Notts County Vs Crewe – Match Report – 09/02/13

9th February 2013

County, who sacked fan favourite manager Keith Curle only 6 days before the match, had already suffered a 0-2 loss to Stevenage in the week and this match looked like it was going the same way. Gavin Mahon fouled Ajay Leitch-Smith in the box to give away a penalty seconds before the half-time whistle. After a long wait, Luke Murphy scored emphatically from the spot with a right-footed shot placed perfectly in the right side netting.

The Magpies enjoyed good possession in the first half but couldn’t produce anything of note for 45 minutes as they didn’t get one shot on target. The Meadow Lane faithful booed the players off at half time frustrated by their apparent lack of determination and drive. Crewe dominated much of the half with Newcastle United loanee Bradden Inman at the heart of everything Crewe had to offer. Supurb, athletic saves by Notts’ teenage goalkeeper Fabian Spiess kept Crewe at bay for 45 minutes before the penalty was awarded.

Caretaker manager Chris Kiwomya admitted to giving the players stern words at half-time and it certainly worked as Notts came out revitalised in the second period. Within seconds Manchester United youth prospect John Cofie registered their first shot on target and a 30 yard drive from Alan Judge which hit the crossbar thrilled the crowd back into rapturous support for their beloved team. It began to look like the Magpies dynamic play was not going to reap the rewards it certainly merited until Cofie burst past the midfield to drive at a backpedalling Crewe defence. A fantastically hit right-footed strike across Steve Phillips’ goal left the keeper stranded and Meadow Lane erupted as the 20 year old, who only arrived the previous evening, levelled the match in the 57th minute.

The remainder of the half saw County push on for a winner and Crewe become increasingly happy to defend their away point. Some fantastic deliveries by left-back Alan Sheehan were met by Yoann Arquin who’s headers missed by inches. The second half substitute made all the difference as Notts began to play 4-4-2 and his hold up play brought Cofie into the game more which ultimately resulted in the goal. Sheehan had a terrific final 45 minutes and the 84th saw him cut inside and lash a fierce strike which left Phillips’ helpless but again the crossbar denied the Magpies a goal and a winner. Crewe midfielder and captain Luke Murphy almost snatched all three points at the end of the game as his stunning free-kick was tipped over the post by an inspired Spiess who rightly picked up the Man of the Match award for a fantastic 90 minutes of play.

There is no doubt that Kiwomya will have to get more than just a decent 45 minutes out of his players if he wants to take over the managerial position permanently but signs were encouraging for Notts County today. Honest performances as always from players such as Judge, Boucaud and Campbell-Ryce will keep hopes of the play-offs alive for Magpies’ fans and young Cofie could also easily have a say in their next few results. Steve Davis has got Crewe looking like one of the fittest and most well drilled sides in League 1 and their table position will inevitably improve, possibly to the point where both these teams may be vying for that valuable 6th spot come the end of the season.

Notts County – Chris Kiwomya
23 Speiss
02 Kelly
03 Sheehan
06 Leacock Booked
08 Liddle
10 Judge
11 Hughes
14 Mahon Booked (Arquin – 46′ )
20 Campbell-Ryce (Zoko – 81′ )
28 Boucaud
19 Cofie (Showunmi – 90′ )

12 Mitchell
05 Smith
18 Bencherif
25 Tempest
09 Showunmi
13 Zoko
15 Arquin

Crewe – Steve Davis
01 Phillips
02 Tootle
05 Ellis
06 Dugdale
08 Murphy
14 Mellor
19 Osman
26 Aneke (Colclough – 78′ )
31 Inman
10 Leitch-Smith
11 Moore (Pogba – 64′ )

13 Martin
12 Turton
15 Robertson
17 Ray
27 Colclough
07 M Clayton
09 Pogba

Attendance: 5,450 Ref: Andy Woolmer

Fan Interviews before and after the match can be found in this URN production: [video:]

Rob Schofield