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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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21 February 2023 Venue Meadow Lane Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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Vanarama National League

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Match Reports

Notts 4-0 Southend

Langstaff and Austin both bag two

21 February 2023

We made it seven straight wins and stretched our unbeaten run to 25 matches with an excellent display against Southend United.

Macaulay Langstaff and Sam Austin scored a goal in each half as we picked off the league's meanest defence superbly.

The result meant we maintained our five-point gap at the top of the National League.

Luke Williams made three changes to the side that beat Yeovil 4-1 three days earlier.

Aden Baldwin stepped back into the heart of our defence, Jodi Jones was handed a start at right wing-back and John Bostock was also included in midfield.

That meant Geraldo Bajrami and Jim O’Brien were named on the bench alongside Archie Mair, Joel Taylor and Ed Francis, while Aaron Nemane missed out as a precaution.

After a quiet but controlled start, we had the lead when Ruben Rodrigues controlled an attempted clearance on his chest and spotted the clever movement of Langstaff ahead of him, disguising a pass into his feet. The forward took one touch and produced a typically-clinical, curled finish to put us in front.

Rodrigues then had an opportunity of his own, sending a shot wide of the near post following good work by Jones, before we doubled our lead with another well-worked goal.

This time John Bostock was pivotal, curling a delightfull ball into the box from a central position and watching on as Austin timed his run perfectly to head it home on the stretch.

It was nearly 3-0 on 36 minutes when Langstaff controlled the ball 25 yards out and surprised everyone with a left-footed snapshot which flew just wide of the post.

There were no changes at the break but the visitors gave us an early scare when Gus Scott-Morriss escaped down the right before seeing his dangerous low cross claimed by Sam Slocombe.

But, on 56 minutes, the game was effectively over as Rodrigues pounced on a misplaced pass and powered away from two desperate defenders to buy the space and time he needed to pick the perfect moment to play the ball to Langstaff, who drove into the area and produced a sublime finish from a narrow angle.

That proved to be Langstaff's final action as Williams seized his opportunity to limit his minutes, with Francis replacing him and Rodrigues moving up front.

Seven minutes later, the Shrimpers missed a big chance to claw back the deficit when they worked the ball into the area only for substitute Dan Mooney to hit the outside of the post when it was far easier to score.

And we rubbed salt into the Essex side's wounds shortly afterwards as Bostock and Austin linked up superbly once again - the latter controlling another pinpoint delivery from the former before smashing the ball home in front of the Kop.

It could, and perhaps should, have been five in the dying moments as O'Brien, on for Jones, got his head to a powerful Kyle Cameron cross inside the six-yard box. With so much pace on the ball it was difficult for the Scot to direct it goalwards and instead it flew over the bar - limiting us to just the four.

STARTING XI: Slocombe; Cameron, Baldwin, Rawlinson; Chicksen (Bajrami 84'), Jones (O'Brien 73'); Palmer, Bostock, Rodrigues, Austin; Langstaff (Francis 65')

SUBS: Mair, Taylor

BOOKINGS: Chicksen 57', Slocombe 64'

ATTENDANCE: 7,237 (588)

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