Notts County and Mansfield couldn’t find a derby winner
County earn draw in derby date
KEVIN Nolan is delighted to have the buzz of football back in his life after ending Notts County’s terrible ten-game losing streak.
New County boss Nolan stopped the rot with a resilient goalless draw in this lunchtime tussle with local rivals Mansfield.
The stalemate secured a first point for Notts since October 29 and was a promising start to life under incoming new owner Alan Hardy, who completed a takeover of the club this week.
Speaking after his first game in the dugout since departing as Leyton Orient chief last April, Nolan said: “I’ve been out the game for just under a year.
“But to have that buzz back was great and I was up early doors this morning.
“To have 11,000 here for my first game, I thought ‘no pressure!’
“But I really enjoyed it and I’m proud of the players and their performance. Hopefully we won’t let that slip now.
“What we have to do between now and the end of the season is compete and go for clean sheets.
“Hopefully, then we’ll start building confidence and start moving up this league.
“There’s been a lot of negativity around the place and rightly so after losing ten games.
“But, I think every fan here
knew that each player gave their all out there.
“Hopefully we can build on it because we have a lot of tough games coming up.
“But the lads have proved to me what I believed before I even walked into the club.
“I told the chairman he has a squad capable of staying in this league.
“That’s the standard that’s been set now and we can’t lower it.”
In truth, this was a woefully poor game with clear goalscoring chances few and far between.
The first half in particular was a poor spectacle, with the best opportunity falling to Mansfield’s Ben Whiteman. The Sheffield United loanee meandered his way into the penalty area and saw his shot take a deflection before looping over goalkeeper Adam Collin, who somehow managed to backpedal and claw the ball away from danger. Things got slightly better in the second half and County skipper Michael O’Connor saw a rifled shot closed down by a visiting defender just after the restart. The visitors should have gone 1-0 up just afterwards, but only Yoann Arquin will know how he missed an absolute sitter just a few yards out.
The striker inexplicably prodded wide just a few yards in front of goal after a precise centre by debutant full-back Hayden White.
That was about as good as it got, with the 11,328 crowd – the biggest of the season at Meadow Lane – starved of any real quality.
As for Mansfield, they remain in mid-table but still within sight of the play-offs.
Stags chief Steve Evans was pleased with a fourth consecutive clean sheet, although he believes the win was there for the taking.
“We’re starting to see the benefits of our training-ground work,” said the Scot.
“We’re getting good shape and organisation.
“I don’t think our goalkeeper had a save to make, which is a compliment to the whole team.
“We’ve come a long way down the motorway in the last six weeks but there’s still a long way to drive before we can get into that top group.
“We were the team trying to win the derby but the takeover and new manager made a difference to them. It was always going to be tough.
“Single points are no good, because only three points will help us achieve what we want to.”
GRAPPLE: Mansfield Town’s Matt Green tries to hold off Notts County’s Curtis Thompson
FULL STRETCH: Notts’ Jon Stead slides in on the Stags’ Joel Byrom and, inset, Kevin Nolan gets a hug from Alan Smith
STAR MAN THIERRY AUDEL Notts County