Notts County made it an unwanted three losses on the bounce, after a wasteful afternoon in front of goal saw them lose from a winning position for the second time in a week.
The Magpies have now dropped a staggering 15 points from winning positions this season; Notts would be in the play-offs had they held on in those matches.
But Notts will probably feel hard done by Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Swindon, the Robins had only one shot on target in the game, yet scored two goals, after benefitting from a Jamie Turley own goal to win the match.
The first half was arguably the best 45 minutes seen under the stewardship of Harry Kewell. Notts were first to every ball and up for the fight, the only negative being that they spurned golden opportunities in front of goal.
The second half started in similar fashion, but the Magpies continued to waste chances; Kane Hemmings especially having gilt-edged openings but not managing to hit the target.
And in the end County were made to pay for it, after letting Swindon in twice, who scored from open play for the first time in over 600 minutes of football.
Notts though may feel slightly aggrieved by the performance of the referee, and not for the first time this season.
Following Tuesday night’s unlucky defeat at MK Dons, where Jamie Turley was harshly sent off for what was wrongly adjudged to be a penalty, the FA came out and apologised to Notts, saying that the penalty was “definitely not even a foul”.
They correctly rescinded the red card, but that was little consolation for the three points that Notts felt they lost, they were 1-0 up at the time.
And the performance of the referee on Saturday wasn’t much of an improvement of what was seen at Stadium MK.
The referee missed a blatant red card for Swindon centre back Sid Nelson, when he pushed County midfielder Elliott Hewitt in the face off the ball, yet only received a yellow. Nelson then proceeded to get three ‘final warnings’ from the man in the middle for future fouls throughout the game.
The stop/start nature of the match played into the visitor’s hands as well, with Phil Brown’s side going down at every opportunity to try and disrupt the Notts flow.
The game, aside from that Hewitt and Nelson incident, wasn’t a particularly feisty encounter, it was well contested but there wasn’t a bad tackle in the match, yet the referee ended up brandishing seven yellow cards in the game, every foul seemed, in his mind, to constitute a booking. He seemed to want the fans going home talking about him rather than the game itself.
That being said, the referee is not to blame for Notts throwing away yet another lead and leaving yet another game with nothing.
Notts need to be much more ruthless in front of goal, and get much better with their decision making in the final third if they stand any chance of turning their season around.
The Magpies are only two points clear of the bottom two, and 15 off the League Two play-off positions; if they are to make a fist of it then they need to go on a run of wins, and quickly, starting next Saturday at Port Vale.
Picture Credit: Notts County