Woeful Notts lose in home scrap

During the course of yesterday afternoon, many supporters who travelled to Meadow Lane will have witnessed two very different games.

When people see a 3-2 scoreline attached to a football match, the natural assumption will be that an exciting match - full of attacking play and goal-mouth action - has taken place. And, sure enough, the England and Argentina national sides gave a thrilling exhibition of the sport in a game in which two late Michael Owen goals gave the Three Lions' a much-needed victory.

For (English) Notts fans who may have witnessed that game, it will have served as something of a pick-me-up after witnessing yet another dire game at Meadow Lane.

Sign him up!
Yes, the two matches both ended up with a 3-2 scoreline, but that is where the similarities end. Notts' clash with Cheltenham served as a depressing reminder as to just how far the Magpies' have sunk in the past few years.

Whilst the England game may have finished 3-2 thanks to the sheer attacking quality on show, the Notts-Cheltenham affair ended-up with the said scoreline due mainly to the sheer low-standard of play that was on offer.

It was reminiscent of a YEL Youth game, or even a Sunday morning fixture, where goals were inevitable, but not for the right reasons. The difference with yesterday, is that witnesses to the 'spectacle' were actually paying customers to an entertainment business. They are entitled to watch something better than they can see at their local Park for free.

And yesterday they didn't.

Cheltenham are a mid-table, average, League Two outfit who came to face the on-form Magpies with the intention of grabbing a point.

And it was largely due to this attitude that the Robins' took until the 35th minute to take the lead through Brian Wilson.

Had they arrived in Nottingham with a positive approach, who knows how many they could have netted by that point.

Because Notts were woeful. The same team who had managed to pick-up two successive wins at Bury and Bristol City were often incapable of stringing two passes together, with Andy White's presence in the starting line-up seemingly serving only as a get-out clause to players who too-often preferred to take the easier, long-ball option.

The short passes that were attempted were often mis-placed, with the morgue-like atmosphere at the 'Lane serving only to add to the depression.

Maybe someone forgot to tell the players that we kicked-off an hour earlier?

Baudet: Penalty
County were handed an underserved lifeline right in first half injury-time when visiting midfield-man JJ Melligan handled in the penalty area. Skipper Julien Baudet - after squabling with Lewis McMahon - duly took responsibility, slotting-home neatly to give the half-time score an unfair look.

It was particularly pleasing for Baudet, as it was his error that had allowed former Forest striker Steve Guinan in to create the visitors' opener.

The penalty's timing could not have been greater, and gave the Magpies' fresh impetus as they emerged for the second half.

Thordarson had clearly given his team a well-deserved half-time roasting, with Notts now looking like a team who contained at least a smattering of professional footballers.

In fact, when Edwards gave Notts a 57th minute lead thanks to a towering header after his initial effort had cannoned back of the crossbar, hope was rife that Notts had got-away with their dire first half, and were set for unlikely victory.

No such luck.

As deserved as Edwards' goal was, Notts retracted into their shells almost immediately after it, though White would have sealed the win but for a tremendous save from visiting stopper Shane Higgs.

The Robins, though, were again beginning to come into procedings, with towering strikers Kayode Odejayi and, later, Damien Spencer, providing everything that White wasn't at the other end.

The hunger of the home players leading up to Edwards goal had gradually deteriorated and it was no great surprise when, within six minutes, Jamie Victory equalised before Grant McCann netted a deserved late winner.

Edwards: Third of the season
Both goals came about through slack marking, with the first a set-piece that spawned TWO great chances, with Kevin Pilkington brilliantly saving the first.

Despite the recent upturns in on-the-field performances, these are still troubling times at Meadow Lane. In Thordarson, the club possess a good manager but, until the summer, when he can bring his own players in, the Icelandic is powerless.

What the board and the Supporters Trust will be hoping is that already long-suffering supporters will be prepared to wait until then, in the desperate hope of watching a good football team.

Yesterday's attendance, 4,903, tells its own story, with the general attendances this campaign - even during the heady days of August - suggesting that many fans' have already given up after last season's woeful showing.

Many more performances like yesterday and there'll be a whole lot-more joining them.

Full Time: Notts County 2-3 Cheltenham Town

Ratings and reaction to follow.