Is probably the most accurate thing that happened at Meadow Lane yesterday. More on Jon Stead’s candid interview later…
After Tuesday nights ‘performance’ the knives were firmly out for Jamie Fullarton. Yesterday was a must win. Not in terms of relegation, but in terms of giving the fans something to cheer about. A win yesterday would have given Fullarton a slight (emphasis on the word slight) bit of kudos with the fans.
The first half signalled a definite improvement. By no means were we excellent, but we certainly played better than any home game under Fullarton I can remember. We put little passages of play together. Jason Banton got in decent positions and we created outstanding chances that should have been taken. Bristol Rovers had their chances, but Notts did too.
When, inevitably, Cristian Montano scored to put Rovers one nil up, it showed that Notts’ defensive frailties haven’t really been addressed. After a poor Wes Atkinson back pass, Notts failed to deal with the next phase of play, Atkinson found himself lacking in the ‘weights’ department and allowed Montano to slot under Loach; who should have done better too.
The first 45 came and went with a definite improvement in performance but not to much of a difference from the fans.
The 2nd half was again, atrocious. The way Fullarton sets Notts up is instantly undermined as soon as we go behind. For the fourth home game in a row, we were far too deep. In particular, the central midfield two. When Rovers attacked, players moved and went forward. When we went forward, Milsom and Thompson were camped near the half way line. Even Jon Stead, a striker, is played too deep in the ‘number 10’ role. Why aren’t Stead and McLeod being played as a pair? Up front, together, occupying the centre halves and the midfield pushed up 10/15/20 yards? Just that intent would endear Fullarton slightly more to the fans.
When the second goal went in, most Notts players seemed to give up. We allowed Rovers to nip the ball around us, never getting close to them. Stead summed up the whole atmosphere by pleading, desperatly pleading with the midfield to push up. Stead cut a frustrated figure, along with 4000 odd Notts fans.
The other significant happening after 2-0 was a ‘Fullarton Out’ bed sheet whipped out of a club shop bag and held aloft at the front of the Kop. It didn’t surprise me to see it, and I was quietly amused to see the return of an angry bed sheet. How very 90’s…
The second half petered out with no one really being particularly bothered. Notts showed glimpses of fight but it was all in vain. On the final whistle, the boo’s rang around Meadow Lane. The players wandered over to the Kop to applaud and Fullarton disappeared down the tunnel. A thoroughly dismal afternoon….
Now, back to Stead’s interview. Stead spoke honestly about a terrible afternoon and run of form. He spoke about the tension and disappointment in the dressing room. The fact the players must stick together to get anything out of the season. The ‘rag-arse’ nature of the second half. Fair play.
Then Fullarton appeared. He said ‘naivety’ in his ‘young squad’ was apparent. Well Mr Fullarton; sort it out. Carroll, Edwards, Smith, Aborah and Noble. There are 4 experienced players. While I wouldn’t condone playing two of them, and you don’t like a third, they are old or experienced heads that you think we need. Don’t moan when a solution is sat around you; get it sorted.
When all is put together, it shows Fullarton is way out of his depth. He should never have been given the job but now he has it, he obviously can’t do it. Just his substitutions show it; Graham Burke came on to play wide right. Probably the sweetest left foot in the squad was played out of position. 88 minutes; Rhys Sharpe for Blair Adams. Left back for left back.
Thanks Jamie, joker.