Notts County Mad was present to witness Kettering Town's 2-1 victory over Lincoln City in the first round of the FA Cup. As a result, a report has been compiled so that fans know what to expect from tomorrow's visitors.
Every Notts fan and his dog now know that former defender, Guy Branston captains the Poppies. They will also remember that he put in one of the worst performances ever in a County shirt, which played a huge part in his withdrawal and departure from the club. Getting his career back on track, Branston has become an indispensible figure at the heart of the defence. Against the Imps, he was aerially dominant against the big Ben Wright, and ruthlessly belted clear anything that came into his path.
Alongside him at centre-back was Exodus Geohaghon, who proved to be a huge asset in the air, both offensively and defensively. From numerous attacking set-pieces, he was able to latch himself onto deliveries with sheer determination and force. One other key attribute of his to look out for is his long throw, which was a menace to clear throughout because of its lofted nature.
It's a pity that Myles Weston and Matthew Hamshaw will not be available for the game, as it was the full-back positions that Kettering looked most threatened. Because the Imps set out in a relatively narrow 4-3-3 formation, they did not exploit this regularly enough. When Dany N'Guessan and Lenell John-Lewis were given the opportunity to run at them, their side looked much
Another area that Notts can look to utilise is the centre of midfield, where Richard Butcher in particular may cause trouble. Lee Frecklington was frequently left unmarked in the gap between the defence and midfield - an area that County's top-scorer can potentially excel in.
Knowing their limitations against higher league opponents, 10 men were often kept behind the ball, meaning penetrating the back line was often difficult. City's best chances stemmed from counter-attacks, when Kettering had pushed a few extra forward for set plays. Russell Hoult's throwing ability will be crucial to setting up his side for such bombardments tomorrow, should he be selected.
Just like Lincoln, Town's most dangerous moments came on the break. Jean-Paul Marna in attack found himself with several opportunities, and match-winner, Iyseden Christie capitalised on a stretched rear-guard for the decisive goal.
They did like to get their wide-men, Alfie Potter and Craig Westcarr, involved when building up forward moves. Still, both never really looked capable of beating a defender, with play often breaking down when they attempted to do so. Due to these restricted abilities, balls were frequently swung in early to no great effect.
In possession Mark Cooper's team appeared extremely limited against an organised unit, with often slow play proving easy to close down. Havant and Waterlooville, however, took advantage of a late burst forward to knock the Magpies out of the competition last season, and Kettering are a team that will be looking to snatch goals from this kind of situation.
It's almost a cliché in the FA Cup, but the Blue Square Premier outfit are a fully committed side that will put everything into the game to ensure that they can force a replay, or even cause another away upset. When they equalised against Lincoln, it appeared that only one team was going to go on and win it, so the Magpies should look to kill them off as soon as possible.