Vanarama National League | 23 October 21
Notts County 2 - 1 Stockport County
I think it goes without saying that as far as performances go this was without doubt the most complete 90 minutes a Notts team has played for quite some time. Despite the calamitous penalty the final score probably flattered a Stockport team full of quality but remarkably bereft of any creativity.
With Simon Rusk sticking with a 3-4-3 formation that had served him well over recent games Ian Burchnall got his tactics spot on with a 3-5-2 formation that saw wing backs Dion Kelly-Evans and Joel Taylor nullify any threat from Stockport's Ben Whitfield and Macaulay Southam-Hales down the flanks. Additionally this gave Notts a 3v2 overload in the centre of the park where a trio of Palmer, O'Brien and league start debutant Vincent made the most of their space and possession.
Palmer and O'Brien worked relentlessly just in front of the back three and Frank Vincent dazzled us all with his movement and touch which constantly saw him creating the link between midfield and the front two of Wootton and Rodrigues in what turned out to be a man of the match performance which included his first professional league goal and an assist.
It's early days but it's clear young Frank provides the added energy and dynamism that has been missing from the Notts midfield for much of this season. You have to applaud Ian Burchnall for his management of a young player that was struggling to get anywhere near the first team until a week ago and the timing in which Vincent was given his opportunity which might just be the missing piece of the jigsaw for the remainder of the season.
Vincent's performance was also another indication of just how well the clubs recruitment policy is working. You can add Vincent to the ever growing list of added value playing assets at the club which includes the likes of Rodrigues, Wootton and Roberts.
However, we mustn't get too carried away, a run of very difficult games continues on Tuesday night against one of the leagues form teams Bromley, followed by a trip to league leaders Grimsby on the Saturday.
The one positive is that with Kairo Mitchell now showing what he can do and competition elsewhere in the squad in all positions Burchnall will have options available to him that will hopefully see his Notts team come out of the other end of these challenging games having not sustained too much damage.
Finally, it would be unfair if we didn't mention on loan keeper Anthony Patterson who despite not having many saves to make was faultless in commanding his area and showed some excellent distribution. With his loan already being extended until 9th January 2022 Burchnall will have to think twice about bringing Sam Slocombe back from injury if Patterson continues to impress.
Key match stats.
The stats actually suggest the game was much closer than it felt at the time. Stockport made more passes into the final third and made more progressive runs but unfortunately for them most of those attacks were dealt with by the Notts defence.
A couple of interesting pointers were match tempo and smart passes. At 17.59 match tempo for Notts was the highest recorded so far this season. Additionally 11 smart passes is again the highest recorded by Notts in this campaign.
Match tempo is calculated by recording the number of team passes per minute during pure ball possession. The higher the number of passes the quicker the game is being played.
A smart pass is a creative and penetrative pass that attempts to break the opposition's defensive lines to gain a significant advantage in attack.
Points needed updated and 1.750 PPG on average would historically see a top 3 finish if sustained. Click on the legend tags at the top to filter options.
Progress updated. Slowly, slowly catchy monkey.
Results tracker updated.
Goal segment chart updated.
Six game segments updated. With all 6 games in this segment completed those 3 defeats in a row succeeded in keeping the PPG lower than the previous six games.
Player stats next and this is the new table that is also available to view on the player stats page of the website here.
Goals and assists chart updated for goals and assists in all competitions.
Goal scatter chart.
Expected goals for the Stockport game.
As expected Notts came out on top in chances created. Not included is the penalty which has a value of 0.76 which would have given Stockport an xG of 1.93, but this would have given a false indication of how the game might have played out, especially when considering xPTS and win%.
The main reason for not including penalties is that more often than not there was no real attempt on goal so to add a value of 0.76 to a teams total would present an inaccurate version of events.
Notts' player xG below. Two big chances for Notts including the one converted by Vincent. Kyle Wootton with the highest cumulative xG at 0.95.
Match xG and xPTS.
It's fair to say it was probably a closer affair in the first half with Paddy Madden failing convert a big 0.52 chance on 27 minutes. Kyle Wootton also failed to convert a couple of chances, one of them a big chance in the first half but made up for it with his goal in the second half.
Frank Vincent showed everyone how to finish a big chance with his 0.50 goal on 68 minutes.
National League goal scorers includes cup games, penalties and own goals.
Ian Burchnall's record updated after 33 matches.
Looking ahead now and another difficult game this time at home to Bromley.
The Ravens are in a rich vein of form coming into this encounter with the Magpies on the back of 6 straight wins if you include their FA Cup 4RQ win over Hungerford Town.
That said you could argue they've had a reasonably easy run of fixtures with 4 of those games against Aldershot, Weymouth, Dover and Barnet.
The biggest concern from a Notts perspective will be the physical element Bromley have to their game with no less than 8 of their regular starters coming in at over 6ft tall.
How the teams compare so far. Click on the image to expand to getter a better look at the detail.
It's very clear from the above that there will be two polar opposites on the pitch Tuesday night when it comes to style of play.
Notts, as we know, like to have possession and keep the ball on the grass and make their breakthrough's by passing through the lines.
By contrast Bromley's game is much more physical, with limited passing and a more direct style of play. The real concern for Notts here is that the last time they faced this type of challenge was the 4-1 defeat at home to Woking.
The other thing we can pick up from Bromley's stats is their xG and xPTS. The Ravens have averaged 2.37 goals per game so far in the league but their expected goals is much lower at 1.54 per game. This would suggest that they are considerably over achieving. Their shots on target % is above average at 42.90% which may have a slight contribution but they like to get the ball in the box early and with their physicality will always be a handful for any defence.
We are all aware of threat posed by Michael Cheek who again is in and around the top of the current scoring charts but I would be keen to keep an eye on their midfield general Billy Bingham.
Despite being direct Bromley can work quickly through thirds with the ball on the grass if they need to and Bingham is one player who allows them to do this.
The former Crystal Palace academy player has experienced life in the EFL with Dagenham, Crewe and Gillingham and has an 86% pass completion rate so far this season.
Expect Bromley to start with a 3-5-2 formation. This often changes to a 3-4-1-2 depending on how the game is going.
It will be difficult to see Ian Burchnall moving away from the 3-5-2 formation that worked so well for Notts at the weekend but with Bromley's physicality he might be tempted to change things up a bit.
The bookies currently have Notts favourites with evens about the best you can get for the home win.
You are looking at circa 12/5 for the away win and similar for the draw.
Based on these odds Notts have a 52% chance of a win but historically win 43% of games at these odds.
Bromley's expected chance of winning is 29% but usually win 27% of games at these odds.
Hopefully Connell Rawlinson will be able to put himself through another 90 minutes as there's no doubt Notts will have to be ready to defend a string of aerial bombardments which can also come from long throw in's.
It will be interesting to see if Burchnall sticks with the midfield 3 that did so well against Stockport and he might be tempted to play Mitchell with Wootton for their height but then that does leave a conundrum as to who is left out.
Either way expect a bruising encounter and fingers crossed we don't get a repeat of the Woking game!
As always thanks for reading and as mentioned earlier if anyone has any questions relating to the stats please feel free to get in touch.
Until next time.