Category Archives: Notts County

Harrogate Town promoted to the Football League for the first time in their history

There must be something in the Yorkshire air this season. First Leeds United gain promotion to the Premier League and now Harrogate Town will be playing in the Football League next season.

What a success story for little Harrogate Town. They pushed National League Champions Barrow all the way all season, before eventually finishing second.

After defeating highly fancied Notts County in Sunday’s play-off final 3-1, it is a fairy tale story for a club living in the shadow of Leeds.

A town more famous for its tea rooms than its football club, will be playing amongst the likes of Bradford City, Forest Green Rovers, Port Vale and Oldham Athletic next season.

For the very first time in their history, Town are a Football League club. Harrogate itself attracts tourists from around the world to sample tea and cake in their famous tea rooms.

The club, who averaged around 1,400 in the National League has spent most of its existence in the Midland Football League, Northern Counties East League and Northern Premier League.

The success of Harrogate is down to the father and son team of the Weaver’s. Father Irving bought the club back in 2011. Two years earlier son Simon was appointed as Manager at the age of 31.

In his first season in charge the club finished bottom of the Conference North and were due to be relegated. However, Northwich Victoria were demoted due to financial problems and Town were reprieved.

During the 2017-18 campaign the club made the decision to turn full time. At the end of the season they won the National League North play-offs after beating Brackley Town, which earned them promotion to the National League.

The club finished sixth in their first National League campaign and were rewarded with a play-off game against AFC Fylde. Unfortunately for the Yorkshire side they were beaten 3-1 and lost out on the chance to become a Football League club.

Fast forward a year and Harrogate and the Weaver’s have been rewarded for their hard work and dedication by securing a place in the English Football League Two.

When the season starts again, little Harrogate will no doubt be written off. But in Yorkshire folk are made of true grit and with the enthusiasm of both father and son this little football club could well climb up the Football League ladder and continue to make Yorkshire proud.

National League clubs vote to end regular season

Following The FA’s decision to conclude the 2019/20 season for Grassroots football, The National League Clubs (Steps 1 & 2) have voted to end their current season as it stands.

A National League statement added:

“In the knowledge that the ordinary resolution has passed, the League’s board has chosen to communicate the decision now and before the last few responses are received, which will not change the outcome, to enable clubs to make business decisions with greater clarity as soon as possible.

“The options concerning the sporting outcomes of the 2019-20 season remain under careful and timely consideration, and further updates will be given in due course.”

The promotion and relegation outcomes are now under “careful consideration” after the league’s board had urged clubs in its three divisions to vote in favour of ending the regular season without further games because of coronavirus.

The National League board will now meet on Friday (24/04/20) to discuss the next steps and whether it will be plausible to continue with the playoffs or not.

The idea of ending the current season as it is, as opposed to voiding it, leaves some clubs in a promising position and Barrow AFC boss Ian Evatt has said cancelling the league ‘is the right thing to for football’, and Barrow should rightfully be promoted to the Football League.

Barrow took a huge gamble being one of the clubs to vote for the league to be ended. For some in non-league though it is more than the standings they have to think about.

Evatt told talkSPORT:

“We understand that contracts are 44 weeks and we’re getting to that stage where players are out of contract at the end of April and clubs need to save that money, it’s that simple.”

With The Northern Premier League abandoned as a result of Grassroots football being concluded, some will be having a watchful eye on the National League developments, one being league leaders South Shields.

The Mariners were runaway leaders in the competition before it was considered null and void but should the National League find a way of deciding promotion and relegation it could see a way for South Shields gaining entry to the National League North (NLN) next season.

One way that is said to have been considered is by a points-per-game basis. If that was to be the case then York, who top the NLN, would miss out to Kings Lynn who, despite being second, are only two points behind playing two less games hence, a higher points-per-game ratio.

On the contrary, a club disappointed with this outcome is Notts County, who are playing in the National League for the first time in their 158-year history.

“We would like to place on record our disappointment that the season has been brought to a premature end,” said a statement from the Magpies’ board of directors.

“While we appreciate the views of other clubs and respect the overall outcome of this vote as a representation of opinion across the three divisions, our stance has always been that the National League should operate in tandem with the EFL due to the intrinsic link between the two leagues.” The full statement is on their website.

The National League will have to work with the English Football League (EFL) on the principle of two teams getting promoted. What’s more, there is still the task of balancing the books after Bury’s expulsion left League One with 23 teams.

Football in England is suspended indefinitely, with the Premier League and EFL still hoping to play seasons to a conclusion.

Carabao Cup: Round One Draw Announced

The Carabao Cup Round One draw was made on Thursday evening from Morrisons, Colindale, North West London.

There were two stand out ties from the draw with AFC Wimbledon playing MK Dons, while newly-promoted Salford City will face Leeds United.

The draw was conducted by two former England internationals in John Barnes and Ray Parlour and was split into two regions – North and South.

Huddersfield Town, the hightest-ranked team in the Northern Section, will face Lincoln City while the highest ranked Southern side, West Bromwich Albion, will face Millwall.

Every club from Sky Bet League One and League Two enter the Carabao Cup in Round One, along with 22 Championship clubs.

Only Cardiff City and Fulham – who finished 18th and 19th respectively in the Premier League last season, will enter in Round Two, alongside the clubs from the Premier League, not in European competitions.

The first round matches are scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 12thAugust, with the final due to take place on March 1, 2020.

Full Round One Draw can be seen below:

North Draw

Tranmere Rovers v Hull City

Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers

Wigan Athletic v Stoke City

Port Vale v Burton Albion

Nottingham Forest v Fleetwood Town

Bradford City v Preston North End

Blackpool v Macclesfield Town

Blackburn Rovers v Oldham Athletic

Mansfield Town v Morecambe

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland

Scunthorpe United v Derby County

Rochdale v Bolton Wanderers

Huddersfield Town v Lincoln City

Middlesbrough v Crewe Alexandra

Shrewsbury Town v Rotherham United

Sheffield Wednesday v Bury

Salford City v Leeds United

Barnsley v Carlisle United

South Draw

Colchester United v Swindon Town

AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons

Oxford United v Peterborough United

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City

Plymouth Argyle v Leyton Orient

Wycombe Wanderers v Reading

Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers

Gillingham v Newport County

Stevenage v Southend United

Luton Town v Ipswich Town

Walsall v Crawley Town

Bristol Rovers v Cheltenham Town

Brentford v Cambridge United

Coventry City v Exeter City

Swansea City v Northampton Town

Why has Jorge Grant failed at Mansfield Town?

When Jorge Grant signed for the Stags back in January on a loan deal till the end of the season, the transfer was met with much praise from Mansfield fans and left other League Two clubs envious of the shrewd business that the Nottinghamshire-based side had done to acquire the talents of Grant. However, after four months at the club, it appears Grant has split options at the One Call Stadium with some fans smitten by his skillful on-the-ball ability and dead-ball prowess. On the other hand, some of the Mansfield faithful have questioned his commitment and attitude towards playing for the Stags.

Grant joined Mansfield back in January on a loan deal until the end of the season from fellow Nottinghamshire-based club, Nottingham Forest. Grant had started the season out on loan at newly promoted Luton Town. However, after failing to establish a first-team spot in Nathan Jones’ side, Grant was recalled back to Forest who wanted to send the 24-year-old attacking midfield out on loan to gain key crucial game time.

Mansfield, along with a plethora of other suitors in both League One and Two, wanted to sign the midfielder, however Mansfield acted swiftly to secure the signing. The Stags also had the help of another Forest loanee and friend of Jorge Grant, Tyler Walker. Walker convinced the Banbury born midfielder to sign for the Stags and it seemed to fans and pundits that this could be the golden combination to help Mansfield achieve promotion to League One.

The first few games for Grant were stupendous with the attacking midfielder showing his range of talents that he has at his disposal. In Grant’s first five games for the Stags, the on-loan Forest midfielder contributed to six goals. (4 goals & 2 assists) Fans couldn’t believe their eyes and felt Grant was the missing piece in the Mansfield promotion puzzle.

However, after a tremendous start, Grant would fail to provide a goal or an assist for 533 minutes of football and would see an increasing amount of criticism head his way. Grant eventually broke his dry spell with a corner ball that found the head of EFL team of the season member Krystian Pearce. However, Grant’s game wasn’t remembered for his assist rather for throwing a childlike strop as he was substituted after 59 minutes.

But why has Grant failed to fit in at Mansfield? It appears that Grant is a highly talented individual who has the ability to turn a game on its head however it appears Grant doesn’t fit in the Mansfield system when playing better quality opponents. Under David Flitcroft, Mansfield have played a 3-5-2 system or a 3-4-1-2. In this system, Grant plays the furthest forward midfielder who drifts wide allowing wingbacks to cut inside and allowing midfielders Bishop and Mellis space to run into.

This system when playing an inferior opponent suits Grant to a tee with the midfielder allowed a free role allowing him to find space and time on the ball. However, when playing a higher class opponent or one that overloads the midfield similar to the tactics adopted by Oldham on Easter Monday, it means Grant has to track back and drop back into a flatter midfield three.

Grant has struggled to do this job. It just doesn’t suit his play style and leads to Mansfield being overrun in the middle of the park and the Stags being forced to carry a man for large parts of the game. If David Flitcroft wants to accommodate Grant into his side he would have to change from the reliable 3-5-2 and 3-4-1-2 that he has used all season and play Grant in either a left or right midfield role that Grant is much more accustomed to playing.

Case in point last season, the Banbury born midfielder racked up an impressive 19 goals and 9 assists playing for local rivals Notts County. During his loan spell with the Magpies Grant was deployed predominantly on the left side of midfield but also being used on the right.

With a wider role, Grant’s defensive responsibilities were reduced meaning he could concentrate on his attacking output however some County fans did question his effort during games starting at times that Grant was reluctant to track back.  

It’s clear to see Grant is a highly talented individual who can enthrall fans with his ability but lacks the correct attitude and defensive abilities to play in certain systems.  

Why do you think Jorge Grant has failed at Mansfield?

The Battle for Football League survival

With less than 9 games left in League Two, we here at 24/7 football decided to look at the final games for every club in the fight to retain their Football League status. This season has thrown up a few surprises and looks to keep that trend going into the final 8 or 9 games.

24. Notts County

Currently sat at the foot of the League Two table are Nottinghamshire based side, Notts County. County, who were preseason favourites for promotion, currently find themselves on the verge of entering the Non-League for the first time in their history. The oldest Football League club are also having a nightmare off the pitch with the club currently up for sale.

Notts County’s recent form – LDLWD

The Magpies head into the final 8 games in a slight rejuvenation of form with 4 points being acquired in their last two games. However, County have only picked up 5 points in their last 6 games and have struggled to string a prolonged run of form together all season. To add further salt to their wounds, County have been dire at Meadow Lane in recent weeks, with the Magpies having only picked up 7 points in their last 8 home matches.

Notts County’s final 8 games

Exeter City (H) 23/03/2019

Stevenage (A) 30/03/2019

Northampton Town (H) 06/04/2019

Crewe Alexandra (A) 13/04/2019

MK Dons (H) 19/04/2019

Crawley Town (A) 22/04/2019

Grimsby Town (H) 27/04/2019

Swindon Town (A) 04/05/2019

County have a fairly balanced final 8 games with Notts having to face 2 promotion-chasing sides in MK and Exeter. County also have to play an inform Northampton side and a playoff-chasing Stevenage. A tough easter weekend awaits on the horizon with the Magpies facing MK on the Friday before a long away trip to mid-table Crawley on the Monday which could be a deciding factor in Notts’ survival.

23. Macclesfield

Newly promoted Macclesfield town currently sit 23rd place under the guidance of former Arsenal and Spurs defender, Sol Campbell. Since Campbell’s arrival, the Silkmen have seen an improvement in their fortunes,  picking up 7 points in his first 4 league games. However, Campbell’s men have slumped back into their old habits over the recent weeks with Macclesfield winning just one of their last five league games.

Macclesfield Town’s recent Form – DDLLW

The Silkmen head into their final 9 games in good spirits after defeating 22nd placed Yeovil Town, 2-0. The victory over Yeovil ended a 7 game winless streak and has left Macclesfield only 3 points away from safety with the Cheshire-based side also having a game in hand on Yeovil.

Macclesfield Town’s  final 9 games

Stevenage (H) 23/03/2019

Lincoln City (A) 30/03/2019

Morecambe (H) 06/04/2019

Forest Green Rovers (A) 13/04/2019

Northampton Town (A) 19/04/2019

Newport County (H) 22/04/2019

Port Vale (A) 27/04/2019

Cambridge United (H) 04/05/2019

*Exeter (H) Date to be confirmed

Macclesfield arguably have one of the toughest final 9 games out of all the teams facing relegation with the Silkmen facing 3 of the top 7 teams. Furthermore, Macclesfield have to face both Stevenage and Northampton who will be hoping they can sneak into the playoffs. Macclesfield finally have two huge games at the end of the season facing 20th and 21st placed Port Vale and Cambridge who will be hoping to seal their futures as Football League clubs before the final two games. However, if the Silkmen can get results against the teams around them they can pull away from the drop zone.

22.Yeovil Town

In 2014, Yeovil Town were battling relegation from the Championship. Fast forward 5 years and Yeovil currently find themselves ominously facing relegation to the National League for the first time since they were promoted to the Football League in 2003. Yeovil, who had started the season in encouraging form, soon fell away and have subsequently been dragged into a relegation battle.

Yeovil Town’s recent form – WWLLL

Yeovil’s recent form makes for vexatious reading for Glovers fans, with the Somerset-based side sitting bottom of the League 2 form table. Yeovil have only picked up 9 points in there last 12 games and to add to their problems, have failed to win in their last 4 away games with the Glovers only scoring one goal in those 4 away trips.

Yeovil Town’s final 8 games

MK Dons (A) 23/03/2019

Newport County (H) 30/03/2019

Swindon Town (A) 06/04/2019

Crawley Town (H) 13/04/2019

Crewe Alexandra (A) 19/04/2019

Colchester United (H) 22/04/2019

Northampton Town (A) 27/04/2019

Carlisle United (H) 04/05/2019

Yeovil arguably have one of the toughest finishes in the League with the Somerset-based side face 3 playoff-chasing teams in their final 3 games. With Macclesfield facing Port Vale and Cambridge, it could be crucial that Yeovil stop the rot and pick up points earlier and secure their survival.

21.Cambridge United

Cambridge United currently sit 8 points clear of the drop, however could still get sucked into a relegation battle if the U’s fail to pick up points in their final 9 remaining games. United will be hoping to seal their fate as a Football League club and play a sixth straight season in League Two.

Cambridge United’s recent form – LLWDD

Cambridge have managed to pull away from the bottom two with a burst of positive results. The U’s have managed to pick up 18 points in their last 12 games, allowing them to pull away from the drop. Cambridge have also improved their home form, picking up 15 points in their last 8 league games at the Abbey Stadium.

Cambridge United’s final 9 league games

Carlisle United (A) 23/03/2019

Colchester United (H)  30/03/2019

Mansfield Town (A) 06/04/2019

Newport County (H) 13/04/2019

Swindon Town (H) 19/04/2019

Forest Green Rovers (A) 22/04/2019

Morecambe (H) 27/04/2019

Macclesfield (A) 04/05/2019

*Bury (A) date to be confirmed

With the U’s facing 3 promotion chasing teams in their next three games, Cambridge could get dragged into a relegation battle if Notts County, Macclesfield and Yeovil all pick up points. Furthermore, Cambridge have to face both Morecambe and Macclesfield on the final two games of the seasons both of which might be must-wins if the U’s are dragged into a relegation battle.

20.Port Vale

Sat 8 points clear of the drop are Staffordshire-based side, Port Vale. Vale have been dragged into the relegation battle following poor on-field performances and off-field issues that have plagued the club this season, similar to the situation at Notts County. If Vale were to be relegated, it would be the first time the side has played outside England’s top four divisions for 100 years with The Valiants last playing Non-League football in 1919.

Port Vale’s recent form – LDWWD

Port Vale have enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance of form over the past few weeks with the Valiants picking up 8 points in their last 6 games which has allowed Port Vale to create a sizable gap between them and the bottom two. However, Vale’s home form has been horrific with the Staffordshire based side only winning 2 of their last 8 home games.

Port Vale’s final 8 games

Forest Green Rovers (H) 23/03/2019

Northampton Town (A) 30/03/2019

Crewe Alexandra (H) 06/04/2019

Exeter City (A) 13/04/2019

Stevenage (H) 19/04/2019

MK Dons (A) 22/04/2019

Macclesfield Town (H) 27/04/2019

Bury (A) 04/05/2019

Vale have a gruelling final 8 games to play, with 7 out of the 8 still having something to play for. However, if Vale can put together a successful run in, the Valiants should secure their Football League status.

19. Morecambe

Morecambe appear to have retained their Football League status for 12 seasons in a row and have the astute guidance of Jim Bentley to thank for that. However, the Red and White army still could get sucked into a relegation dogfight if the Shrimps fail to pick up points in their final 8 games.  

Morecambe’s recent form – LLWDD

Morecambe’s resurgence of form has seen the Seasiders pull away from the bottom two with the Shrimps now having a 9 point gap between them and 23rd placed Macclesfield Town. Morecambe have picked three wins in their last six league games ranking them as one of the inform sides in League Two. Morecambe in recent weeks has picked up impressive results against MK Dons and playoff-chasing Forest Green.

Morecambe’s final 8 games

Swindon Town (A) 23/03/2019

Crawley Town (H) 30/03/2019

Macclesfield Town (A) 06/04/2019

Grimsby Town (H) 13/04/2019

Mansfield Town (A) 19/04/2019

Cheltenham Town (H) 22/04/2019

Cambridge United (A) 27/04/2019

Newport County (H) 04/05/2019

The Shrimps on paper appear to have one of the easier run-ins with the Red and White army only facing two teams in the top half of the table. The rest of Morecambe fixtures are against mid-table sides and fellow relegation candidates. Arguably looking at Morecambe’s final run in it is safe to predict that the Shrimps will be playing League Two football for a 13th straight season.

Who do you think will be relegated from League Two?