Campbell’s brace spares County blushes

Adam Campbell came off the bench to score two goals as Notts County came back from 2-0 down against Boreham Wood in the first round of the FA Cup.

The Magpies’ non-league opposition had taken the lead in the 31st minute through striker Morgan Ferrier’s brilliant finish from an acute angle. Angelo Balanta had fed the 21-year-old through and he squeezed the ball under Adam Collin in the County goal.

Boreham Wood, who currently sit in 9th in the National League, doubled their lead in the second half, through the impressive Balanta. Bruno Andrade caused Carl Dickenson all sorts of problems down the right-hand side, before firing a cross at Balanta, who controlled neatly before firing past Collin to make it 2-0 to the home side.

At this point, County fans would have been forgiven for expecting another first-round exit to lower-league opposition, after Salford knocked them out last year, but this time it would be different. John Sheridan had introduced strikers Adam Campbell and Jonathan Forte at half-time, and Campbell reduced the deficit on the hour mark, with a cross-shot which deceived home keeper Grant Smith and nestled in the far corner.

From this point, County’s superior fitness and quality began to show, putting the home side’s defence under pressure. County eventually found the equaliser they had been looking for 10 minutes from time, when Campbell was left unmarked at a corner, and the substitute was left with a simple header. It nearly got even better for the travelling fans when Vadaine Oliver turned the ball home late on, only to be denied by the offside flag.

Although this may have been a game County were expected to win on paper, to fight back in the way they did should be commended. The change in the response to being in losing positions is testament to the good work Sheridan has done since his appointment in May earlier this year.

His side sit in the playoffs in League Two after a solid start to the season, but now the aim must be finding consistency, as an impressive September was followed by just one win in October. After Campbell’s two goals in the cup game this afternoon, he will be expected to step up in the absence of top goal-scorer John Stead, who has been ruled out until Christmas with an ankle injury.

John Sheridan said in an interview earlier in the week that he hoped his side could ‘cash in on a good cup run’ and he will hope his side can see off Boreham Wood when they visit Meadow Lane for the replay in the coming weeks.

In regards to the league, County face a tough trip to Blackpool on the 12th November, before consecutive, and arguably winnable, games against struggling Cambridge and Newport. If Sheridan’s men can begin to find some consistency, then the quality in their side should be evident against the majority of EFL League Two sides, and I would expect them to stay in and around the play-off positions until January, where the transfer window can easily dictate a side’s fortunes for the rest of the season.

However, the ultimate goal for County should be promotion back into League One. Sheridan must therefore strive to achieve a higher level of consistency, if County are to have any chance of finishing in the top three come the end of the season.

Jimmy Moorhouse

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