'Frustration' as Magpies fail to take chances in defeat to Notts County

Josh Kelly failed to take some early chances. Photo: George Tewkesbury

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There was plenty of ‘frustration’ in the Maidenhead United dressing after the visitors failed to take a host of first half chances in their 1-0 defeat to Notts County.

The Magpies had won on their last visit to Meadow Lane, with Sam Barratt scoring a brace in an impressive 3-2 victory, and they had their chances to do something similar in front of a huge crowd of nearly 6,000 fans on Saturday.

With Barratt back in the starting line up for the first time since the side’s 2-0 victory over Dover Athletic on August 28, the last match Maidenhead won, they flew out of the traps to catch their hosts lukewarm if not completely cold.

Alan Devonshire’s side came into the game off the back of a frustrating 2-0 home defeat to Stockport County on Tuesday, in which both Remy Clerima and James Holden were sent off. They failed to carve out a chance of note in that game but looked to be carrying much more of an attacking threat with Barratt back in their ranks.

Without forcing the Notts County keeper into a save they threatened an opener, with Josh Kelly firing wide from a tight angle after four minutes and Nathan Blissett glancing a header just over from a Charlee Adams delivery just a few minutes later. Kelly then missed the kind of chance he’s been grasping this season when he fired over the bar from close range after being played in by the influential Barratt in the 12th minute.

New loan signing Sam Beckwith also failed to take a couple of decent chances for the Magpies and, not surprisingly, they were punished for those misses when Notts County took the lead just minutes after the interval. It looked like Kyle Cameron had headed home Cal Roberts’ 48th minute corner but it later emerged that Alex Lacey had got a crucial touch to take the ball beyond Rhys Lovett.

The hosts might have had another, when Ryan Upward was adjudged to have fouled in the area, but Lovett got down well to save Roberts’ spot-kick.

Reflecting on an improved performance, but a fourth straight defeat that leaves them 16th in the table, assistant boss Ryan Peters said: “There’s a lot of frustration in there. They’re a good team and we know how good they are, but when chances like we had come about you have to take them.

“We had four good opportunities in the first half, and we haven’t worked the goalkeeper at all.

“When you don’t take your chances, teams like this will punish you and they have.”

‘More of the same’ is what Devonshire and his coaching team asked the players to give them in the second half. Instead, they lost focus from a 48th minute corner and Lacey’s close-range finish saw them chasing the game for the remainder of the half.

“We wanted more of the same,” said Peters. “We’d created four chances in the first half and if we created four chances in the second half, I think we’d have taken one of them but unfortunately we didn’t.

“We were a little bit lacklustre, and as allowed Notts County into the game. We allowed them to score and then they had a penalty which we saved. It wasn’t the same second half from us and it should have been because we had four attackers on the pitch.

“Of course, the boys love coming to stadiums like this, and our fans were as loud, if not louder, than the seven thousand they had here. We wanted to give them a much better performance, and although it was good in the main, essentially, we’ve lost another game and we’ve got to try and turn the tide as quickly as we can.

“We will keep creating chances and we have to get back to keeping clean sheets.

“We haven’t done that as yet, but the boys know we’re always going to create and more often than not we’ll take those chances. We need to keep the belief and things will change.”

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