Notts County 1-4 Woking (National League) 02.10.21
Notts become the latest promotion chasing side to fall victim to a reality check from Woking, Alan Dowse once again playing all his cards right.
The game began at a high speed with both sides trying to register counter attacks leading to the opening goal. The competitive nature of the game was immediately present, with both sides flying into early challenges with the helping hand of the heavy downfall of rain, which poured relentlessly for the entirety of the first half.
It was the home side who took the lead after half an hour through a strike from the forever dangerous Ruben Rodrigues. It was Jim O’Brien with the clever work before playing an incisive pass into the feet of the goalscorer, who then shifted the ball onto his left foot before dispatching fiercely into the bottom corner, giving Notts a deserved lead.
Shortly after the opening goal, Notts had a golden opportunity to increase their advantage. Goalscorer Ruben Rodrigues wormed around the edge of the Woking penalty area looking for an opportunity to strike towards goal. It didn’t come and as a result of this worked the ball wide to charging full-back Richard Brindley, who’s attempt at goal turned out to be a decent cross to wide-man Kairo Mitchell, who failed to connect with the ball with any real intent, and the chance went begging for the hosts.
Just as the first half looked as if it was coming to an uneventful close, a goal mouth scrambled in the Notts six-yard box transpired. The visitors looked as if they were destined to equalise before the game was halted causing some confusion around Meadow Lane. Following consultation with assistant referee, the referee awarded the hosts a free kick following treatment received by a Notts defender, which created fury within the Woking side. This was made evident as the whistle went for half time, which saw three Woking players question the decision made by the officials as a rather confused Alan Dowse looked on in disbelief over the decision.
The second half begins and both sides kick-off unchanged. The opening twenty-five minutes of the second half seemed to follow suit with the first half, with a close, competitive nature on a soaking pitch. However, the lead held by the hosts was cancelled out on the fall of the seventieth minute as former Notts striker Inih Effiong’s goal bound effort cannons off the far post and into the back of the net for the equaliser, following some determination and trickery from midfielder Solomon Nwabuokei.
The equaliser led to the travelling supporters re-establishing their voices, creating some fine noise in the corner of the away end. Their efforts were shortly rewarded as their side took the lead just five minutes later. The equaliser sparked fight with the Woking side and a concession of dangerous attacks finally concluded in a corner. The resulting corner saw a lofted cross delivered by Max Kretzschmar met firmly by the towering Moussa Diarra, deflecting off a Notts defender’s head and straight past shot-stopper Anthony Patterson.
It was felt that the hosts being 1-2 to the good, would try and sit and defend what they have. That turned out to be the complete opposite, as three minutes later, the visitors extended their lead to two following the inevitable goal via another former Notts attacker Tavhon Campbell. Another tidy Woking attack found its conclusion at the feet of the club’s top goalscorer, who turned sharply on the sixpence before dispatching Woking’s third into the back of net. This felt like job done to the visitors and this was made evident by the joyous celebrations in the far corner by both players and fans.
At 1-3, many sides tend to give up as any form of comeback seems unlikely. Although the hosts tried everything within their abilities to spark any real comeback, it was just never to be. Off the back of five minutes of mildly attacking football from the home side, matters were made worse. What was left of the home faithful in the ninetieth minute saw Woking add a fourth. The away following could’ve described it as the cherry on the icing of the cake, as dangerman Tavhon Campbell closed in on the Notts’ goal before rounding young Anthony Patterson and slotting into the open net. This undoubtedly rubbed salt in many already opened wounds.
The full-time whistle followed shortly after, and it was Woking who left Nottingham convincing winners. This topped off an already impressive week for the cards, beating two top teams in the division comfortably in the space of five days.
Post-match, Notts head coach Ian Burchnall claimed his side lost the game ‘within eight minutes’ after his side ‘controlled the game and created a lot’ in the first half. He went onto to say the visitors had five minutes of the second half before his side went on to pepper their goal in hope of extending their advantage, which obviously never turned out to be the case. Following on from this, Burchnall branded his side’s defensive play as ‘disappointing’, especially from set pieces.
From the Woking camp, defender Josh Casey showed his appreciation to all the travelling cards supporters, who ‘braved the pouring rain with a fuel shortage’. Following on from Josh Casey’s appreciation was Kyran Lofthouse emphasing the quality of the past week for the club by branding it as an ‘amazing week’ and Saturday’s result at Notts County just as good.
So, what is next for both clubs?
Starting with Notts County, the magpies travel to west Yorkshire to take on FC Halifax Town, who drew 0-0 with league strugglers Barnet this past weekend. The magpies need an urgent response to this weekend’s heavy defeat to keep in touching distance with those at the top. Playmaker Cal Roberts will be available for selection once again for Notts as he served his one match suspension this past week. This as expected, a welcomed return from the Notts faithful.
As for Woking, they’re back at home for the second consecutive Tuesday for the visit of another promotion pushing side in Dagenham n Redbridge, who fell to defeat this weekend against on form Altrincham. After a highly impressive past week, the cards will be full of confidence for this fixture as they target the hattrick of victories over the top sides in this division.
To conclude the match report, another disappointing display from Notts, who have now fallen to seventh. The magpies are desperately to return to winning ways as they aim for another unbeaten run. Although they’ve been beaten twice in the past two games, the football season is the ultimate rollercoaster and no game in this league is an easy one, as Notts have found out the tough way recently. Onto FC Halifax Town now.
Notts County: Patterson, Chicksen, Lacey, Brennan, Brindley, O’Brien (Vincent 84), Palmer, Rodrigues, Mitchell, Wootton, Nemane (Knight 76, Dion Kelly-Evans 90).
Woking: Ross, McNerney, Casey, Diarra, Lofthouse, Kretzschmar (Thompson-Sommers 89), Ince, Nwabuokei (Allarkhia 90), Champion (Johnson 65), Effiong, Campbell.
Venue: Meadow Lane (5,807)
*Article provided by K-Ci Rennicks (Notts County Correspondent).
*Main image @Official_NCFC it was a tough day in the rain at Meadow Lane.