Magpies came out in all-blue; did the officials really think the black shorts of both sides’ first-team strip was too much of a clash? This writer’s position is that the away side should wear its home kit unless there’s a real problem. Anyway, Notts County kicked off towards the North Stand & made the early moves. Then Igoe twisted & volleyed wide. Lots of little fouls were committed as both sides fenced, testing each other. Igoe’s 25-yard swerver was pushed out by Schmeichel junior at the last moment.
Magpies proved absorptive of the home team’s attempts. Cherries’ final balls were not good enough & some of us engaged in Sven-spotting. Pitman was felled, apparently winded; certainly he was being targeted by defenders to check his stomach for the contest, as Hughes was doing to Pearce. The latter had to go off for facial cuts or a contact lens problem. Pitman made a lovely trap by the touch line, then fell over the ball. Thomas was challenged by Hughes but managed to gather behind him. Feeney was double-teamed. Hughes was booed nearly every time he touched the ball; he twisted Cummings but put it over. Connell’s link attempts to Pitman & Feeney were not good enough.
Magpies gained the first corner on 32, at which point the air became very chill; perhaps that’s when it started raining. Magpies showed more cohesion, but Hughes’s distribution was poor. Pitman fed Connell who shot over from 20 yards when Feeney & Igoe on the flanks were better options. Pearce had to go to the dressing room for attention, but returned for an away corner punched out by Thomas. The visitors’ pass & touch was inconsistent, matched by Feeney who skipped upfield but hit a poor cross. Then Pitman looked along the line, read it superbly & ran on to Connell’s over-the-top ball. Into the area at inside-left, unmarked, he passed it left-footed across Schmeichel junior & in off the far post. You Beauty!!! 1-0, 37.
Thomas had to go down to save. Another away corner resulted in a shot over. The Magpies no.10, Bishop, ran the game for Barnet when we lost there at Easter; here he was reduced in effectiveness as Robinson was shutting down the angles but still looked class. The half ended with the Cherries defence having to hold firm. HT: 1-0.
As I returned from the half-time facilities, the rain was not so much driving or Hollywood as just cascada. On the restart, Cherries produced some good stuff with Connell flagged for being just offside (marginal). He headed clear from the home goal line, but it came back in, Hughes was in front of his marker, hooked it towards the near post and the ball hit the greasy surface as Thomas put his hands to it. The hands were not behind the ball, knees were apart, the ball slipped through. 1-1, 49. Cherries responded with a lovely through ball to Feeney but Schmeichel junior was out just too quickly. The pitch was distinctly wet. Bartley was fouled but no free awarded. He then came back to foul the 10, protested, was subject to a substantial lecture, but no card was shown. Home pressure really should have seen a 2
Cherries goal either side of the equaliser.
On a home attack, advantage could have been given but a free was awarded, inside-left, 25 yards out. Pitman’s attempt hit Schmeichel junior’s hands for a throw then a corner. Magpies broke out, sliced through the middle, and ex-(Rockingham Road) Poppy Westcarr hit it past Thomas who did put a hand to it. 1-2, 58. In response, Cummings went on a run but ran it into touch. For more pace, McQuoid replaced Igoe on 63 and went wide-right. Pinball in the home area really should have resulted in a 3rd< Magpies goal. The away side was in control; the half-time substitution & re-arrangement had proved more than effective, no least putting more pressure on Bradbury. A cross from the left saw Connell handball it blatantly into the net (& celebrate) for a yellow. This was very disappointing by him. Cummings made a good tackle & was felled, but the home midfield had stopped harassing.
A double swap: Fletcher & Hollands for Connell & Bartley on 72, for more muscle, to plough through the paddy fields. Indeed the pitch was ponding, and in such conditions the Argyle-Tykes game was abandoned on 58 this same afternoon. The worst areas were along the west side & in the home area, so passing was increasingly difficult. Another Pitman free from inside-left went to Schmeichel junior. Magpies had a free – over. Pearce nicked a clip forward, but it went wide; Pitman was extravagant for a goal-kick. McQuoid went to the by-line but the cross was caught at the near angle. Sometimes it was water polo; players were trying to plough through with ball at feet – e.g. McQuoid, Feeney – instead of chipping it forward. Bradbury was by now up front and put a right-footed skidder at Schmeichel junior. Hughes played the corner game, fouled & was yellowed. Pity he also played up to the “murderer” chants also. McQuoid won a corner; Hollands headed over & then Pitman put it over as the game washed away from Boscombe. FT: 1-2.
To them that hath, shall be given…a home draw against Forest Green Rovers. So: back to the bread & butter League. Big efforts by club & fans brought 2 successive 6k+ crowds, but that’s unlikely to last. The club’s in a double-bind: if it has a good winning run, the League will say it doesn’t need more players, so it keeps the embargo in place. If results stay poor at home, crowds go down, debts aren’t cleared so the League keeps the embargo in place.
Match sponsors gave this to Pitman for the goal, but apart from this & some other efforts he didn’t do any more overall than any other team member. The whole defence & midfield can take responsibility for the final goal, & the left side & central defence for the equaliser. So that leaves those up front apart from Pitman. Connell’s “hand of opportunism” & general ineffectiveness (apart from the assist & goal-line clearance) puts him out of the running leaving Feeney who, although not as effective as in some games, at least kept trying to run at or behind the defence.
AFCB: Thomas, Bradbury, Garry, Pearce, Cummings, Feeney, Bartley, Igoe, Robinson, Pitman, Connell
Subs: Partington, Goulding, McQuoid (for Igoe, 64), Fletcher (for Connell, 71), Hollands (for Bartley, 71)
Peter Wicks, Bulford