By Michael Callander
Notts County missed an opportunity to get their season back on track in a 1-1 home draw with Sutton United on Saturday, extending their win-less league run to five games.
Wes Thomas’ 14th-minute tap-in was cancelled out by Harry Beautyman late in the second half, compounding the misery for a Notts’ side that exited the Emirates FA Cup to Northampton Town last Sunday.
The chances began to come around the six minute mark. Shields’ driving run released Wes Thomas whose shot was blocked. Sutton broke with pace but the eventual shot hit Slocombe’s side netting at his near post.
County almost had the breakthrough when Mitch Rose struck from the edge of the area on 12 minutes but he pulled his effort wide.
Their pressure told just two minutes later as Enzio Boldewijn’s jinking run gave him space to square across the box for Wes Thomas who slid in to give the hosts the lead. Notts County 1 – 0 Sutton United.
Sutton won a corner on 21 which was cleared by Richard Brindley but Notts couldn’t fully avert the danger. The visitors played it around the edge of the box nicely before Craig Eastmond’s header trickled just wide.
The hosts might have made it two as Boldewijn found Kyle Wootton unmarked in the box but his header was tame and straight at Tsanev in the Sutton goal. It appeared the striker might have been expecting an offside flag.
Brindley clattered into Louis John on 27 minutes but thankfully both were able to continue after what looked a nasty collision.
Notts created a couple of half-chances before the break but nothing worthy of troubling the visitors’ goal.
Neal Ardley dedicated his programme notes to the impressive statistics his side have chalked up, noting that, on average, they have completed 100 more passes than the other National League sides this season. They certainly looked more comfortable in possession in the first half and looked to expand on their 55.2 per cent average possession so far this season.
HALF-TIME: Notts County 1 – 0 Sutton United
Notts won a free-kick in the 56th minute as Kyle Wootton was hauled down by Eastmond; the Sutton captain was booked for his trouble. Damien McCrory stepped up but fired his effort over the bar.
The visitors still posed a threat through David Ajiboye who looked their main outlet throughout. He drove into space down the right on 61 minutes but didn’t connect with his shot well enough and fired wide.
The nerves were tangible inside Meadow Lane from around 65 minutes onwards. Sutton capitalised and equalised on 76 minutes as Notts couldn’t clear their lines for fear of conceding a penalty and Harry Beautyman poked home from a narrow angle.
Ben Goodliffe was replaced by Robert Milsom, formerly of this parish, on 85 minutes for Sutton United against his former employers.
Sutton created more chances late on, including a corner needlessly conceded by Enzio Boldewijn’s sliced clearance, but couldn’t find the winner.
Notts might have stolen the three points with the last kick but Regan Booty’s free-kick went into the Kop.
Notts County visit Chesterfield in the FA Trophy on Saturday December 13. Kick-off at the Proact Stadium is at 1pm.
Notts County: Slocombe, McCrory, Rose, Turner, Thomas (Dennis 79′), Doyle (c), Boldewijn, Rawlinson, Wootton, Brindley, Shields (Booty 73′).
Unused subs: Kelly-Evans, Bakayogo, Osborne.
Goals: Thomas 14′.