Ard­ley: We must get wise to our plight

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By David Scott

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.”

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