Notts County 2-2 Chesterfield (National League) 20.08.22
The most recent meeting with Chesterfield, where do we begin? We all wanted to go home on the stroke of the hour but ultimately left disappointed we didn’t snatch all three points. That is certainly how I felt, and if we played for an extra five minutes, I feel that a win would have been a reality for us.
But, why didn’t we take all three points?
Well, a big factor of it must be that first half display. I know recently we have become a self-proclaimed one-half team but if that opening three quarters of an hour is how we are looking to define that term this season, I hope we find a better solution and quickly. It was sluggish, almost painful to watch at times leaving me and many others thinking it was a shadow of the side we have seen in recent weeks. Defensively, we looked so lacklustre and that was typified by the opener. Chesterfield played a ball down the channel and Adam Chicksen was immediately left redundant in no-mans-land leaving Aden Baldwin with no choice but to come over. Joe Quigley then has the simple task of playing the ball into space, which eventually resulted with the ball at the feet of Liam Mandeville who fired home.
Deja-Vu? Most certainly seemed that way, gifting the opposition goals at the expense of our mistakes.
Second half, just as we needed to come out the stronger of the two sides, we did the complete opposite. Whatever Luke Williams said in the team-talk paid off in the end, but I cannot imagine he told the players to wait fifteen extra minutes before deciding to turn the game around. But that is how we begun, slow and lethargic and that was an open invitation for Chesterfield to double their advantage, which they did. I will save you the mental despair of recapping the horror show we had the discomfort of watching defensively and just leave it plain and simple, you give strikers of the calibre of Akwasi Asante the time and space within the penalty area in this division, you get punished and we did.
It felt as if we were dead and buried and in for a long old gruesome final thrity minutes of football, but a certain Macaulay Langstaff had other ideas. Huge mention to the pairing of Cedwyn Scott and Sam Austin, who I will touch on more later below for coming on from the bench and completely changing the game. But before that, the first goal. The perfect example of a typical poacher, instinctive finish. Sounds cliché, I know, but that is just two of many ways to describe the attributes of our number nine. All it took was a lapse in concentration across the backline of the opposition and the net bulged. It is no secret when Langstaff is around, dwelling on the ball isn’t the smartest idea and clearly my point was well-proven for the goal that restored faith.
Three minutes later, we were level. A ball into Macaulay Langstaff from Sam Austin just as good as being served on a silver platter with a knife and fork and our number nine did what he does best and turned the ball home for the leveller. The traveling faithful from Chesterfield stunned into silence, pretty much as they were the whole game up until their two goals, as their side were left on the back foot for the remainder of the game. Despite Ruben Rodrigues coming close and Macaulay Langstaff being heroically denied of his hattrick, the local derby found its conclusion at a point a piece with the score line of 2-2.
Although the game felt as if it was mainly negative, two bright sparks created many positives.
When we need an injection of energy in the midfield, Luke Williams subbed on the boy, and he gave us just that. I was critical of Austin’s performance against Boreham Wood but now cannot help but feel if he was involved at Gateshead, the result may have been different. The Chesterfield backline hated the introduction of Austin as he guaranteed the dirty work, the runs in behind and the ability to deliver the perfect cross from an almost dead ball situation, which he did for Macaulay Langstaff’s second. After this game, it’s hard to see an eleven that lines up against FC Halifax Town next weekend that doesn’t have him in it. The boy was magical today and really showed what he is about and what we can expect more of from him as the season progresses.
Another player who changed the game. I like many others am really looking forward to the game this man is deemed fit enough to lead the line with Macaulay Langstaff as I believe that pairing will be the real deal for us this season. What I liked the most about Scott’s performance was his desire to get in behind. The boy has got pace and strength, which already tips him to be a good forward possessing the valuable traits, but it is how he used it that impresses the most. The physicality of the boy proved a nightmare for a tiring chesterfield defence and that showed by the parts he played for both goals. I can confirm I have joined the rest of you in the club of impatience waiting for him to start upfront, but believe me when he does, I feel we are in for a treat of a result regardless of whoever the opponent maybe. Absolutely fantastic individual display, the same calibre of substitution performance as Sam Austin put in.
Football can be one funny old game, can’t it? We went from looking unbelievably bad to unbelievably fantastic to the stage where chesterfield feel lucky to leave with something from the game themselves.
We are still unbeaten, and we go again next weekend in a positive mindset full of belief to get yet another three points on the board in the early stages of the season and continue our momentum into what is scheduled to be a busy, difficult September for us.
As always, Come On You Pies!
Notts County: Slocombe, Cameron, Baldwin (Bajrami 72), Brindley, Chicksen, Nemane, Palmer, O’Brien (Scott 59), Rodrigues, Mitchell (Austin 59), Langstaff.
Chesterfield: Fitzsimons, Horton (Maguire 90), Grimes, Mandeville, Williams, Dobra, Asante (Clarke 87), King, Oldaker, Quigley (Tshimanga 66), Banks.
Venue: Meadow Lane
*Article provided by K-Ci Rennicks (Notts County Correspondent).
*Main image @Official_NCFC Aaron Nemane in action for Notts County.