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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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13 September 2022 Venue Meadow Lane Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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Match Reports

Notts 2-0 Aldershot

Scott and Langstaff on target as run continues

13 September 2022

Goals from Cedwyn Scott and Macaulay Langstaff earned us a fourth consecutive victory - and third successive clean sheet - as our excellent form continued.

The front pair both scored from close range after the break as our incessant pressure finally told at the Lane.

Luke Williams was forced into one change from the side that hammered Dagenham and Redbridge last time out, the injured Aden Baldwin making way for Geraldo Bajrami in the heart of defence.

Following an emotional minute’s silence for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the two teams kicked off wearing black armbands and there was little to choose between them in the game’s opening exchanges.

The first major talking point ocame on 12 minutes when Jim O’Brien picked out Kyle Cameron with a perfectly-judged crossfield pass. The defender skipped past his man in the area and went down holding his face, only for the referee to play on. At the next break in play, the referee called on the physios to treat Cameron, whose bloodied shirt was swapped for a fresh one.

With Cameron waiting to be waved back on, the visitors sought to rub salt into the wound when Tyler Cordner unleashed a powerful 30-yard effort which Sam Slocombe couldn’t hang on to. It looked for all the world like Inih Effiong was about to open the scoring in front of the Kop but Richard Brindley slid in to make a superb last-ditch challenge.

Slocombe was called into action again from the resultant corner, making a good save from Cordner’s header, but with Cameron back on the pitch we soon got back into our rhythm as we created an opportunity for Langstaff to spin on to his left foot and draw a good stop from Luca Ashby-Hammond a minute later.

Our first big chance came on 33 minutes when another excellent O’Brien switch of play was met with a delightful Adam Chicksen cross. The ball dropped seemingly perfectly at the onrushing Aaron Nemane’s feet but he couldn’t send his first-time effort on target.

Bajrami was in the way of a shot at the other end moments later, but our pressure was building towards the end of the half and we nearly had a brilliantly-worked opener when a move which began with Slocombe resulted in Langstaff’s blocked shot almost squirming Scott’s way, only for a defender to get to the loose ball first and clear behind with the goal gaping.

It was to be the first of several ‘nearly moments’ as the clock ticked down towards half-time, with Rodrigues supplying Scott from the resultant corner. The Geordie shrugged off the attentions of his marker with a drop of the shoulder to work the space to shoot, only to drag his left-footed shot well wide of the near post.

Moments later we carved out a good opportunity for O’Brien, Scott turning provider this time, but the midfielder couldn’t get enough power on his shot to trouble Ashby-Hammond.

Aldershot won’t have been happy to see four added minutes signalled and breathed a sigh of relief inside the first of those as Ashby-Hammond managed to regather a dropped cross with Rodrigues close to capitalising.

Shortly afterwards, a lovely clipped cross from Brindley was glanced across goal by Scott but with no telling touch to come at the back post.

And Aldershot were given one more reprieve before the half-time whistle as Cameron brought the ball down from a corner and fired it low into the danger zone, where Langstaff was well positioned to instinctively turn it goalwards. Somehow, though, it looped up from six yards out and flew just over the bar.

Half-time only proved to be temporary relief for Mark Molesley’s side, though, as we picked up where we left off with Cordner having to throw himself in the way of a goalbound Cameron half-volley.

And, moments after Nemane had seen a dangerous low cross delicately turned behind by a defender, we had the lead we thoroughly deserved when a barnstorming Bajrami run carried the defender all the way into the area. Pushed wide by the Shots defence, he kept his composure to play the ball across goal to Scott, possibly via the faintest touch from Langstaff, and the Geordie did well to find the finish from close range.

We were dealt a further defensive blow shortly afterwards as Brindley was forced off with an injury. Fit-again Connell Rawlinson took his place on the right of the back three.

But there were no signs of us letting up as, shortly after a deflected O’Brien effort had nearly looped into the net, Chicksen missed a golden opportunity to add another goal to his tally when he couldn’t find a way past Ashby-Hammond with a free header from close range.

O’Brien tried his luck with another shot moments later, his 25-yarder being pushed wide by Ashby-Hammond.

But the keeper was picking the ball out of his net again on 64 minutes when a lovely passing move resulted in Nemane getting a deserved assist as his low cross was turned home by Langstaff for his 10th of the season.

Our goalscoring pair were replaced by Kairo Mitchell and new loan signing Quevin Castro three minutes later and, while chances proved a little less easier to come by, our dominance continued into the game’s latter stages.

Francis Armartey did hit the side-netting with six minutes to play but the shot was never troubling Slocombe, who had been largely untested since his excellent save in the first half.

There was still time for Rodrigues to brilliantly dribble past several players before firing straight at the keeper, and for the lively Castro to see a deflected shot loop wide.

But in the end two goals proved to be our lot as our excellent start to the season continued.

STARTING XI: Slocombe; Cameron, Bajrami, Brindley (Rawlinson 55'); Chicksen, Nemane; Palmer, O'Brien, Rodrigues; Scott (Castro 67'), Langstaff (Mitchell 67')

UNUSED SUBS: Adebayo-Rowling, Francis

BOOKINGS: O'Brien 89'

ATTENDANCE: 5,607 (118)

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