Fresh from a dominant 3-0 victory away at Aldershot Town, Notts County returned to Meadow Lane hoping to extend their advantage at the National League summit to eight points. Having scored four goals in three of their last five league encounters, The Magpies’ Tuesday night clash with mid-table Boreham Wood promised an exciting encounter. Matthew Gaskins reports from West Bridgford.
However, the deadlock was not broken until the 42nd minute when the visitors’ struck through midfielder George Broadbent. County were eventually able to level the score via glancing header from Cedwyn Scott, which was the end of the goalscoring. County may consider themselves unlucky to only come away with a 1-1 draw from the fixture, however ultimately strong defensive organisation from the visitors left Boreham Wood good value for their point.
Having opened Notts’ account in Hampshire last Saturday, veteran midfielder Jim O’Brien could consider himself unlucky to drop out of the County team in lieu of the nomadic John Bostock, the sole change to the Magpies’ starting eleven.
FA Cup specialists Boreham Wood extended their participation in this year’s competition through a late Lee Ndlovu equaliser against Accrington Stanley at the weekend. The exciting Ndlovu maintained his place in Luke Garrard’s line-up, but strike partner Danny Newton was replaced in Boreham Wood’s attack by long-serving forward Tyrone Marsh. Sheffield United loanee Zak Brunt and ex-Love Island ‘star’ Dennon Lewis also dropped to the bench, replaced by Josh Rees and Chris Bush, the latter making his second appearance against Notts this season having previously been involved in Bromley’s fiery 1-1 draw at Meadow Lane.
The Magpies were controlling possession yet failed to create consistent opportunities on goal
Notts possessed almost complete control of the early exchanges, with touches of the ball rare for a toiling Boreham Wood. County almost converted this territory into a well-deserved early opener when the in-form Macaulay Langstaff was played through one-on-one with Boreham ‘keeper Nathan Ashmore, but the stocky goalkeeper foiled the Notts attacker with a strong left palm. The Magpies were controlling possession yet failed to create consistent opportunities on goal against a well-organised Boreham Wood defence, a rare area for potential improvement for County this season.
Indeed, it was Boreham Wood who were next to threaten when in the 21st minute Lee Ndlovu was inches from rounding an onrushing Sam Slocombe and surely giving the visitors a one-goal lead. Slocombe’s sliding challenge remained just enough to maintain a level score. Boreham Wood’s second clear attempt on goal arrived just three minutes later, when County midfielder Matt Palmer was caught in possession near his own goal. The resultant loose ball was struck sweetly against the post by another Sheffield United loanee, George Broadbent.
With the crowd beginning to grow frustrated with County’s indifferent attempts to build play from the back, it was the home side who were next to come close to an opener – Kyle Cameron’s header from a Notts corner directed straight at Ashmore in the Boreham goal.
Perhaps stirred by this attempt, Boreham Wood began to grow into the game, threatening first through a second Broadbent piledriver from outside the area, bravely blocked by Cameron, before Femi Ilesanmi fired a powerful right-footed effort well over the County crossbar.
County manager Luke Williams was left little time to prepare his half-time team-talk
Boreham’s attacking potential increased with the ever-intensifying rain muddying the Nottinghamshire turf, and the visitors duly capitalised on this growing pressure three minutes before the interval. Notts ‘keeper Slocombe was initially able to deny Ndlovu his second goal in two matches with a sharp stop low to his right, however Broadbent was on hand to slot the rebound into an unattended goal. County manager Luke Williams was left little time to prepare his half-time team-talk, which surely focused upon improving the quality of Notts’ final-third passing and providing influential playmaker Ruben Rodrigues with more frequent possession.
County indeed appeared from the break with renewed vigour, firstly claiming a tenuous penalty appeal before Adam Chicksen’s half-volley was well-saved by Ashmore. Cameron was next to try his luck from range, the strike easily held by the Boreham shot-shopper, who was building a strong claim for the man of the match award.
As the table stood ahead of Tuesday’s fixtures.
As the game approached the hour mark, both sides began to create more clear-cut opportunities. Cedwyn Scott’s well-driven attempt from range was initially blocked by Boreham, but two minutes later the Northumbrian was not to be denied, converting an excellent cross by the imperious Chicksen with a glancing header beyond the motionless Ashmore.
County supporters then believed they had taken the lead following another towering Scott header, however this time his attempt fell agonisingly past the near post. The Magpies were noticeably growing in confidence though, and in the 73rd minute County were able to fashion another dangerous cross which required a crucial intervention by Boreham defender Will Evans, sliding ahead of a lurking Langstaff.
Williams’ half-time messages had clearly provided their desired result, with Rodrigues and Scott providing significantly more threat than the first 45 minutes, yet the Boreham defence was proving resolute opposition. Indeed, a Boreham Wood defender was to come closest to finding a winner for his side, with the muscular Evans stretching to steer a headered attempt into the top of the County crossbar.
The hapless Palmer fired a hopeful long-range effort into the Haydn Green stand behind Ashmore
As the game entered the final 10 minutes of normal time, it appeared County were going to drop two crucial points in their battle for the sole automatic promotion place from the National League. Tricky wing-back Aaron Nemane’s cross was cleared from underneath the Boreham goal, before the hapless Palmer fired a hopeful long-range effort into the Haydn Green stand behind Ashmore.
County were to have one final chance in the 90th minute, however Baldwin’s header was misdirected and sailed well over Ashmore’s crossbar. Two points dropped for Notts in their promotion battle – a particularly painful misfire considering Wrexham’s 2-1 home victory against a tricky Bromley outfit. Nevertheless, Notts head into their difficult away fixture at Chesterfield three points clear at the top of the National League – a healthy lead as we begin to enter the business end of the 2022-23 season.
Featured image courtesy of Rhys Thomas. Permission granted to Impact to use. No changes were made to this image.
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