Ardley: We must get wise to our plight
AN EXASPERATED Neal Ardley warned his Notts County players their fate will soon be sealed if they don’t improve quickly after they lost at home to Cambridge.
The Magpies, who are now six points adrift of safety, bossed large parts of the match in front of their biggest home crowd of the season, but most of the 15,026 fans went home unhappy after Greg Taylor’s looping firsthalf header settled it.
Cambridge, struggling themselves, are now five points clear of the drop zone and County’s fate is looking increasingly grim. But Ardley still sees positive signs from their play, even if they collapse at key moments. “I told the players I and everybody else needs more from them,” he said.
“There was nothing in the game, but it was the same old, same old. We had a go to a point, although I thought in the first half we were nervy.
“In the second half we were by far the better team, but we lacked quality.
“People have got to do their jobs at set-pieces, but somebody gets bullied at the back post and we’ve lost the game to it.”
Kristian Dennis had gone close to an opener when he spun on the turn from an Elliott Hewitt cross, but his shot went inches wide.
But any hope that would signal a spell of intense pressure was wiped out when Taylor rose to loop a header beyond debut goalkeeper Ryan Schofield from George Maris’ corner.
Jim O’Brien, making his debut following his arrival from Bradford, did come close to an equaliser when David Forde tipped his ambitious 25-yard drive around a post.
Notts tried to apply pressure in the search of an equaliser, but the only time Forde’s goal was in threat was when Dennis fired a low shot along the goal-line.
Cambridge have now won three of their past five league games and manager Colin Calderwood expects them to pull further away from danger – even if they did ride their luck.
“I said to the players they showed terrific grit and determination. They showed application to get the element of luck once or twice,” he said.
“They have worked hard all season and they grappled for the game, but there were moments when we could have done better and that will help us win games moving forward.”