Goalless at the Impact Arena but Magpies impress...
Keith Curle was able to take plenty of positives from tonight's 0-0 draw with Alfreton Town at the Impact Stadium. The Magpies experienced large spells of possession, where they played some attractive football, but were unable to put the ball in the back of the net.
A hard working Lee Hughes had the best of Notts' first half chances, the first coming on five minutes, when he latched onto a Jeff Hughes through-ball to fire wide. The frontman then directed over with an inventive, back-heeled finish following a centre by trialist wideman Bahamian Plazimir.
On 19, Hughes was sent tumbling inside the area but the referee waved play on, much to the disbelief of the County players and the spectators in attendance. The number 19 also had a shot tipped over by the home goalkeeper, after timing his run perfectly to beat the back line onto the end of a perfectly weighted overhead pass from defence.
Prior to the interval, Yoann Arquin had two opportunities to break the deadlock. The Frenchman nodded wide, connecting with trialist Leonard Johnson's back-post cross, before clearing the crossbar from range.
As with the weekend's friendly with Buxton, Curle made wholesale changes at the interval. Only goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski remained from the first half line-up.
It was the second period where Notts really settled into a passing game, often keeping the ball for minutes at a time. On numerous occasions the possession ended with a chance and, on 53, Enoch Showunmi came close with a header, following a fine delivery by Alan Judge from the left flank.
Trialist forward Enzo Fuentes was involved in much of the second half action and almost got on the scoresheet with a shot that flew wide of the mark. Neal Bishop nearly scored as well but, like Fuentes, was unable to hit the target.
In the closing stages of the match either side could have secured victory, with Bialkowski forced into a strong parry by a driven free-kick and Judge causing problems with a tricky effort that saw the Town stopper fumble before recovering with a smothering save.
Andre Boucard, another trialist, came agonisingly close three minutes from time, when his curled effort beat the goalkeeper but not the woodwork. Still, the Magpies faithful amongst the 618 in attendance saw glimpses of the tidy football that the team aims to deliver.
First Half Team: Bialkowski, Regan, Smith, Hollis, Johnson, Mahon, Labadie, J Hughes, L Hughes, Arquin, Plazimir.
Second Half Team: Bialkowski, Kelly, Leacock, Bencherif, Sheehan, Boucard, Bishop, Liddle, Showunmi, Judge, Fuentes.