Match report from County’s first match of the Finland tour…
Skipper Dean Leacock and new recruit Andy Haworth (2) secured Notts County’s first win of pre-season this evening in a 3-1 victory over Palloseura Kemi Kings. The Magpies looked particularly impressive during the opening 45 minutes and dictated the vast majority of the match with some neat attacking football.
Alan Sheehan’s deliveries were outstanding from the off and he gained his first of two assists with a tremendous cross from deep. Leacock, who had pushed forward for a set-piece, rose unopposed to send a looping header over the home goalkeeper, Juho Luukkonen.
The Kings rarely threatened but they did come close to gaining an equaliser through striker Christian Eissele, following a tidy crossfield pass by wideman Tyler Pasher. Eissele targeted the bottom-left corner but found the wrong side of the post.
Moments later, Notts grabbed a second, again from a Sheehan cross, this time via a free-kick on the right flank. The left-back’s in-swinging centre was met at close-range by Haworth and the winger made no mistake with the header.
Leacock almost had a second goal on two occasions, as he connected with Sheehan's corners. He first headed over, before rattling the crossbar with another.
Enoch Showunmi also had an impressive finish ruled out for offside. Then, ahead of the interval, Joss Labadie forced a tipping save out of Luukkonen and Man of the Match Jamal Campbell-Ryce rounded off a piercing run with a fierce attempt that flew inches wide of the mark.
Campbell-Ryce was involved again early into the second half, when he picked out Francois Zoko with an excellent diagonal pass into the box. Zoko controlled well but his shot from eight yards out cleared the bar.
The Magpies’ third and final goal of the game arrived in the 59th minute, after fine work by Showunmi, who fed the ball wide to Zoko. The Ivorian’s low cutback rolled invitingly into the path of Haworth and he swept home inside the right-hand upright.
Kemi managed to pull a goal back with a superb finish from substitute Jae Yun Lee. Notts were caught out by a quickly taken throw-in but the Korean still had a lot of work to do with the finish, which saw him fire into the bottom-right corner.
Eight substitutions were made and one of them, goalkeeper Fabian Spiess, was called into action almost right away. Forward Jaakko Paavilainen capitalised on a defensive mistake to find his way behind the new-look backline but Spiess narrowed the angle well to make a parry down to his left.
At the other end, Campbell-Ryce set up Tyrell Waite, though the fresh-legged striker drove over. Before the final whistle, Campbell-Ryce had two decent efforts of his own, a delicate chipped shot that missed the target and a low strike that skidded past the foot of the post.
The Finnish Second Division outfit provided another good challenge for Chris Kiwomya’s side, who played some attractive football at times. Three players, Campbell-Ryce, Haworth and Curtis Thompson, came through 90 minutes and others are expected to face the same test in the upcoming overseas fixtures with Tervarit Dream Team and JJK Jyväskylä.
Starting 11: Bialkowski, Thompson, Leacock, Liddle, Sheehan, Campbell-Ryce, Labadie, Trialist, Haworth, Zoko, Showumni.
Subs From: Spiess, Hollis, Smith, Pearce, Trialist, Tempest, Nangle, Waite.