Notts County slipped to two straight league losses in a row after a 1-0 defeat in dramatic circumstances away to Crewe Alexandra.
After the two sides could not be separated after 98 minutes, a penalty by Courtney Baker-Richardson proved to be the difference between the two sides, seeing the Magpies slip to 5th in the League 2 table.
Notts lined up making 1 change from their last league defeat away at Wrexham with Sam Austin replacing the injured Matt Palmer, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Notts hoped to dominate and secure a victory against a Crewe side who like to score a lot of goals. It was an important matchup against a playoff rival, which County needed to ensure a good performance and remain focused from the first whistle.
The first half began as an even affair, with both teams getting a feel for the game and trying to break each other down. However, the hosts were having more chances, with Shilow Tracey coming close from 20 yards out. Notts continued to keep possession and force Crewe out of their shape, but struggled to materialise any real chances to test the goalkeeper. The home side were very much comfortable and looking the more threatening of the two playoff contenders. The magpies were almost behind after Demitriou’s volley was saved at the second attempt by Slocombe.
Despite the immense spell of pressure, Notts had a golden opportunity in the 37th minute. Langstaff saw his shot saved by the goalkeeper after being played through by Dan Crowley. Notts needed the chance to build upon to try and take the lead. The home side were once again almost in front before half time as Baker-Richardson could not keep his header on target, after Slocombe had misjudged the flight of the ball following a free kick. It was a below-par first half performance against a good side for Notts’ perspective. However, it was all to play for with the scoreline being 0-0, going into the second half.
A reaction was definitely shown by the Magpies, who started the second half applying a dangerous amount of pressure on Crewe. This resulted in them coming close on a couple of occasions, most notably from Jones who came close from a narrow angle, attempting to turn home Nemane’s low cross. It was a much needed spell of dominance, however, a goal was needed to give the visitors confidence going into the final half hour of play. Langstaff narrowly missed the top corner after his effort from 25 yards whistled wide of the post. It seemed as if it was only a matter of time before the ball went in the back of the net.
Notts once again almost took the lead, after a fantastic block denied McGoldrick from finding the back of the net in the 85th minute. The game looked to be one of the more entertaining draws until a gigantic spell of action occurred in added time. The referee had to be replaced after sustaining a hamstring injury, bringing an end to a promising Notts attack. The hosts then went up the other end and had an effort which was adjudged to have struck the arm of Jodi Jones in the penalty area by the linesman. The frustration and anger was evident from the away fans, starting an 11 minute delay before the penalty was taken. Baker-Richardson made no mistake from the spot, which brought to an end a miserable game for Notts.
Overall, it was a game which was clearly overshadowed by some unsavoury scenes at the end of the match. Although the penalty looked to have been a very controversial decision, Notts showed a better account of themselves in the second half and were unlucky to not find the back of the net on a couple of occasions. It was a disappointing result, to which the Magpies will need to bounce back ahead of their clash at home to Bradford City next week.
Starting 11: 1 Slocombe - 28 Macari, 15 Baldwin, 4 Cameron - 11 Nemane (75’), 6 O’Brien, 8 Austin (80’), 10 Jones - 7 Crowley, 17 McGoldrick, 9 Langstaff
Subs Used: 14 Randall (75’), 32 Gosling (80’)
Not Used: 26 Stone, 2 Brindley, 5 Rawlinson, 21 Adebayo, 27 Morias