Wil­cox is

Left shaken by magic Mag­pies

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Liam Cold­well By Joe Ball

RUSS Wil­cox in­sists Notts County are the best side he has come across this sea­son as they halted his York City side’s un­beaten run with vic­tory in front of their own fans.

Izale McLeod’s fourth goal since join­ing Notts County from Crawley in the 12th minute proved enough for the Mag­pies to record a fourth straight win at Meadow Lane.

And de­spite rue­ing a poor first-half,Wil­cox was re­fus­ing to get too down­beat with a first loss in four games af­ter be­ing im­pressed with the per­for­mance of the hosts.

“The first-half was shock­ing,” Wil­cox said.“We gave them too much time on the ball.We matched up their sys­tem and it was about be­ing bet­ter than the man you are play­ing against.

“Notts are the best side I’ve seen this sea­son, but we stuck with it. The at­ti­tude was first class, but we lack qual­ity in cer­tain ar­eas of the pitch.

“We know we can be bet­ter. They are a qual­ity team, I watched them at Crawley and they smashed them.

“We cer­tainly were not on our game, but the longer it stayed 1-0 it gave us an op­por­tu­nity to get some­thing out of the game.

“We cer­tainly had a go and we got in amongst them in the sec­ond-half. The black and white shirts were a lot bet­ter than us in the first-half.

“It’s al­right talk­ing about us as be­ing a nice foot­balling team, but you have to do the ugly bits and we didn’t do that.”

The goal came as a long ball from Liam Noble carved open the York de­fence. Scott Flin­ders looked to be odds-on to make a rou­tine clear­ance but missed his kick com­pletely to al­low McLeod the sim­plest of fin­ishes.

Notts County man­ager Ri­cardo Moniz said:“I am pleased of course be­cause it kept the home run go­ing. It’s four wins now, although we could have done with the sec­ond goal.

“The first 30 min­utes were very good. There was a chance we have had a penalty but I won’t say any­thing about the ref­eree.

“I’ve al­ways said I re­spect their de­ci­sions and the time I didn’t I got in trou­ble with the FA. “So I am not go­ing to re­act other than say make it 2-0, make it 3-0.

“It was three mas­sive points for us, es­pe­cially af­ter the bit­ter­ness of los­ing to AFC Wim­ble­don like we did.

“But we have washed that out of our sys­tem and the pleas­ing as­pect for me is that we were more con­sis­tent at the back.

“We kept a first clean sheet since the open­ing day of the sea­son and you can only play of­fen­sive when you think de­fen­sive.

“Alan Shee­han came in and did a good job. He will give us more lead­er­ship.”

MICHAEL AP­PLE­TON backed Ox­ford’s mis­fir­ing front-men to come good af­ter see­ing his pro­mo­tion con­tenders held to a goal­less home draw by sev­enth-placed More­cambe.

Ke­mar Roofe’s sec­ond-half penalty miss cost the hosts three pre­cious points.

And boss Ap­ple­ton said: “When you’re at home and you keep a clean sheet, you ex­pect to win the game.

“We’re go­ing to go through spells like that, but as long as we’re play­ing well and de­fend­ing well, I have ul­ti­mate trust in my play­ers that they’ll even­tu­ally start scor­ing goals.

“The con­ver­sa­tion I’ve just had with the play­ers is a lot dif­fer­ent to the one we had last sea­son, so it shows just how far we’ve come in such a short space of time.

“We’ll now go to York and en­joy it, I think we’re a de­cent team away from home.We got a de­cent re­sult there last year but we know it’s go­ing to be tough.”

Ox­ford striker Danny Hyl­ton had the first chance of the match af­ter 18 min­utes but his long-range ef­fort was way off tar­get.

More­cambe’s Kevin El­li­son came the clos­est to open­ing the scor­ing when he rose high­est to meet a cross but his header was tipped onto the cross­bar by Sam Slo­combe.

And Roofe nearly broke the dead­lock five min­utes from half-time but his pow­er­ful low shot was well saved by Barry Roche in the More­cambe goal.

The hosts thought they had a penalty when midfielder Liam Ser­combe went down in the penalty area but ref­eree Tim Robin­son waved away the protests.

And More­cambe rode their luck in added time of the first-half when de­fender Ryan Ed­wards tried to clear the dan­ger but his clear­ance clipped his own post.

Ap­ple­ton’s side were close to tak­ing the lead just af­ter the break but Danny Rose’s close-range ef­fort went wide.

Ox­ford con­tin­ued to push for the opener and More­cambe’s Adam Dug­dale nearly put the ball in his own net with a poorly-timed clear­ance.

Roofe had the chance to put the hosts in front when he was brought down in the penalty area by Shaun Bee­ley.

Bee­ley was some­what lucky to only re­ceive a yel­low card. The re­sult­ing penalty was poor and was easily saved by Roche div­ing low to his left. De­spite some late pres­sure by the hosts, they couldn’t find the win­ner and More­cambe man­ager Jim Bent­ley says his team is­sued the per­fect re­sponse to last week’s de­feat at Northamp­ton.

Bent­ley said:“Ox­ford have qual­ity play­ers all across the board, and they’ve got some of the top foot­ballers in the di­vi­sion.

“They play good football and I was pleased with how the lads de­fended.They were ex­cel­lent, Ox­ford had the ball for large parts of the game, but we stood up to that and I’m happy with the point.

“We’re only nine games into the sea­son, so these play­ers are only go­ing to get bet­ter.

“When called upon we knew Barry Roche was go­ing to have to play well and he did with the penalty save be­ing the key mo­ment.”

PIC­TURES: Will Kil­patrick

WHAM, BAM THANK YOU SAM: Sam Slo­combe saves a Kevin El­li­son ef­fort STAR MAN CAL­LUM O’DOW

DA Ox­ford

STAR MAN IZALE

D MCLEO

County Notts

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