Smith out of the or­di­nary for Notts

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Leigh Cur­tis

JAMIE FULLAR­TON hailed the im­pact of for­mer Manch­ester United star Alan Smith af­ter the mid­fielder helped steer his Notts County side to vic­tory at Lu­ton.

Smith was a half-time sub­sti­tute hav­ing re­placed the in­jured Scot Ben­nett and the for­mer Eng­land ace pro­duced an im­pe­ri­ous dis­play at Ke­nil­worth Road.

Af­ter Alan Shee­han scored an own goal against his old club to give Notts the lead, touch­ing in Wes Atkin­son’s cross, Smith cre­ated Jon Stead’s win­ner which was bril­liantly taken by the striker.

And Fullar­ton was quick to ac­knowl­edge Smith’s con­tri­bu­tion with the for­mer Leeds mid­fielder hav­ing re­jected a move to League Two pro­mo­tion con­tenders Ply­mouth ear­lier this month.

“I was pleased with how the play­ers re­sponded be­cause we had a dis­ap­point­ing re­sult last week,” said Fullar­ton, who has won two of his first three games in charge. “They’ve shown they can keep an even keel and not al­low it to af­fect them. Their at­ti­tude and ap­pli­ca­tion was first class.

“We were helped by Alan Smith who showed he is an in­flu­ence in the dress­ing room and on the pitch. He showed his qual­i­ties and gave us that im­pe­tus.

“We cre­ated some very good chances and that re­in­forced the be­lief we could go on and win the game. I was very pleased.”

Lu­ton did have their chances to score be­fore Notts took the lead, which came as a re­sult of some fine ap­proach play.

Pelly Rud­dock Mpanzu was guilty of miss­ing the best of them when he raced through just be­fore half-time but steered a shot wide of the post.

And right at the death sub­sti­tute Joe Pig­ott was de­nied by Haydn Hollis, who made a des­per­ate goal-line clear­ance to keep Notts’ clean sheet in­tact.

Hat­ters boss Nathan Jones ap­pre­ci­ated his side’s ef­fort, but felt they were un­done by a lack of ruth­less­ness in the fi­nal third.

“I want the play­ers to en­joy play­ing at Ke­nil­worth Road and make it dif­fi­cult for op­pos­ing sides, but it has not been like that,” said Jones.

“We needed the first goal and had we got that, it might have been a dif­fer­ent story.

“It’s all ifs and buts, but at the end of the day they were the more clin­i­cal and they got the re­sult.

“We are try­ing to score goals at home and it’s not through a lack of ef­fort.

“Our ap­proach play was very good. Some of the in­ter­play and flu­ency was ex­cel­lent.

“We just did not have a clin­i­cal edge in the box and that’s some­thing we will keep work­ing on.”



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