Vanarama National League
LNER Community Stadium
Saturday 24 September 2022
Attendance: 6,759 (1,734)
York City's five match unbeaten streak was ended by a quality Notts County performance on Saturday. An exquisite free-kick from Quevin Castro and two goals from the league’s top scorer, Macaulay Langstaff, were too much for a York side who could only score once through Fraser Kerr.
The last time these two sides met was in 2016. Back then, they were in League Two, a division that both clubs are desperate to get back into. At the beginning of the day, Notts County found themselves sat at fourth place whilst York, in eighth place, were just a point off of the play-off places. With both sides having had an impressive start to their seasons and over six thousand tickets sold, it was set up to be a lively afternoon both on and off the pitch.
The afternoon got off to the worst possible start for the Minstermen. Quevin Castro’s stunning free-kick from over twenty-five yards out, into the top right corner, put County ahead in the fifth minute. York keeper, Ethan Ross, was rooted to the ground as he watched the ball sail into his net. It’s safe to say Castro’s impressive acrobatic celebration that followed was not appreciated by the York faithful.
Notts County, nicknamed the magpies, got the better of the early chances and continued to dominate. York struggled to get the ball at all and when they did, found themselves hemmed in their own half due to the well-executed high pressing football that County were playing. A few good saves from Ethan Ross kept York in it in the early stages.
Balls over the top and behind the York defence was clearly the plan of attack for County. This was enabled by their pacey wingers and former York City striker Macaulay Langstaff who had scored ten goals in nine appearances before Saturday’s game, matching Erling Haaland’s goal scoring record.
York had a five minute spell in the middle of the first half where they finally switched on and looked dangerous, mounting a couple of attacks that ultimately led to nothing. Another chance for Langstaff in-behind the York defence followed but he failed to capitalise, firing just over the bar.
Chances in the first half had been few and far between for the home side and they didn’t look like scoring. Out of nowhere, in the thirty fifth minute, City defender Fraser Kerr bundled the ball into the back of the goal, meeting Olly Dyson’s low cross. York had levelled ten minutes before half time. Going into the break level would have been more than York deserved.
Enter Langstaff. A bullet cross from County winger Aaron Nemane flew across the goal and Macaulay Langstaff ’s diving header at the back post directed it past the York goalie for his eleventh goal of the campaign. A soft goal to concede by York who never should have let the cross come in in the first place and shouldn’t have left Langstaff unmarked. Notts County went into the second half leading York by two goals to one.
Image Credit: Jack Bleksley
Early in the second half York created a few chances, with captain Lenell John-Lewis going close. The Magpies had chances of their own too, with Castro whipping a ball into Chicksen who couldn’t find the target. The first substitution of the match came in the 54th minute, as Manny Duku was forced off due to injury and was replaced by Luke James, who inserted much needed energy into the York attack.
York were searching for an equaliser, hoping not to see an end to their five match unbeaten streak. Cross after cross was dealt with well by the Notts County defence and frustration was building for the home side.
That frustration was compounded when a York defender gave the ball away in his own half and which was picked up by County sub Sam Austin who played Langstaff through on goal, sealing the win with a calm finish for his twelfth goal of the season. A bad afternoon for the Minstermen, rounded off with an even worse ending.
A few boos rang out from the York crowd as the final whistle was blown. Boos were understandable. York City were outplayed from the very start by a superb Notts County side who will most certainly be eyeing up promotion this year. Saturday’s win lifts them to third after ten games. With Langstaff upfront, goal scoring will not be a problem.
For York, they may have slightly different aspirations. A return to League Two is the medium-long term goal but for this season staying up will be the main objective. York don’t have the budget to spend big on players unlike some other teams in the league (most notably Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s Wrexham). They have had a better-than-expected start to their campaign and being in the top half of the table at ninth after ten games provides a solid base for the rest of the season.
Improvement from Saturday’s game is required. Speaking to BBC Radio York after the game, York manager John Askey said, “We’ve got to learn from today [...] we’ve got to move onto next Saturday’s game now and hopefully start on a run again.” York will play Barnet next Saturday, who are a point behind them. At such an early stage in the season, it is hard to predict how York’s season will go. As long as there aren’t too many strikers like Langstaff in this division, York will do alright.
York City: Ross (GK); Dyson, Kouogun, Kerr, Sanders (Mafuta, 71’),Whittle; Pybus, Greaves (Burgess, 64’), Kouhyar; John-Lewis, Duku (L. James,54’)
Unused subs: Whitley, Hurst
Goal scorers: Kerr (35’)
Bookings: Greaves, Whittle
Notts County: Slocombe (GK); Cameron, Rawlinson, Brindley; Palmer, O’Brien, Rodrigues (Mitchell, 84’), Castro (Austin, 66’); Chicksen, Nemane; Langstaff (Scott, 84’)
Unused subs: Adebayo-Rowling, Francis
Goal scorers: Castro (5’), Lang-staff (43’, 79’)
Bookings: Rodrigues, Nemane