A run-down of another month of goals and wins at Meadow Lane...
September saw Notts step confidently out from the shadows of other clubs’ stories and deservedly take top spot in League Two this month.
The long-awaited release of episode three of Disney’s ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ focused on the Welsh side’s visit to Meadow Lane last October, with Macaulay Langstaff’s 13th minute winner feeling even more sweeter now we know how vociferously Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson had warned his players of his prowess, but also tinged with knowing that season’s dramatic conclusion.
Thankfully, Langstaff’s form continues to trouble Parkinson’s swear jar this season as two goals against Accrington and one against Forest Green Rovers in September put Notts’ talisman on five goals in nine games while Wrexham find new script material for that difficult third season in Ben Foster’s sudden retirement and a 5:0 defeat to Stockport.
Not that we aren’t experienced in playing second-fiddle in sporting documentaries. September also saw Notts’ return to Salford where, eight years prior, the Magpies provided an uncomfortable sideshow in a documentary focusing on - wait for it - a bunch of celebrities buying a football club in the hope of overcoming neglect and misfortune through the fairytale of spending more than anyone else can afford.
It was particularly uncomfortable for Dutchman Julian Jenner that night, who finished the game wearing a cup of steaming tea thrown by an Ammies fan in the latter stages of the 2:0 loss. Had Notts had their own documentary this season, I like to imagine the camera panning to a now 39-year-old Jenner sat somewhere in Europe, nursing a styrofoam cup of warm mushy peas and mint sauce, smiling to himself as he hears David McGoldrick and Dan Crowley finally teach the Class of 92 an overdue lesson.
The trouble with being on the front row is the pressure of having everyone’s attention, and Notts have certainly got that now. September saw consistently strong performances from several key members of the Notts squad, including Langstaff, McGoldrick, Bostock, Palmer and Crowley, but maintaining these standards with a relatively small squad will be a challenge for Luke Williams, especially given that the side have suffered three red cards and subsequent suspensions already this season. His forthright reflections on the win against Forest Green certainly shows that he is unwilling to let standards slip any time soon.
The form Notts are in means sides are constantly tweaking how they address the threats they pose. September saw the likes of Accrington and Forest Green hold a deeper line in the hope of limiting opportunities to play through them, only for Notts’ qualities on the ball to shine through, while Salford and MK Dons tried to take the game to Notts with more intense pressing in a battle for possession. Thankfully, Notts have been resistant to these approaches but October sees Notts take on four of the current top seven sides in the division, who will have all watched these games intensely in the hope of finding a flaw in Notts’ formidable form.
Williams himself has found increasing interest since leading Notts to the summit of League Two, nominated as August’s Manager of the Month, a focus of a recent Coaches Voice piece and no doubt the odds-on favourite for the next managerial hotseat in the leagues above.
As Nottingham braces itself for the landmark spectacle that is Goose Fair, Notts fans can look forward to even more excitement in October in the hope that they continue putting on a show worthy of any documentary.
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