Optimism washed away

Last updated : 18 May 2009 By Rob Davies
October (Part Two)

18/10/08: Notts County 1-1 Macclesfield Town

Notts once again failed to hold onto a lead as Keith Alexander's Macclesfield side managed to escape Meadow Lane with a point.

Delroy Facey finally managed to score his first goal for the club on his 13th start, slamming home a superb 18-yard shot into the far corner to his obvious delight. But Macclesfield's Simon Yeo equalised in somewhat fortunate circumstances, before the visitors were reduced to 10-men for Gareth Evans' horrendous lunge at Adam Tann, a challenge that would see Tann ruled-out of first-team action for five months.

Notts pushed for the winner but were twice denied by goal-line clearences, while Jamie Clapham's long-range effort hit the woodwork.

Notts: Hoult; Tann (Mayo), Thompson, Edwards, Clapham; Hamshaw, Strachan (Nowland), Butcher, Weston; Facey, Forrester (Canham).

21/10/08: Gillingham 2-2 Notts County

Ian McParland's side drew their 9th game of the campaign, but this point came in more pleasing circumstances as a stirrring second-half fightback gave an understrength Notts team a share of the spoils at promotion-chasing Gillingham.

Nicky Southall's 63rd minute effort added to Gary Mulligan's first-half strike had put the Gills into a two-goal lead, but Richard Butcher immediately pulled one back for the Magpies before Facey produced a tremendous individual effort against the club who had released him the previous summer.

Notts: Hoult; Clapham, Edwards, Thompson, Mayo (Smith); Hamshaw, Nowland, Butcher, Weston; Facey, Forrester (Weir-Daley).

25/10/08: Chesterfield 3-1 Notts County

Facey: On good scoring form
Notts' nine-game unbeaten league run was ended in emphatic circumstances as the Magpies were well-beaten at Saltergate.

Strikes from Alan Goodall and the impressive Jamie Ward had given the home side the advantage, before the in-form Facey managed to pull one back for the visitors on the hour, but Paul Harsely sealed a deserved win for Chesterfield late-on.

To compound Notts' woes, club captain Michael Johnson - rushed back from injury to solve the club's defensive crisis - was removed at half-time and would ultimately be ruled out of action for two months.

Notts: Hoult; Thompson, Edwards, Johnson (Mayo), Clapham; Hamshaw, Nowland, Butcher, Weston; Facey, Forrester (Weir-Daley).

28/10/08: Notts County 1-2 Rochdale

Notts' season was beginning to come apart as the Magpies fell to a deserved second loss.

The Magpies were thoroughly outplayed by the visitors but somehow managed to take a 47th minute lead through Jamie Forrester's penalty, after Myles Weston had been floored in the box.

Despite being handed that gift, Notts were unable to take advantage and were undone by two Lee Thorpe goals as they began their descent down the League Two table.

Notts: Hoult; Beardsley, Edwards, Thompson, Clapham; Hamshaw, Nowland (Smith), Butcher, Weston; Facey, Forrester (Weir-Daley).


01/11/08: Notts County 0-1 Bury

Notts continued to look a different side to the one that had started the season so promisingly, as they once again fell to defeat in lacklustre fashion.

It took until the 79th minute to give Bury the goal their dominance deserved, Ryan Cresswell left completely unmarked to head past a helpless Russell Hoult, as the Magpies began to regret not turning some of those early-season draws into wins.

Notts: Hoult; Beardsley (Smith), Edwards, Thompson, Clapham; Hamshaw, Butcher, Neal, Weston; Facey, Forrester (Weir-Daley).

08/11/08: Sutton Utd 0-1 Notts County (FA Cup Round One)

Notts were able to avoid FA Cup embarrassment in-front of the watching ITV Cameras, with Richard Butcher's 75th minute winner enough to put them through to Round Two of the World's Oldest Cup Competition.

McParland hailed a professional display from his under-fire charges, but little was created against the battling non-leaguers, before Butcher struck once again to expertly head home Matt Hamshaw's cross.

Notts: Hoult; Clapham, Edwards, Thompson, Mayo; Hamshaw, Butcher, Neal, Weston (Nowland); Facey, Canham (Weir-Daley).

15/11/08: Barnet 0-4 Notts County

Forte: Spectacular debut hat-trick
Notts were inspired by a demonstration of first-class finishing by debutant Jonathan Forte as they ran riot in an unbelievable first half at Underhill.

The Magpies - who had been struggling for goals throughout the campaign - took a shock four-goal lead into the interval, thanks to a debut hat-trick by Forte, signed on-loan just two days earlier, and a tremendous left-footed volley from Butcher.

Notts were able to maintain their advantage despite an improved showing from the hosts after the interval, in a scoreline as surprising as it was emphatic.

Notts: Hoult; Clapham, Edwards, Thompson, Mayo; Hamshaw (Nowland), Butcher, Neal, Weston; Facey (Canham), Forte.

22/11/08: Dagenham & Redbridge 6-1 Notts County

In the most brutal summarision of Notts' season, the Magpies followed up their biggest win of the season with their heaviest defeat as they were battered at on-form Dagenham.

On-loan full-back Jason Beardsley was rushed back to action from injury and was given the roasting of his life, while Paul Mayo on the other flank faired little better with McParland bafflingly employing Jamie Clapham as a right midfielder and, despite the embarassing nature of the defeat, making just one substitution. Hoult, too, endured one of the worst afternoons of his long career and could be faulted for many of the home side's goals.

A late consolation from Forte could do little to mask the defeat on an afternoon that did untold damage to Notts' season.

Notts: Hoult; Beardsley, Edwards, Thompson, Mayo; Clapham, Nowland (Weir-Daley), Butcher, Neal; Facey, Forte.

25/11/08: Notts County 0-2 Wycombe Wanderers

McParland tried to claim an honourable loss at home to table-toppers Wycombe, but few were convinced as Notts succumbed to defeat in-front of less than 3,000 supporters at Meadow Lane.

Second-half goals from Matt Harrold and Lewwis Spence saw the visitors coast to victory, on a night that illustrated just how spectacularly Notts had fell since matching high-flying Shrewsbury and Brentford earlier in the campaign.

Notts: Hoult; Clapham, Edwards, Thompson, Mayo; Forte, Butcher, Strachan, Neal; Facey, Forrester (Weir-Daley).

30/11/08: Notts County 1-1 Kettering Town (FA Cup Round Two)

Canham: First home goal
Notts were held to a deserved draw by non-league Kettering, as things continued to look bleak at Meadow Lane.

A rare error from Clapham allowed Brett Solkhon to give the visitors an 18th minute lead, but Sean Canham equalled things up on his first home start for the club.

It took a John Thompson goal-line clearence to deny Kettering the win, while Notts' mysery was further compounded as top-scorer Richard Butcher was substituted in the first half after suffering a broken foot.

Notts: Hoult; Thompson, Edwards, Hunt, Clapham; Forrester, Butcher (Smith), Wedderburn, Neal (Weston); Facey, Canham.


McParland snapped-up versatile John Thompson - who he had previously worked with at Notingham Forest - from Oldham Athletic on a three-month loan.

Injuries began to take their toll as Michael Johnson, Gavin Strachan, Jason Beardsley, Adam Tann and Paul Mayo all suffered various complaints. Attack-minded midfielder Jay Smith was twice pressed into action as an emergency full-back as Notts' defensive resources became particularly stretched.

Midfielder Lewis Neal signed on a month's loan from Preston. The 26-year-old was an ever-present during his time with the Magpies and was particularly impressive on his debut at home to Bury.

Striker Jonathan Forte became the latest loanee added to the Magpies' ranks, signing on a month's loan from Scunthorpe. Forte became only the fifth ever player to score a hat-trick on their Notts County debut as he scored three times in the first half at Barnet, two days after signing.

Out-of-favour midfielder Neil MacKenzie joined League Two rivals Port Vale on-loan having previously spent time out at Kidderminster Harriers.

17-year-old Stoke City midfielder Nathaniel Wedderburn and 20-year-old Derby full-back Mitchell Hansen were the latest loanees added to Notts' ranks as McParland sought to halt the club's slide down the League Two table.

Steven Hunt returned to first-team action having spent nearly six months out after groin surgery.

For the continuation of the season review, stay tuned to NCM in the upcoming days.