Notts Held In Thrilling Scorcher

Boreham Wood 2-2 Notts County (National League) 13.08.22

Hot one yesterday, weren’t it?

Comfortably the hottest conditions I have watched a game from the stands in and can only sympathise to some extent for our lads that ran around for ninety minutes because they must have felt as if they were trapped inside an oven. That still does not justify being pegged back to draw the game 2-2, which is what we are here currently to touch on.

Here we go then, a great positive for us coming away from the game was the fact Ruben Rodrigues opened his goal tally for the new campaign. Ironically, it was essentially Rodrigues who began the move from a bit of faultless play he and we now refer to as his standard procedure. The ball trickled through to Macaulay Langstaff, who struck that much fear into a Boreham Wood defender, he channelled his inner goalkeeper and handled the ball leading to the spot-kick. When you see our Portuguese playmaker standing over the ball from the penalty spot, you may as well change the scoreboard before the ball even leaves his right boot. The hosts’ scoreboard operator did not but in shock news did thirty seconds later as we were celebrating taking the lead.

Now then, set pieces. A haunting word, I know, and we faced a glimpse of Deja-vu to last season unfortunately. The delivery from the corner was superb, you cannot take anything away from that, but it was a perfect height for one of our defenders to nod clear yet not a single lavender shirt got close. From that point, we all know sirens sound, here comes trouble. First shot, blocked. Second shot, blocked. Third shot, goal. Two failed attempts at clearances and we paid the full price. Do not get me wrong, I think overall we are much better at protecting our goal when it comes to clean sheets but when the ball drops in our penalty area, all composure is lost and you can sense panic and when you have a striker of the calibre of Danny Elliott on hand to turn home the equaliser, you are creating your own fate and that is what we had the displeasure of doing here.

Second half came around and on came substitutions and more importantly, Kairo Mitchell. I likewise many others online believe there is a top-quality player ready to be released within the boy that Ian Burchnall recruited to then freeze out and each time he appears in our colours, my opinion strengthens. Kairo has the qualities needed to succeed in this division. Pace, strength and goalscoring knowhow and he demonstrated all three to put us back ahead. The beauty of the goal was the fact it was not only practically self-made, but also he had no right to score from the distance he did but that heaps credit on the quality of the finish. Our forward picked the ball up from all of twenty-five yards out, quick turn of pace and before you know it after a low-driven strike into the far corner, we were ahead again.

From apparent hero to eventual zero however unfortunately as Kairo was deemed to (somehow) hurl over a six-foot-five central defender and the referee, who was waiting for any opportunity to level up the game, awarded the penalty. In shock news, Geraldo Bajrami goes down under a similar foul two minutes later and our appeals were waved away. Anyway, concluding a minor rant although I am still not over it, Boreham Wood substitute and the forever threatening Tyrone Marsh stepped up and fired home to level the game for the third time on the afternoon, which turned out to be the final goal in proceedings as the match ended 2-2.

Right then, positives.

Firstly, Ed Francis. Yes, I would sing his praises until I had oxygen within my body, but I cannot help but continuously acknowledge how much his game has improved under Luke Williams. Ed’s individual battle was against Jack Payne, a player who has nearly racked up two hundred English Football League appearances and I do not think our boy lost a dual. It is crazy to me because now all I can really think is Francis played so negatively last campaign due to what our former Head Coach was asking of him. Now, under Luke Williams, the boy is playing much more progressively and is beginning to show off his dribbling abilities. Looks a million times stronger and just a much more complete midfielder, the one we expected with the pedigree of the academy he came through as a youngster. Again, many online feel the exact same way as myself and how can you not? He has had a faultless opening to the new campaign, and long may that continue over what we now like to refer to as a marathon.

Secondly, our wing-backs. I personally thought Adam Chicksen was fantastic but also more praise for Joel Taylor for another good performance in an unfamiliar right wing-back position. Defensively, it was essential they were both solid. We knew what Erico Sousa was going to try, and do as we played against him three times last campaign and he played no different to either of the three occasions and I felt Taylor dealt with that threat superbly. As for breaking on the front-foot, the pair were just as good. There was a huge chance for Chicksen to find the back of the net following a great run for a long pass which he brought down perfectly but was eventually denied by the hosts’ goalkeeper. As for Taylor, his runs forward had Sousa playing as a defender himself at times and to have a player of his quality backtracking at any point of the game is a big advantage. I can assure you Luke Garrard did not set-up for his wingers to get ran over by our impressive full-backs but they were predominately for the whole game. Likewise Francis, another two individuals who have started the season fantastically and as always, long may that continue.

Finally, the away following. Seating area, filled. Open terrace, filled. If we can continue to travel and back the boys away from home like that for many more journeys to come this season our away form will be significantly better than it was last season, believe me. The difference a positive following can make on an away performance is staggering and in the bigger games this divisions has in store for us, I feel we will find that out. I could go on all day about how great it was to see so many faces in our colours, but we have now set the bar high for the standards of away followings, lets keep the numbers rising and give this push for promotion an early catalyst for positive results.

It was not fantastic to only take a point from a game we led twice in. regardless of the fact that Boreham Wood are a difficult side to defeat away from home, I fully expect our squad, with the quality it possesses, to be able to see the games out from late winning positions but I am confident that we will as the season progresses. Quick turnaround now as you are all aware, Gateshead away from home on a long Tuesday night of travelling. An old home for some, but is there any Macaulay Langstaff and Cedwyn Scott goals about? I believe there may well could be.

Lets hope for another three points and move into the local derby day next weekend still at the top of the pile. As always, Come On You Pies!

Boreham Wood: Ashmore, Fyfield, Evans, Sousa, Ilesanmi, Payne, Ricketts (Lewis 77), Brunt (Rees 70), Elliott, Newton (Marsh 34), Williams.

Notts County: Slocombe, Chicksen, Cameron, Baldwin (Bajrami 77), Brindley, Taylor, Francis, O’Brien (Palmer 59), Austin (Mitchell 59), Rodrigues, Langstaff.

Venue: Meadow Park

*Article provided by K-Ci Rennicks (Notts County Correspondent).

*Main image @Official_NCFC Kyle Cameron (right) in action at Boreham Wood.

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