Notts County and Mans­field couldn’t find a derby win­ner

County earn draw in derby date

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Ricky Charlesworth

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

PIC­TURES: Dan West­well

FULL STRETCH: Notts’ Jon Stead slides in on the Stags’ Joel By­rom and, in­set, Kevin Nolan gets a hug from Alan Smith


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