Notts County 0 Brentford 1
A solitary strike from Will Grigg was enough as Uwe’s boys scraped a narrow but important win away to a Notts County side whose level of determination and drive belied their current league position.
The home side began like men on a mission and had several glaring chances but were kept at bay by David Button in the Brentford goal, most notably an excellent triple save to keep the score line blank. At the other end Adam Forshaw came the closest with a couple of long range shots both of which went wide but it was a sign of intent from the inform Bees.
Football is about taking chances and the only goal illustrated this point superbly. Following some impressive build up from Notts a guilt edge chance presented itself to Jamal Campbell-Rice who somehow conspired to blaze over with the goal at his mercy.
In the 44th minute the let off served as the wake-up call that The Bees needed, moments later some lapse play from a Magpies defender allowed the ever industrial Toumani to wrestle back possession some 30 yards from goal before releasing the salivating striker Grigg to slot a low drive beyond the despairing keeper to hand the advantage to League 1’s form team.
Going in ahead at the interval of a game in which his side could have easily found themselves 2-0 down would have pleased Uwe in terms of the score if not the performance. Points are won and lost on such fine margins so on balance the German would have been content with the first 45 but aware of the threat posed by the hosts with the ‘under new management signs’ up.
The second half was as end to end as the match at Wolves with attacks and counter attacks a plenty albeit with the defensive side coming out on top in the end. Crosses caused concern in the away end with the Notts County side probing at corners and in open play but the ever impressive trio of Tony Craig, Harlee Dean and Jonathon Douglas coming out on top to preserve the lead and clean sheet for their team.
Indeed the lead was almost increased by Clayton on a couple of occasions, firstly a header which was guided rather than powered went over the bar following a pin point free kick from super sub Sammy Saunders, secondly having won a foot race and outmuscled several home defenders, the number 9’s shot across goal went agonisingly wide just clipping the post as it did
After an inexplicable 7 minutes of stoppage time the final whistle was blown and a 8th win in 9 was confirmed. Given that both Wolves and Orient both dropped points this scrappy at times fortuitous victory could be all important in the long run. For the moment though it is all about keeping the run going, the longer it does however the more teams are going to raise their game and try to stop us in our tracks. Games come thick and fast at this time of the season but the size and strength of our squad bodes well.
By Chris Horricks