Back in the early 80's Notts were enjoying life in the top flight of English football. Jimmy Sirrel had succeeded in steering the Magpies through 3 promotions in a 10 year spell that lives long in the memory of us fans who were old enough to have experienced some of those glory days.
Around the same time I had an old Hillman Hunter Estate that I had managed to pick up for about £250 after weeks of pouring over 'Jalopy Corner' in the Evening Post's classified adverts section.
It was probably an odd car purchase for a 19 year old, but I'd not been working long, money was tight and I was just happy to have some independence.
The thing about the Hillman Hunter was it was a little understated, not always reliable and certainly wasn't a head turner. Like many cars of that time it often took a while to get going.
The battery loved to play mind games with you when turning the key in the ignition, a laboured whirring from the alternator, and then a cough and a splutter as the spark plugs took it in turn to fire up the 4 cylinders and the old engine would splutter into action. You had to be clever with the choke and accelerator pedal as well, too much petrol and the engine flooded.
Once on the road you had to take it slow to start with, let the engine build up to temperature and take it steady on the gear changes as the oil in the gearbox reached it's optimum viscosity. Essentially you had to be patient, you had to be intimate with the car, but eventually everything would find it's place and the trusty old Hunter would respond with a smoother, less stressful ride.
It wasn't the most attractive car on the road and certainly didn't command the desirability associated with other models of the time. The Hunter was slow out of the blocks, often unreliable and at times immensely frustrating, but that said it was always there, ready to take me on any journey short or long.
It didn't always reach it's desired destination and often needed patching up to help get it over the line, but when performing at it's best it was quite simply unbeatable.
The last couple of games for Notts have very much put me in mind of that old car. Slow to get going, at times stuttering and frustrating, but eventually finding a groove and doing just enough to get over the line, not withstanding a few heart in mouth moments.
Key match stats.
Maidstone's compact and defensive 5-4-1 formation did it's job in the first half limiting Notts to some low value chances, the biggest chance of the half falling to Ruben Rodrigues whose attempted volley ricocheted back off a Maidenhead defender.
Notts became more adventurous in the second half with Brindley and Cameron both being braver on the ball and driving into the gaps between the Maidenhead defensive lines. This resulted in the visitors siting even deeper and frustrating the Notts attack. This is apparent in the PPDA values above where Maidenhead were quite happy to allow Notts just under 12 passes on average per attack.
The chances still came for Notts though with Cal Roberts taking a leading role with a penalty well saved by the Maidenhead keeper and then finding the top tier of the Kop with chance you would put your wages on him scoring.
Either way, Alex Lacey's flick was enough to ensure all three points.
Points needed updated. Click on the legend tags at the top to filter options.
Results tracker updated and now with trend line.
Goal segment chart updated.
Again, no goals recorded in the first 30 minutes.
Six game segments updated.
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.
Goal scatter chart updated.
Expected goals for this game and the slow start very obvious as is the increase in intensity in the second half.
It's fair to say that results could be much easier to come by if Notts can find a way to recreate these second half performances in the first half.
Based on the above xPTS for Notts was 2.86 and win% estimated at 94% suggesting that overall Notts were firmly in control of the game and should have won more comfortably, but we all knew that didn't we?
Player xG below.
National League top scorers updated.
To try and alleviate some of the time it takes for me to complete these stats I'm going to continue to do player features but as a separate post as it often requires a considerable amount of time to provide accurate and justifiable analysis.
Ian Burchnall's record updated after 26 matches.
Altrincham away on Saturday and the big question will be around the fitness of Kyle Cameron and whether a stand in CB is brought in for cover.
As always thanks for reading.
Until next time.