Debutant Dadi inspires Magpies to victory

Last updated : 22 January 2006 By Rob Davies
Almost from his first day in the job, Notts manager Gudjon Thordarson has expressed the importance of strengthening the thread-bare Notts County playing squad.

Even after notching-up three successive home wins - or topping the League Two table at the end of August - Thordarson didn't let-up in his quest to bolster his ranks on a shoe-string budget.

Now, eight months into the job, it is beginning to look like his team.

A happy man
The side that disposed of Shrewsbury yesterday contained six signings made by Thordarson, with four more sat on the substitutes bench.

And the County boss is beginning to have options. Talented midfield players Lewis McMahon and Stacy Long - both men signed by Thordarson - didn't even make the 16, while Brian O'Callaghan was unlucky to find himself amongst the substitutes, after enjoying arguably his best form since signing for the club recently.

But it was surely the strike pairing of Dadi and Mark DeBolla that would have pleased the Icelander the most.

Setting aside the nine goals scored by the now-departed Glynn Hurst - who openly-scathed Thordarson prior to yesterday's match - County's top scorer is defender Julien Baudet, with just five goals

This highlighted the need for an established frontman and, in Dadi, Notts had one yesterday that was central to almost all of their attacking play.

Though not yet fully match fit, the Ivory Coast striker was able to dominate the Shrewsbury back-line for long periods. His influence was further highlighted when his superb 20th minute header from Liam Needham's cross cannoned back off the post to the feet of David Pipe, who easily slotted home for his first ever goal at Meadow Lane.

The goal had come on the back of some heavy pressure from the home side in the opening stages, with DeBolla firing narrowly wide after some neat link-up play with his strike partner.

Dadi cool
The Magpies played a brand of football often unseen at Meadow Lane this season, with another home debutant, Lee Crooks, providing a steadying influence in midfield that released the immense Pipe into a more attacking role,

By the time Kelvin Wilson had scrambled home number two after another well-delivered Chris Palmer set-piece, the Notts supporters were in delight at their teams play, even if a wonder-save from Kevin Pilkington then prevented the visitors from pulling an immediate goal back.

By the time the half-time whistle came, Mike Edwards was guilty of a bad miss that would have given the Magpies an unasailable 3-0 lead at the interval.

Though Thordarson's team weren't quite able to keep the brand of football to the same consistent level for the second period, the Magpies were still able to create a host of chances that should really have given the scoreline are more resounding look.

Dadi was unlucky when he saw his powerful drive fly narrowly over Joe Hart's crossbar, while Baudet somehow fired over with the goal at his mercy just six yards out.

Pipe: Outstanding
Hart denied Crooks a goal on his home debut with a smart low save, while a tremendous piece of footwork from substitute Rob Ullathorne was deserving of a goal.

Kelvin Langmead fired in a consolation effort for the visitors, but the result was never really in doubt for Thordarson and his fast-improving team.

The afternoon was only spoilt somewhat when the referee denied the Magpies a deserved third with a dreadful piece of officialing.

With Hart up for a corner in a desperate last-ditch attempt to secure his team an unlikely point, substitute Jake Sheridan hacked a goal-bound shot from inside his own half that was set to be converted by the onrushing Pipe, before the referee - who booked four Notts County players - pulled the play back for a foul on Sheridan.

It was a truly bizarre decision that both angered and amused the home bench in equal measure. Thordarson was to later describe the first-year official's performance as 'laughable'. Few would disagree.

Of more immediate concern though, is maintaining his side's good run. Despite the squad looking in good shape, Thordarson is still looking for fresh signings - with the 50-year-old looking for at least two more before the closure of the transfer window.

If they prospective new boys are to follow the start made by Dadi, we are all in for a treat.

Match Ratings to follow.