Match report from the Magpies' final pre-season encounter against Ipswich Town...
Yoann Arquin netted his second equalising goal inside a week to end Notts County’s pre-season campaign with an exciting 3-3 draw. The second half substitute, again, provided a wonder-strike to cap off an entertaining clash with Championship outfit Ipswich Town.
Notts were disappointed with the way that they went 2-0 down, as goals from Luke Hyam and Daryl Murphy ensured that Town’s dominance paid off. Danny Haynes pulled a goal back for County 10 minutes before the break with a neat close-range finish.
Ipswich restored the two-goal deficit in the 57th minute through Paul Taylor’s phenomenal 30-yard free-kick. But, Notts waited only three minutes to make it 3-2 thanks to a tidy finish by trialist striker Adam Phillip, ahead of Arquin’s remarkable 77th minute solo effort.
A number of senior players were left out of the Magpies’ matchday squad, including Dean Leacock and Mustapha Dumbuya. This gave a number of others a chance to impress first team manager Chris Kiwomya ahead of the Sky Bet League 1 opener with Sheffield United.
In a switch of formation from the Galatasaray and Rayo Vallecano encounters, Notts lined up in a 4-4-2 that included a front pairing of Danny Haynes and Enoch Showunmi. The teamsheet also noted the return of Andre Boucaud, subsequent to his return from the CONCACAF Gold Cup, where he had helped Trinidad & Tobago into the Quarter Finals.
Supporters were treated to a lively opening that saw Notts create the first chance, when David Bell picked up on a loose ball in the centre to set Showunmi free inside the box. The striker opened up his body and his left-footed effort forced away stopper Scott Loach into a low block, before Haynes nodded over on the rebound.
Ipswich frontman Daryl Murphy had two golden opportunities to open the scoring, both in the fourth minute. First, he hit the foot of the left-hand post with a downward header, following full-back Aaron Cresswell’s chipped cross from the byline, and then he glanced a fantastic David McGoldrick delivery narrowly wide of the opposite upright.
Town moved in front in the 15th minute, as they rounded off an impressive move, which was kick-started by Murphy on the left wing. The striker’s intelligent back-heel found Jay Tabb, whose near-post centre allowed Hyam to guide the ball past Bartosz Bialkowski with a stooping diving header.
On 23, it was 2-0 to the visitors, after former County striker McGoldrick got the better of Manny Smith to get into the box via the left channel. His low delivery across the face of goal left Murphy with the easy task of slotting home at close range.
County almost pulled a goal back two minutes later, when good link-up play between David Bell and Haynes resulted in Mark Fotheringham curling into the arms of Loach. Haynes later created an opening for himself, as he beat two members of the away backline to get into the box, only his deflected drive looped onto the roof of the net.
Haynes did not have to wait much longer for his goal, as in the 35th minute Campbell-Ryce found the number 10 seven yards from goal with a low centre. The former Charlton Athletic striker confidently swept the ball past Loach with his first touch and made it two goals in two, after it was revealed that he did gain a slight touch to Alan Sheehan’s free-kick for the opener against Rayo Vallecano.
The Magpies nearly found an equaliser from the next attack, when Bell, who had been instrumental in picking out Campbell-Ryce for his side’s first goal, delivered a pacy, in-swinging cross towards the back post. Showunmi, heavily marshalled by his marker, looked to connect but the cross was inches too high.
Both teams made plenty of changes at the interval. Notts introduced Yoann Arquin, Andy Haworth, Curtis Thompson, Greg Tempest, Andre Boucaud, Gavin Mahon, Kevin Pilkington and trialists Dean Parrett and Adam Phillip.
Following a scrappy opening to the second 45, Town added their third of the afternoon from a direct free-kick in the 57th minute. Taylor, from a spot on the left, unleashed a stunning hit over the wall and inside the left-hand post, leaving Pilkington with no chance despite his best efforts.
Notts made it 3-2 when the Parrett’s long delivery into the area was not cleared. This allowed Phillip to pounce with a composed finish into the bottom-left corner.
The Magpies immediately went in search of a leveller and Liddle struck wide after roaming inside from the left. Then, Arquin, following committed work by Thompson, drove powerfully across goal but was denied by second half goalkeeper Dean Gerken’s reaction save down to his left and a brave goalmouth clearance from Tommy Smith, which left the defender requiring treatment.
Parrett became increasingly involved and was unlucky not to see a powerful hit from distance find the top corner. The shot was kept out by a deflection, but the midfielder then delivered a back-post corner that saw Smith’s downward header cannon back off the foot of the post.
Arquin was the man to finally make it 3-3 with a truly outstanding individual goal – his second in a matter of days. The Frenchman pierced through a collection of blue shirts with a surging run inside from the left flank and drove unstoppably into the bottom-right corner from just inside the box.
A lovely diagonal pass by Parrett almost made it 4-3 to Notts, as Kyle Hammond almost directed past his own goalkeeper, though Gerken got across his line well to make a tipping save. Keeping up the pressure, Boucaud chipped in with another top delivery that saw Phillip add a headed flick-on to send the ball marginally off target.
Now attentions turn to the Sky Bet League 1 opener with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane next Friday. Based on the pre-season preparations, County fans have a lot of reasons to be optimistic heading into 2013.14.
ATTENDANCE: 1,532 (including 260 Ipswich Town supporters)
NOTTS CO: Bialkowski, Sheehan, Liddle, Smith, Showunmi, Haynes, Bell, Labadie, Campbell-Ryce, Fotheringham, Hollis.
SUBS FROM: Pilkington, Arquin, Haworth, Thompson, Tempest, Boucaud, Mahon, Parrett (T), Phillip (T), Murray (T).
IPSWICH TOWN: Loach, Hewitt, Cresswell, Chambers, SMith, Skuse, Anderson, Hyam, Murphy, McGoldrick, Tabb.
SUBS FROM: Gerken, Veseli, Berra, Mings, Wordsworth, Tunnicliffe, Taylor, Nouble, Hammond, Berkane, October.