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Tied Up In Notts Part 3

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 01/04/2007

THE half started with a game of headball before Whittle controlled a header and set up Macca. Macca’s short pass caused Jones to commit a foul and give away a free kick. Notts attacked and Barnes palmed away a fierce volley on 47 for a Notts corner.

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Notts won another corner on 49 but Barnes gathered the ball comfortably. Macca then conceded a corner when it seemed he could have taken the ball, but the corner was again cleared easily. Notts were starting to press which they hadn't done to this point. On 51 minutes, Notts swung in a cross from the left. Newey was on the penalty spot and under no pressure lashed the ball into the top right corner of his own net, giving Barnes no chance whatsoever. Town 0, Notts 1. It was Goal of the Season stuff, but in the wrong net. "he couldn't have done it if he'd tried" commented Swanny’s mate Mick.

Unsurprisingly, Notts were encouraged and gaining confidence and on 54, Lee turned well and brought a save out of Barnes. On 57, with the ball bobbling around, Hunt slowed the play down and started a move with a pass to Toner who in turn put in a good ball to Jones. Corner to Town. Town were hustling and battling. After a patient build up Jones set up Newey inside the box who sent a screaming shot just wide of the left post. Swanny commented on the lack of atmosphere in the ground. Just a cold blast of air ran through the stand.

On 61 another Notts attack was kept out by Barnes who conceded a corner. On 63, a Hunt interception set up a move between Boshell and Till who almost lost control. The ball was put out to the left and Town won a free kick for handball. Till was replaced by North. Toner’s free kick was too close to the keeper and merely resulted in a foul. Bolland almost got North through on 65 but offside was awarded. Then Boshell passed to Bolland and North almost made it through the resilient defence. The ball went back to the Town end on 71 minutes when Notts raced out and exposed Town’s defence. Ross had a clear chance and had only Barnes to beat from a straight angle but hit it at a comfortable height and Barnes pulled off a good save. Notts should have scored and were now starting to get their shots in.

Boshell mishit a pass to Jones and Jones was then caught offside before on 75, Town made two further substitutions with Bloomer on for the injured Fenton and Taylor on for Toner. Town were now playing 4-3-3. Worryingly Boshell went down in pain a minute later while Notts continued play and won a corner. Boshell was able to limp back on. The corner came to nothing and Jones showed great spirit at the Notts end to win a free kick and a booking for Notts’s Pipe. Newey’s free kick swung in and Whittle’s powerful header went just over the bar. On 81 a North flick won a throw-in and Taylor showed further skill to get round the defence, firing in a shot which came off the defender’s shoulder. A push on the left earned Town a free kick on 82. Newey overhit it.

On 84 minutes Dudfield was through but Newey robbed him of the ball at the last minute before he could shoot. The ball came upfield again and Newey was fouled on the byline. Newey once again overhit the free kick but this time Notts broke away with the ball and with Macca beaten, Smith had just Barnes to beat. Barnes pulled off a brilliant stop but the ball came back out to Smith who planted the ball low underneath the goalkeeper to make it Town 0, Notts 2.

Town pressed on but Macca wasted an advantageous position on 87 by committing a foul throw. Hunt got booked on 89 after pursuing a defender and seemingly winning the ball, but not according to the referee. Paper blew across the pitch. It was getting colder again. The build up play was there but time was running out and the ball did not run for Town as Jones knocked on but only to a defender. Bolland got a left footed shot in on 92 but straight at the goalkeeper. The ball went back upfield and the game ended with the ball in the corner of Town’s half. It was over. Grimsby Town 0, Notts County 2.

Verdict. The performance wasn't bad, especially in the first half and odd moments in the second but the play wasn't always fluid and we didn't threaten very much. We didn't seem to create enough width in the build up play and when we did, Newey was as erratic as ever with his crosses. Town had a number of free kicks and corners but invariably wasted them, indeed it was an overstruck free kick which led to the breakaway and the second Notts goal. Much of Notts’s attacks came from poorly executed moves from attacks in their area and this is something we need to watch. There were signs of impatience at times and Jones struggled up front on his own, putting into question the tactics. This is no criticism of Jones who battled hard, as did the team in general. The defence on the whole performed well and there was good and determined support play. The Newey own goal was just ridiculous. Whittle played very well and I thought Fenton more anticipation and movement than usual to go with his undoubted ball skill and his threat in attack. The Man of the Match for me was Hunt who battled and won everything before distributing intelligently. Bolland wasn't far behind and deserves honourable mention. Ultimately the end result was miserable and we caused our own downfall in this game.

The cold sun was peeking out as we all trooped funereally through the tunnel of wind. We headed once again past the iron railings and the grey factories and warehouses, then back to the station and away from monochrome Nottingham to the technicolour world beyond. League Table

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