It was a very poor November for John Sheridan and his Notts County players, as four straight league defeats saw them slip from a promising playoff position to 18th, now only four points above the relegation places. Sheridan’s strong remark on how his team would struggle to beat a pub side seems to have backfired, after two further losses against Cambridge and Barnet respectively.
Connor Newton’s first half goal was enough to see Cambridge, and ex-County manager Shaun Derry, take home all three points from Meadow Lane, meaning that the Magpies have claimed just one home league win all season.
Things started out a little better when Michael O’Connor gave County the lead at Barnet, but an equaliser from Bira Dembele, and a second-half brace from Luke Gambin was enough to see the home side through, despite Jonathan Forte’s consolation.
This was on the back of the news that County would face a winding-up petition from the HMRC, and off-field problems can often have an impact on performances.
The fourth consecutive loss was enough for John Sheridan to take serious action, as he announced his intention to drop the entire first team to the reserves for a reserve match, although the players would later escape this punishment, as the game was called off due to a frozen pitch.
Instead Sheridan cancelled the Christmas party, saying that “these are decisions I don’t really want to make, but I think hopefully they’ll work out”.
This lack of cheer was put on hold over the FA Cup weekend, as players could look forward to a difficult test against League One Peterborough at Meadow Lane in the second round of the FA Cup.
Things did not start well for County however, as Leo Da Silva Lopes’ early long-range strike was followed up by a second goal by Gwion Edwards, putting the away side 2 goals to the good after just 15 minutes. Adam Campbell’s excellent finish reduced the deficit in the 42nd minute, and the pendulum swung in County’s favour during first-half injury time, when opposition strike Lee Angol was given a straight red for violent conduct.
However, despite having the extra man, County struggled to break down a resolute Peterborough defence, until Louis Laing headed in deep into added time, to send supporters home happy and keep their FA Cup run going.
A replay at Peterborough is now all that stands in the way of a mouth-watering game at Premier League Chelsea, and John Sheridan perhaps knows that if league form doesn’t improve quickly, this FA cup run may just keep him his job.
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Video courtesy of youtube.com.