Notts County resumed their National League campaign with a comfortable though narrow 1-0 win against FC Halifax Town, nearly three weeks after their last league match. In fact, it had been over two months since Meadow Lane hosted a traditional Saturday 3pm kick off. On an overcast and dim January afternoon, the Magpies brushed away any cobwebs in an assured, though not lethal, display.
County’s recent draws saw them drop to second in the table before Saturday’s fixture, below non-league’s football shiny Hollywood club Wrexham. However, County have the chance to rectify that in the coming weeks, as the Halifax fixture was the first of three league games they play before the leaders are next in action. The Notts side have been frustrated recently, with a couple draws in the league mixed in with a FA Trophy exit on penalties to Maidstone, and the postponements of their last two scheduled fixtures.
The away side were out for revenge, having been smacked 4-1 by a rampant County side in August
Opposition Halifax lined up in their eye-catching yellow away strip sitting in 16th place having picked up a solitary point from their last four games. Manager Chris Millington responded with four changes to the starting line-up, including a debut for Adam Senior, who arrived on loan from Bolton in the January window. The Shaymen have had a disappointing season following their fourth-place finish in the 21/22 campaign. The away side were out for revenge, having been smacked 4-1 by a rampant County side in August.
The home side put out a familiar side, skipper Cameron leading from the back and Langstaff looking to maintain his incredible goalscoring record up top. There was also a welcome return for Rawlinson after a spell on the sidelines. Frank Vincent returned from loan this month and made the County bench.
Taking charge in his first league match since being rewarded with a new contract, head coach Luke Williams’ programme notes called on his side to react well to these recent difficulties and be strong enough to deal with the adversity. County started well in relation to this, knocking the ball about comfortably and patiently waiting to create an opening. Halifax were not looking overly sure of themselves at the back during the opening exchanges, with several panicked clearances showing their uncertainty.
The assistant, though, spoiled the party, raising his flag immediately to signal offside
The away side were almost punished after eight minutes when Langstaff headed home from a glorious Nemane cross. The assistant, though, spoiled the party, raising his flag immediately to signal offside. Needless to say, that was an extremely unpopular decision with the Meadow Lane faithful.
County continued to dominate proceedings, Nemane looking especially threatening on the right. The home side were overall a step ahead of their opponents, that bit quicker to the ball. Town’s Jamie Cooke exemplified this with a poorly timed tackle on Cameron which saw the Halifax man deservedly booked.
Eventually County’s dominance paid off in the 37th minute when Macaulay Langstaff gave the Magpies the lead they had been pushing for. Halifax had managed to put five passes together for the first time before Jamie Stott played a horrendous back pass on the halfway line which put Langstaff through on goal. The clinical striker rounded Jonhson and teased the recovering Stott before slotting into the bottom left corner to give County lift-off.
The Magpies continued their crossing clinic as half-time loomed, Chicksen and Austin putting in some excellent balls that their County teammates were inches away from getting on the end of.
One he certainly got wrong was not awarding County a penalty when Nemane was clearly pulled back as he burst into the area
The referee saw the most action in the opening fifteen minutes of the first half as he was on the end of a torrent of abuse from the home crowd following a few controversial decisions. One he certainly got wrong was not awarding County a penalty when Nemane was clearly pulled back as he burst into the area.
There wasn’t much to write home about in the second half; a few more delicious crosses, a few more half chances wasted. County did lack the clinical edge they will need to find as the title chase continues. Fortunately for Notts, it was a walk in the park for most of the game, with Halifax entering the box only a couple of times and not fashioning any sort of genuine chance.
County will have to overcome much more difficult games than this, but it was a step back in the right direction. The win takes the Nottingham side level on points with Wrexham. County are in action again on the 31st in the rearranged fixture at Solihull Moors.
Featured Image courtesy of Rhys Thomas. Permission to use given to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In article image 1 courtesy of @nottscountyfc via Instagram.com. No changes were made to this image.
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