Here we are again. These away trips are just like London buses, aren’t they? We all wait so long for one and then two come at once. However, this one is quite significant. A new venue for supporters in this division and a return to a former stomping ground for two players in particular.
But before all, let’s begin with the all-important recap on Saturday, shall we?
Prior to kick-off, I would have accepted a point away from home against one of the league’s stronger oppositions but ultimately could not help but feel disappointed returning home on the night. The conditions, as we all know, were extremely hot and we had to come out the blocks and try and open the scoring early, which we did inside the first ten minutes. From there, we tried to settle but, in that process, looked prone to a mistake defensively and in the end conceded through a set-piece. Feels like Deja-Vu, doesn’t it?
First-half, 1-1. Felt fair but we were the culprits for our own mistakes yet with it being so early still in the new season, you can expect them. As we know, we then restored our lead courtesy of a sublime strike from Kairo Mitchell. Deserved, regardless of how much it can be denied by some, after the pre-season he has had. Seems as though he has taken advantage of the fresh slate under new management, and we now get to look forward to seeing him continue to relish more freely now he has opened his account for the new campaign. After finding that leveller, the boy went from hero to zero. The referee was looking for any excuse to level the game up and found it when a Wood defender tumbled under minimal contact. Up stepped Tyrone Marsh, who found the back of the net to result the game at 2-2. Again, another case of culprit for our own mistakes but we all watch on and hope history fails to repeat itself over the course of the season.
Enough of last Saturday now, let’s talk Gateshead.
Bring your binoculars Notts fans, we’re located that far away from the pitch it may well feel as if we are already halfway back to Nottingham. In all seriousness however, it will be interesting to see how we perform this evening. Gateshead are obviously a newly promoted side and therefore obviously never faced us last season and may be unfamiliar with ways to counter against our high press. Yes, you can imagine hours of studying has gone into ways of countering our way of playing but there is only so much video footage can coach and countering it physically can take more than the three days they have had properly to focus on our visit.
Previously, we have been successful on our adventures midweek, most memorably the triumph of a win away at Kings Lynn at the beginning of the year. With past form of such in the midweeks, it is no surprise as to why the majority are confident for a positive result. Not only that, but I am stuck with the opinion that if we are wanting to prove ourselves as worthy title contenders, these are the types of games you look at in the fixture list as must-wins and arguably in convincing fashion. As well as this, we have begun our season statistically the strongest of all sides across the opening two games. Although it remains early doors, these things do not happen coincidentally. Our squad is massively better off than what it was last season and that is most noticeable by the depth we have within our
bench that continues to be full of quality that starts week in week out in the majority of the other sides in this division.
I am confident of a positive result tonight and I personally think within the squad and management team that they will see it as a must win regardless of the stage in the season.
Return of the Mac(=aulay Langstaff) and Cedwyn Scott.
As touched on in the beginning, the pair are returning to where they found great personal success last campaign.
Fifty-six league goals between them as they fired Gateshead to gold and promotion to the Vanarama National League before they passed their batons over and left for our Lane. I would imagine the home faithful to be hostile against the duo regardless of all their goalscoring efforts for our opponents as they all fear the scenes of a goal against their former club.
Obviously and deservedly, Langstaff is expected to lead the line up front for us this evening. I do not think there is a single supporter who can be disappointed with what we have seen in the two months he has been with us. Not only does he add a major goalscoring threat and a bundle of many goals, but Macca also possesses the unselfish trait a good striker needs that sees him add assists to his game too. Obviously, the goals he brings to the team are more important but having a striker who can do both was missing last season and that was evident. Now that we have one in our abundance, it is felt our promotion chances have increased as playing the boy gives our opposition another player to worry about other than just Ruben Rodrigues. Last season, I felt teams doubled up on Ruben to ensure he was kept quiet and now I do not feel as if teams can afford to do that and a big factor in that is Macaulay Langstaff. As for tonight, I like the rest of you would love to see our number nine wheel away in celebration against his former teammates. Let’s hope our dreams turn into a near future reality.
As for Cedwyn, mixed fortunes are the best way to describe his beginning to life as a Notts player. Eventually, I do feel we will line-up with both Macca and Scott leading our line with Rodrigues in the ten role but with the staggered pre-season preparations he had, it is understandable as to why as of right now he has had limited gametime. When Scott came on in our away victory against York City, he showed the signs of why we paid the price tag to bring him into the club. Strong, quick, powerful and the ability to shoot from range was why he managed to surpass twenty goals last time out and hopefully we will get to see the same results repeated when back to full match fitness. Tonight, I would be all for the former Gateshead pair starting. But if we are to begin with two forwards, I can see Mitchell taking that place given the goal at the weekend. Yet, it almost feels morally right to give Scott the start, next to his long-time strike partner and with the gallons of service from our playmakers and wing-backs to give him the chance to prove his worth. If this chance is not tonight, I would expect it very soon.
Familiar face in the Gateshead fold, you say?
Correct, Adam Campbell. Remember him? Who doesn’t. A previous two-year spell at the Lane that begun in 2015 and found its conclusion in 2017 following over seventy appearances in our colours, scoring eight times.
How have his fortunes changed for the better? From almost a fringe player at times here to a fan favourite and regular starter at another club in the same division. Football can throw some unexpected turns of events and he certainly went through one of them.
Campbell scored his side’s late equaliser against Barnet last weekend, and I am sure he would love a goal against us this evening.
A tough test tonight for us as is every game in its own right in this division. From the heatwave of the weekend to the scheduled downfall of rain in the midweek, we return to the pitch again to try and ensure we remain top of the pile ahead of the weekend’s local derby.
As always, Come On You Pies!
*Article provided by K-Ci Rennicks (Notts County Correspondent).
*Main image @Official_NCFC Macaualy Langstaff has started his Notts career off in goalscoring fashion.