a let off for the visitors.
It was all one way traffic, and with each attack the strength of Grant Smith’s performance only grew. He made a strong save to once again deny Scott, getting down low, gathering the ball at the second attempt. Then it was Chicksen’s turn to force a stop. The wing back showed sumptuous control in order to bring down a bouncing ball, and the finish was excellent too, requiring an acrobatic effort from Smith to turn it behind. Ruben forced one last save out of the Yeovil stopper before the two sides went into the break locked at 0-0.
Despite the contrasting performances on the pitch, it will have been Yeovil boss Cooper who went into the break the happier of the two managers, as his side continued to frustrate their hosts. His side started the brighter of the two in the second period too, as danger man Alex Fisher, who we highlighted in our preview, made himself a nuisance. He used his stature to win a flick on, but Slocombe did well to nullify the threat and collect. Still, a scare for the Magpies, reminding them that Yeovil were still very much live opponents.
County responded well, Adebayo-Rowling getting down the right yet again, looking to pick Scott out in the box, but it wasn’t to be, as Yeovil once again defended their box expertly. Rodrigues then went close with 2 chances in quick succession, but both times he failed to test the keeper. Williams then made his first change of the afternoon, with Castro entering the fray in place of Austin. It wouldn’t take the Portuguese midfielder long to get involved, as his deflected shot from range looked to have Smith beaten, but unfortunately for the hosts it also beat the post.
With 20 minutes to play a note of desperation creeped into Notts’ game, as long range efforts from Rodrigues and then Baldwin both failed to hit the target. A familiar pattern was forming, but the Magpies looked a little devoid of ideas. Williams looked to combat this by replacing Scott with Kairo Mitchell, his physicality meaning Notts could go a little more direct.
Perhaps Notts’ finest chance of making the breakthrough came moments after the substitution, as Cameron thought he had finally got his goal, only for it to be cleared off the line. The Magpies had gone agonisingly close, but the game seemed to be creeping away from them. It seemed it would end that way, but in stoppage time they were afforded one final chance, Chicksen rising highest to meet a ball. Smith was finally beaten, but Chicksen was unable to keep his header down, and with that chance dying so too did Notts’ hopes of taking all 3 points. A massively one sided game ended 0-0, a testament to the effort and organisation displayed by the Glovers but also an indication of the chances squandered by the Magpies.
A more one-sided game you will never see. There was talk on the socials of how dominant the Notts display was, 80% possession and 27 shots. Well, in fact it was an afternoon for records on the pitch as well as off it with a season best 35 shots on goal, over 83% possession and 848 passes with 90.33% accuracy.
The xG stats again clearly indicate the Magpies control of this game recording another season best 3.93 expected goals, a by product you would expect of the number of chances created but there were a few high value opportunities not taken with Langstaff, Scott, Austin and Chicksen all culpable.
Ruben Rodrigues had the most attempts on goal taking aim on 8 occasions with Macaulay Langstaff having 5 sights of the Yeovil goal with Scott and Chicksen not far behind on 4 attempts each.
Analysis of the xG data suggests that the xPTS for this game would be 2.91 for Notts vs 0.05 for Yeovil. Additionally the expected win percentage for Notts was 95.77% compared to just 0.61% for the visitors.
It remains completely baffling that this game ended without a goal being scored, even the one chance Alex Fisher had for Yeovil came in at a very high value 0.56 xG.
Moving on and season stats updated below.
Player stats updated:
With Barnet in FA Cup action this weekend it means Notts are without a senior fixture until the away game at Scunthorpe on Saturday 3rd December. Keep an eye out for our preview.
As always, thanks for reading.
For Notts County Stats:
Richard - @notts_stats
Tom - @tomhwilliams23
Colin - @Colin_Sisson