Report from the Magpies' first pre-season friendly...
First team manager Chris Kiwomya fielded two different 11s against a strong Steaua Bucharest outfit. The behind closed doors friendly at St George’s Park marked the Magpies’ first pre-season encounter, which ended 2-0 to the Romanian champions.
The opening 45 minutes saw Bucharest take an early lead, though there were strong calls for offside, when the Iasmin Latovlevici was sent through on goal. The flag stayed down, allowing the striker to apply a delicate chipped finish over goalkeeper Fabian Spiess.
Spiess was called into action on a number of occasions but produced a string of reaction saves throughout the half. Still, Notts arguably created the better of the chances, with most coming towards the end of the half.
From a back-post Alan Sheehan free-kick, Dean Leacock connected forcefully but his headed effort flew narrowly past the top-left corner. A trialist frontman later had a fine opportunity at close range but was denied by a superb saving block.
Bucharest doubled their lead after the break, when Mihai Costea dispossessed Gavin Mahon deep inside the County half. The frontman confidently slotted into the bottom-right corner, out of second half stopper Bartosz Bialkowski’s reach.
Notts had opportunities to get on the scoresheet through both Francois Zoko and Tyrell Waite. However, both failed to get a shot away soon enough and the danger was eradicated by the Bucharest backline.
Bialkowski showed the form of last term with a remarkable save late on, which proved to be the last of the action at either end. Leandro Martins had targeted the top-right corner with a placed finish but the Pole leapt across goal to tip behind at full reach.
Overall, it was a workout for the Magpies that was more about fitness and a re-introduction to match situations than the result itself. Kiwomya’s men step up their preparations for the 2013.14 campaign with a tour of Finland, which sees the team travel on Wednesday morning.
Starting 11: Spiess, Smith, Pearce, Leacock, Sheehan, Haworth, Labadie, Trialist, Melvin, Trialist, Nangle.
Second Half 11: Bialkowski, Trialist, Liddle, Hollis, Tempest, Campbell-Ryce, Trialist, Mahon, Trialist, Waite, Zoko.