Notts County have not had the fairy-tale-like return to the EFL many supporters were hoping for after a summer of high anticipation, following a hugely successful campaign last time out. 1,200 fans made the trip down to South London to watch their side be beaten handsomely by a physically dominant Sutton United side. Head Coach Luke Williams described his side’s performance as “pathetic” post-match, while also being full of praise for those fans that made the 260-mile round-trip.
Skipper Kyle Cameron was also interviewed following the defeat at Gander Green Lane, outlining the importance of Tuesday’s fixture against League 1 Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup first round, to bounce back from this result. This would be a competition Notts had not competed in since 2018.
Williams made 8 changes to the side that was thumped 5-1 at Sutton, one of which was forced as new goalkeeper Aidan Stone was suspended, opening the door for last season’s number one, Sam Slocombe. Other additions saw Aden Baldwin, Adam Chicksen, Dan Crowley, and Geraldo Bajrami involved from the start, although the latter was forced off with what seemed a nasty injury barely ten minutes in.
Things did not improve for the Magpies either as the game went on, falling behind to a Sean Roughan goal just beyond the 20-minute mark, tapping home Danny Mandriou’s flicked on corner from close range. Despite Notts dominating the possession, things went from bad to worse just after the interval, when a mis-placed Richard Brindley pass was intercepted by Danny Mandriou, who had his shot blocked by the defender, only for it to fall to full back Lasse Sorensen who slotted the loose ball into the back of the net from just inside the area. To add insult to injury, when just before the hour mark Aden Baldwin pulled back Tyler Walker, earning himself a second yellow card, and subsequently a red card, reducing the Magpies to ten men for the second game in succession.
Following on from the two successive defeats, many Notts supporters have been calling for defensive reinforcements, most notably Darnell Fisher, who has reportedly been training with the Magpies. The former Preston North End defender would be a smart addition to Luke Williams’ side, with the ability to play on the right of a back-three, or as an out and out right back in a back-four formation. Only time will tell however if Notts are to look towards the market again before the window shuts at the end of the month. Especially with gaffer Williams replying simply “I don’t know” when asked whether County would be in active pursuit of any new faces before their next game.
Notts now must look forward to Saturday, where they play Grimsby, the first EFL game at Meadow Lane since 27th April 2019, where they beat Saturday’s opponents 2-1, thanks to goals from Craig Mackail-Smith and a Harry Clifton own goal. The Mariners come to Meadow Lane off the back of a 0-2 defeat to Mansfield Town in the Carabao Cup, meaning both sides will be looking for a response sooner rather than later to kickstart this season’s campaign.
*Article provided by Will Sey (Notts County Correspondent).
*Main image @Official_NCFC Jim O’Brien in action against Lincoln City.