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Notts County 2 v 1 Colchester United
SkyBet League Two
Tuesday, 19th August 2014 Kick-off 19:45
Notts County 2 U's 1 - Noah's View
Wednesday, 20th Aug 2014 21:54 by Noah4x4

Had the U’s won 2-6 no Magpie fan could have legitimately claimed that the result was an injustice. In past times, one suspects that any one of Jamie Cureton, Kevin Lisbie or Scott McGleish might have taken the match ball home with them. I have never seen the U’s so overwhelmingly dominant and yet fail to win. The official possession statistic was 53% in favour of the U’s, but to achieve 47% County possession somebody must have been counting the time when the ball was NOT in play in Roy Carroll’s (or ball-boys) hands as the home side put on the most shameful display of time-wasting.

In the most exciting yet frustrating U’s (or League One) game that I have EVER seen the two teams conspired to produce 35 shots between them with the majority (24) attributable to the U’s (with 9 on target). Isn’t that what the fans want, reminiscent of the attacking exciting football of yesteryear? But today, no doubt the moaners and doom-mongers will be having a field day in the Gazette columns because we lost. The U’s pressure on the home goal mouth was relentless, indeed monotonous, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, SAVE. Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, MISS. Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, SAVE (repeat x 23 times). Our players danced around the Magpie defenders as if they were tailor’s dummies, but sadly with only a single end result. If Joe Dunne ever suffers from recurring nightmares, this will be his.

It wasn’t as though the U’s attackers were actually fluffing their lines. We were missing headers by inches, shaving the posts/bar with shots, with Roy Carroll pulling off some great saves as regards the NINE we hit on target. It’s true that there were a couple of moments when beating the keeper ‘one on one’ seemed routine, here with one goal taken and one missed, both by Freddie Sears, but this wasn’t a game where we missed any certain tap-ins nor sitters, simply good fortune simply defied us within a magnificent attacking effort, but I do feel that a Lisbie or Cureton would probably have made us smile.

The game started with the U’s on the back foot as County threw the kitchen sink at them. On six minutes, a miscued shot by Wroe looked to be harmlessly heading for the corner flag, but in a hopeless lunge, Murray stretched out a boot with zero aim or control, and the ball spun off his toe into Sam Walker’s net leaving the giant keeper stranded, simply one of those unfortunate flukes. If only we had managed to miss-hit a few of our shots in a like manner.

Ibrehe, Sears, Bean, Moncur, Vose, Gilbey (et al) repeatedly went agonisingly close with too firm strikes. We peppered the home goalmouth and it was one of those days when the best side by a country mile (let alone a county mile) undeservedly lost, but no doubt others will (rightly) tell me that it is goals that count and not shooting statistics. But you had to be there to realise just how unlucky we were. We must come away from this with many positives. But what might we have done differently?

I would like to see what might happen if Dan Holman leads the line along with Sears, but with Jabo slotted in behind them (as Ibrehe does seem to like to win/fetch the ball) with Ibrehe selected instead of Marcus Bean. It is easy to say this with hindsight, but this was perhaps that perfect day for a prolific out and out goal scorer like Holman to shine given the abundance of chances. But having not started with Holman, Joe Dunne (IMHO) later made the right decision to add the extra pace of Szmodics (rather than the former Braintree striker) when County slipped to ten men, and then nine as the referee rightly punished the most appalling time wasting demonstration. But frankly, this made it more difficult for the U’s as they then faced all ten (or nine) men behind the ball with the home team protecting their slender lead. The sending offs were perversely probably to our disadvantage as County abandoned all forward ambition.

The U’s had earlier deservedly pulled back to 1:1, and looked destined to win, only to see a double slip by Marcus Bean allow Noble to fire off a speculative, but magnificent shot from distance that curled into the top corner. Here I disagree with Gerry. A Gordon Banks on springs couldn’t reach this rocket. Frankly, Walker (or Carroll!) could have done nothing with either of the Magpie strikes and there was the difference. Had Vose, Moncur’s or Gilbey’s similar missile like attempts (also from 30 yards) found the net we would be praising the ‘goal of the century’. After Vose’s near miss we were reminiscing about similarities with Greg Halford’s goal at Layer Road. Nobody can now accuse the U’s of “trying to walk the ball into the net” when we are willing to shoot on sight, but on refection, perhaps an extra pass, or an extra shimmy of the ball, or a just a moment of patience might have been the correct tactic for 50% of our shots, notably in the last ten minutes when it became nothing more than distance shooting practice for the U’s, where we demonstrated that we are not very good at it. Oh for a 'goal-poacher', 'fox in the box'....but might that be Holman on Saturday with Sears alongside and Jabo behind in the Marcus Bean role?

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