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Back to winning ways

20 September 2016

Notts County's head of academy coaching Dan Leivers was happy to see the Under 18s beat Chesterfield 2-1 on Saturday.

Two more goals from first-year scholar Sam Osborne helped Notts continue their impressive start to the season after defeat last week at Port Vale.

Leivers said: "It was nice to get back to winning ways after the defeat to Port Vale. We had a couple of second years back from illness and injury which allowed us to strengthen the matchday squad, although the younger players deputised really well last week.

"We didn't start particularly well, conceding a lot of possession and getting to grips with their 3-5-2 formation, but once we settled down we started to play some good football. Tamar Clayton-Naute, Remaye Campbell and Osborne all had chances to put us ahead in the game." 


And it was after 27 minutes that Notts got the goal their football deserved. Osborne broke through the centre after some clever play from Declan Dunn and drove past two defenders before scoring with his left foot, a goal reminiscent of Reco Fyfe's FA Youth Cup effort against Peterborough two years ago.


Leivers said: "This really settled us down and we had our best spell in the game up to half-time, keeping possession with positive, purposeful play - we just couldn't add the second goal."


And Notts, quite literally, paid the penalty for not increasing their lead before half-time when the referee deemed Jordon Richards to be holding a Chesterfield striker in the box. Joe Searson-Smithard was unable to save from the spot, leaving the scores level at the break. 


The second period was similar to the first as Notts struggled to keep the ball in the early stages, but as the game went on the Magpies looked more and more threatening with Clayton-Naute and Osborne driving forwards with the ball and Dominic Brownhill and Alex Howes starting to control the midfield.


It was this continued pressure that eventually paid off as Notts were given a penalty just after the hour mark, Osborne's shot striking a defender's arm in the area. It was Osborne himself who converted the penalty to notch his second goal of the game and to give Notts the lead once again.


Chesterfield applied pressure during the closing stages, however Notts defended resolutey. Rarely was Searson-Smithard's goal under too much pressure, with the back four working hard and putting their bodies on the line when necessary.


Leivers was happy with the performance, saying: "I'm really pleased with how we are starting to develop as a team.


"Some of the players are now really buying into what we want and even after winning this game, you could see it on their faces that they still weren't completely pleased with the performance.


"With no competitive game next week we will take our time to prepare for the Hartlepool game on 1 October."


*The Under 18s' scheduled home friendly against Nuneaton Under 18s on Friday has been cancelled.


Notts starting XI: Searson-Smithard, Cobain (Anstey 65'), Dunn, Brownhill (C), Richards, McCartney, Clayton-Naute, Howes, Campbell, Osborne, Gibbons (Bearne 56')

Subs: Towers, Hall, Bugg, Bearne, Anstey

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