Looking at today's game and last week's match at Bury pretty much sums up the frustration that Hans Backe must be feeling right now. Last week, Notts swept forward with purpose, were clinical infront of goal and carved out chances at will. However at the other end we allowed Bury a suicidal number of one-on-ones and can thank a rogue patch of mud for our point. This week Notts looked lethargic and struggled to break down a spirited Aldershot back line and a superb Venezuelan goalkeeper, creating only half chances and snap shots. But they dealt pretty well with the sporadic threat of one of the division's best attacking sides. It's a strange equation that has led to a flurry of draws and one which Backe must soon find the answer to.
There were a couple of changes as Notts kept the 4-5-1 shape that served them pretty well at Gigg Lane, with Johnnie Jackson and Ben Davies recovering from illness to line up in central midfield. For the visitors, Marvin Morgan spearheaded the attack as they set out to keep it tight from the off. The opening stages foreshadowed the rest of the match as Notts monopolised possession, going from side to side with confidence but no real urgency. The first real effort came when Ritchie's hopeful cross to the far post found Lee Hughes, who could only guide his header onto the roof of the net. Notts continued to keep the ball well, but Aldershot also showed they knew to have a ball when in possession, but both sides struggled to test the opposing goalkeepers.
Brendan Moloney had Mickael Jamiez-Ruiz at full stretch when he fired a shot that flew inches wide of the far post, whilst Lewis Chalmers had Kasper Schmeichel scrambling as his shot deflected narrowly wide of the upright for the Shots. Scott Donnelly tested the Dane properly for the first time as his low drive took a deflection and had to be clawed past the post by the alert Schmeichel. The Magpies could've gone into the half-time break ahead, but for Jamiez-Ruiz to add the first to an afternoon scrapbook of fine saves. Ritchie's left wing cross found the head of Notts' leading scorer and his downward header flew up off the ground, forcing the Venezuelan to tip it over the bar and away. This wrapped up a first half where both sides looked assured in possession but with little invention or attacking threat.
The second half seemed to take on the same pattern, as Notts enjoyed a monstrous slice of possession, but everything broke down once the ball was crossed in as Aldershot's central defensive pairing of Chris Blackburn and Anthony Charles mopped up everything. The visitors' fans were on their feet as Kirk Hudson's shot nestled in the side netting, whilst Luke Rodgers forced Jamiez-Ruiz to palm the ball away at full stretch after a flowing passing move. Matt Ritchie also tried his luck from the edge of the box, but this time the Venezuelan was able to hang onto the ball as it skidded along the ground.
As Notts threatened to take control, the visitors carved out the best chance of the game. Good interplay saw Hudson clip the ball across to Marvin Morgan, who headed wide from six yards when he should've put Aldershot into a surprise lead. Morgan could've scored again soon after, but he dragged his shot across the face of goal from a tight angle. The game was finally beginning to burst into some form of life and Jamiez-Ruiz again had to be alert, this time palming a shot from Lee Hughes to safety. Meanwhile, a well placed Shots defender was able to clear Hughes' header from the resulting corner off the line and away to safety. There was still time for substitute Craig Westcarr to fire straight at Jamiez-Ruiz, but the match fizzled out into yet another draw for the Magpies, which leaves them slightly further adrift of the pace setters than they would like to be.
Notts Co - Schmeichel, Moloney, Lee, Hunt, Clapham, Jackson, Bishop, Davies, Ritchie (Westcarr), Rodgers, Hughes
Notts Co 0
Aldershot Town 0
Attendance - 6,500 (552 Aldershot)