Luke Williams says Magpies still adapting to league after ‘game of two halves’

Posted Sunday, November 19, 2023 by PA

Luke Williams says Magpies still adapting to league after ‘game of two halves’

Notts County boss Luke Williams said his promoted side still need to adapt to League Two after seeing them “fall off the edge of a cliff” during the second half of their 4-2 home win over Bradford.

County looked to be cruising to victory after a superb first-half display saw them score four unanswered goals through a brace from Macaulay Langstaff in between efforts from David McGoldrick and Dan Crowley.

However, the Magpies were unable to replicate that performance after the break and Bradford halved the deficit through Richard Brindley’s own goal and Jamie Walker’s strike with 15 minutes left.

The visitors could not get any closer as the hosts held on for a 4-2 win that keeps them up amongst the leaders in the division, but Williams was left with plenty of food for thought.

He said: “It was a game of two halves, exactly that.

“The first half as good as we were, we were equally poor in the second at times. I thoroughly enjoyed the first half and I think that was us playing football how I want us to play and the vision that I have for the team – they were breathtaking at times.

“In the end, on the balance of things we are worthy of the win, but only just.

“The first action (in second half) is ridiculous; we gave the ball away on the halfway line which sets up the counter-attack which sets the tone and then we’re sloppy. We’re missing intensity and the awareness is not there anymore – people were getting the ball pinched off them.

“They caused us so many problems for a side that were 4-0 down. We should have been able to cope with that better, but we didn’t.

“Too many times we’ve been 3-0 up at half-time and we know we deserve to be because we played well, so then to fall off the edge of a cliff in that way is something we are continuing to work on.

“I believe that we need a period of time to adapt to the level and we haven’t. It might look like we have with the way we play in the first half, but 45 minutes is not a game of football.”

Bradford boss Graham Alexander bemoaned his side’s display in the opening 45 minutes, accepting some of the blame falls on him for his tactical approach to the game.

“We were nowhere near good enough in the first half and the scoreline suggests that. We were too passive so I will take a share of the blame in that first-half performance,” he said.

“I was thinking to try and set up to be more compact but that wasn’t the case, Notts County were able to cut us open several times, but we had opportunities to score in the first half.

“That would have given us some encouragement to be aggressive and change the momentum in the first half if we took those opportunities.

“We understood that coming back from 4-0 down was going to be a huge task, we had to go out and win the second half. We took risks, were on the front foot, the players responded in the way I thought they would. We showed that we have the right mentality but it’s about showing that game plan from minute one.

“I just thought those two goals in the first half put doubt in our players minds, and instead of taking one step forward, we took one step back in nearly every action.

“You can’t play like that against any team, let alone Notts County. But in the second half we had less respect and backed ourselves more and we had the opportunity to get something out of the game.”


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