Notts County ended their pre-season preparations for the 2015/16 in defeat at home to Scunthorpe United in spite of a good team performance...
Walking Notts out for the game was Ben Favell, our young fan injured at Arnold Town in the first pre-season game of the Summer. He walked out with Curtis Thompson, who as it would happen was to put in quite the performance as skipper for the night.
In front of a crowd of 1,634 people, few of those supporting the black and white will have left disappointed with much of what they saw. Defensively tight, the midfield creating plenty and the forwards working solidy all evening, much will be taken from the home crowd after this game.
Following a number of forays forward, Notts’ first effort on goal of the evening came on seven minutes when Julian Jenner decided to run at goal and shoot, dragging his effort dragging only just wide. Meanwhile the visitor’s first attempt of the night came from Gary McSheffrey on 11 minutes, but his chip floated harmlessly over Roy Carroll’s crossbar. Moments later Curtis Thompson found himself in the area with space to find a shot, but having delayed trying to force the goalkeeper into a decision, his shot was saved and put out for an easily-cleared corner.
Carroll was called into action soon after as he was forced to tip over a smart volley from the edge of the area after Kyle Wooton’s control feel to the feet again of McSheffrey.
Thompson in the Notts midfield – wearing the captain’s armband – was leaving no blade of grass uncovered as he was clearing up loose balls back in defence, linking the play in the middle or scaring defenders with his pressing high up the field. When he found the ball at his feet inside the area on 20 minutes, he unselfishly threaded the ball into Jon Stead whose dangerous whipped cross past the box went untouched.
Thompson again went close with 26 minutes played. Julian Jenner’s wicked ball into the area reached Stead, who put the ball on a plate for Thompson, but his side-footer went a whisker wide. Back at the other end the away side beat the off-side trap to force a corner – from which Stanley Aborah’s last gasp lunge denied Darius Henderson via the crossbar. With the Iron sustaining their pressure, Thompson was in the firing line next to block a powerful Andrew Boyce volley just inside the area.
Referee Darren Deadman was beginning to draw the ire of Notts fans as a succession of tough tackles from behind going unpunished, particularly on Aborah that under different circumstances you’d imagine wouldn’t have gone unpunished.
The Magpies’ next effort goal came from – again – Thompson as a rasping 25-yard drive soared over the crossbar at just five minutes before half-time. Seconds later after great work from Alan Smith in the area, his cross into the centre of the box found – yet again – the skipper but his powerful diving header cannoned off the post. Jenner was next as Ricardo Moniz’s side were starting to dominated – Iron goalkeeper Assenso did well to deny Julian Jenner’s drive from distance.
Jenner was not to be denied however as Gill Swerts put the ball into his path from the corner of the penalty area, and with the last kick of the first half he smashed the ball past a helpless Assenso. Notts went into half-time break leading 1-0, and no one could deny they deserved it.
Within minutes of the restart, Henderson showed great strength in the area to shrug off his defender but his tame effort was easily gathered by Carroll.
Ten minutes into the half, Thompson was withdrawn from the game by Moniz, but few will forget the standing ovation he received from the crowd as he left the field.
Stead was soon shooting from distance again, again with his effort just dragging wide. By this point the crowd was lapping up every move Notts were putting together, only for the visitors to equalise against the run of play through Henderson following up on a Carroll parry which pleased the 86 travelling supporters
As is expected for pre-season friendlies, Moniz was now changing the side at will. Having seen Liam Noble replace the impressive Alan Smith at half-time, and a trialist replacing Thompson, Kyle De Silva was the next off with Genaro Snijders coming on.
Attention turned swiftly to Deadman once again with a number of decisions frustrating the Meadow Lane crowd – most notably when he was unmoved as Liam Noble was hauled to the ground in the penalty area having gone through on goal.
It wasn’t to halt the Notts momentum however as the trialist striker who had come on crashed a header against the crossbar and Jenner’s rebound well saved. Aborah was impressing the crowd, and his surging run forward might’ve ended with goal – but his deflected effort was cleared off the line as it looked to dip over the line.
Scunthorpe however took the lead at the other end as Snijders was taken out of the play on the half-way line. Jack Dyche was allowed to slot the ball into an empty net after some great, unselfish play from Boyce.
With ten minutes remaining, the game drew to it’s conclusion with Notts trying their hardest to get an equalising goal to show for their endeavours, but sadly to no avail. With Deadman playing no injury time at the end of the game, the crowd gave the Notts team a great standing ovation that won’t have gone un-noticed by the Notts team.
A disappointing result to end the pre-season preparation, but a performance with plenty to take from it.
Notts County Man Of The Match as nominated by Ralph Shepherd: Curtis Thompson
Notts XI: Roy Carroll, Gill Swerts, Trialist A, Alan Smith, Trialist B, Mawouna Amevor, Julian Jenner, Stanley Aborah, Curtis Thompson, Jon Stead, Kyle De Silva. Subs: Scot Bennett, Scott Loach, Wesley Atkinson, Haydn Hollis, Liam Noble, Rhys Sharpe, Genaro Snijders, Trialist C, Trialist D, Adam Campbell, Filip Valencic.
Scunthorpe from: Isaac Assenso, Joe Anyon, Andrew Boyce, Noel Burdett, Lewis Butroid, James Dean-Atkinson, Jack Dyche, Dan Harding, Nate Sithole, Terry Hawkridge, Darius Henderson, Ben Ledger, Sean McAllister, Gary McSheffrey, David Mirfin, Kyle Wooton.