Report | York City (a)
York City 1 - 3 Notts County | Vanarama National League | 24 September 2022
Notts got back to winning ways on Saturday, with a Macaulay Langstaff brace securing all 3 points in a 3-1 victory away to York City.
Nearly 7000 fans witnessed Notts dominate from start to finish, with loanee Quevin Castro grabbing the headlines with his stunning 35 yard free kick. The ball moved mid air following Castro’s sumptuous strike, leaving York keeper Ethan Ross rooted to the spot as the ball struck the post and flew in.
10 minutes after the opener Notts had their first real clear cut chance of the afternoon. York were reluctant to press Slocombe, and with time on the ball he was able to pick a superb pass over the top through to Langstaff. For a man who already has double figures you’d expect him to bury such a chance, but it wasn’t meant to be as Ross denied the Magpies talisman.
Pressure continued to mount on the York goal, with both Rodrigues and Langstaff going close, before O’Brien set Nemane free for a good chance. After half an hour Notts were thoroughly dominant, and were on top heading into the latter stages of the first half. However, in typical fashion the Magpies were unable to make their pressure tell, and paid the price.
York got the equaliser, completely against the run of play, thanks to a combination of horror defending and good attacking. Fraser Kerr was able to get on the end of a Dyson cross, diverting the ball back the way it came past Slocombe.
Notts however showed the fight and resilience which is now synonymous with the Luke Williams’ version of the Magpies, as a few minutes later Langstaff restored the visitors lead.
The goal however was really about Aaron Nemane’s powerful run down the right, beating a man before smashing the ball across the goal face to the back post. Langstaff had to react acrobatically, diving to head home against his former side for his 11th goal of the season. This sent the two sides into the break with Notts having a very slender lead.
The second half continued as the first ended, with Chicksen getting yet another chance to add to his goal tally. Castro played a brilliant ball into the box, a dipping cross which landed at the Zimbabwean’s feet, but Chicksen was unable to divert it past Ross.
Langstaff then had a chance to grab his second as Cameron ran almost the length of the field to provide the pass, but his shot was all wrong.
Just over an hour had gone when Luke Williams made his first change, bringing Sam Austin on for Castro. And it wasn’t long before the midfielder made an impact, showing he hasn’t missed a beat due to his injury. Ruben and Austin pressed York’s back line, forcing a mistake, before the latter played through Langstaff. This time Macca made no mistake, showing great composure before slotting the ball past Ross with his left foot.
Williams made two further changes, bringing Mitchell and Scott on for Rodrigues and Langstaff, and Notts saw out the win.
A brilliant response from last week’s defeat, showing resolve the likes of which we have lacked in previous seasons in the National League. This was only York’s 3rd loss of the season, and the first time they’ve lost by more than one goal, evidence of just how impressive the Magpies performance and response was.
We mentioned in our match preview the importance of Notts taking this game by the scruff of the neck and denying York any opportunity to build their own momentum, and on the whole that's exactly what Notts did.
York were reduced to just one shot at goal and didn't win a single corner. In fact it's frustrating that they scored from that one chance, but overall the stats are pretty favourable for Notts who dominated most of the match actions.
Notts used their possession based, high passing, high pressing game to good affect, recording high numbers in those areas of their game. York had a higher challenge intensity but this could be a by-product of having less possession and having to do more of the defending.
The xG stats suggest Notts deserved the win resulting in an xPTS of 2.55 and a 79.25% win percentage.
Fraser Kerr's goal for York was a big chance converted at 0.45 xG. In fact the expected goals conceded for Sam Slocombe on that chance actually comes in at 0.81 xCG which shows how well Kerr took that opportunity.
xCG is the expected conceded goals value for shots faced by a keeper and differs from xG which identifies the expected goal value for the shot based on a number of criteria which we have discussed at length in previous articles.
xCG considers the situation from the keepers perspective and takes into consideration where the shot actually ended up, if it was on target, if it was in a corner of the goal or straight at the keeper and the keeper's positioning etc.
In this case the ball was hit with pace at the near post into the bottom corner. 0.81 xCG suggests that with all the factors taken into consideration there would have been a 19 out of 100 likelihood of the keeper making a save.
At the other end of the pitch Macaulay Langstaff's saved shot on 16 minutes from Slocombe's long ball was actually his biggest chance with an xG value of 0.56 with his two goals coming in at 0.37 for the first and 0.23 for the second.
Castro's little toe poke free kick recorded an xG of 0.05 suggesting that goal only goes in roughly 5 times per 100 attempts.
Another high scoring xG attempt was that of Adam Chicksen on 50 minutes where after great work on the right by Castro, Chicks manages to get on the end of the former's fantastic cross only to see the ball fly over the top of the bar from about 3 yards out, a chance that recorded a 0.40 xG value.
To be fair to Chicks, as a defender his natural instinct would be to clear that ball off the line, so maybe the part of his brain that controls his instinctiveness was, for a split second, compromised.
Normally we would do a player comparison but so impressive was Quevin Castro's 68 minutes we thought we would take a closer look at his overall stats and performance for this game.
Of course we have to start with that free-kick and there's something quite nonchalant about it in that it almost looks placed. It's likely that the distance from which he struck it was so far that it seemed to take longer to find its target, but also the movement of the ball was quite incredible.
Besides the goal Castro provided a vey good overview of what his game is all about. His off the ball movement, positioning and ball progression were very impressive and the video clip below sees him showcasing all of these attributes in a move that very nearly saw Rodrigues one on one with the York Keeper.
His ability to identify space in which to receive the ball, and then control it, drive forward beyond the oncoming opponent and supply an almost pinpoint key pass into the penalty area showcases some of the very best of his attributes.
And we see this again from the next clip where he presents Adam Chicksen with an almost point blank goal scoring opportunity.
In the footage above we see Castro linking up well with Nemane on the right and again seeing the space to receive a pass and again drive with power and pace past the opposition before providing supplying a dangerous cross for Chicksen.
There's some question marks around Castro's loan move to Burton earlier in the season, a move that saw him red carded and sent back to parent club West Brom after just half a dozen appearances. But its worth noting that in the games he played for the Brewers, almost none of them involved him playing in his favoured position which is clearly as a No.10 or as a No.8 as part of a pair sat just behind the striker.
Looking back on those games for Burton he was played as a wingback, a winger and a central midfielder. Add to this he was at a team having a very poor start to the season it's no wonder there was an element of frustration for Castro.
It's important to identify areas that might require further work and at 21 years old you would expect more still to be learned, however he never really put a foot wrong in this game and the only thing you might pick up on is a couple of occasions where a bit more composure would assist in improving some decision making.
However, that is being hyper critical and he couldn't have produced a more rounded performance, clearly deserving the man of the match accolades bestowed upon him by Notts fans on the socials.