OK, let’s get it out of the way, losing at home is NOT the ideal way to start a new season; especially losing by 3-0 margin, rather than by the odd goal in a closely-fought contest.
At least a narrow defeat usually offers some crumbs of comfort in some good performances, and, if all else fails, you can grumble that the other team ‘were lucky’ and feel a whole lot better by convincing yourself that you mean it.
However, in the cold light of yesterday morning, there seemed to be no such straws to clutch at. No doubt many County fans will have woken up thinking ‘I’m in a bad mood, but I don’t know why’, closely followed on its heels by a moment of clarity: ‘Oh yes, I do, we lost yesterday’.
So, is the doom and gloom justified? On first glance, possibly.
The word ‘comfortable’ is probably a polite word to use to describe the manner of Huddersfield’s win over County on Saturday.
The Magpies were slow out of the blocks and, although the Terriers undoubtably put in a good performance, they were helped not a little by their frequent exposing of the lack of pace of the Notts defence.
By County manager Craig Short’s own admission, his side were nervous and gave away sloppy goals.
However, let’s not get too miserable so early into the new campaign. Little things like nervousness can be overcome, and no doubt will be, as the team settles into the routine of the season.
More important is to not lose sight of the fact that Huddersfield Town represented a stern test for the Magpies. Collectively, they have a lot of Championship experience, they pushed for promotion last season and are one of the favourites again this time round.
From County’s point of view, it is a good thing to get such a difficult game over with so early.
OK, there will be other tough games throughout the season, but this provides Notts with a valuable early yardstick against which to measure themselves if they want to succeed in this division.
They have had an early wake-up call, but they can use it to their advantage by identifying and working on areas for improvement, and this can only be a good thing.
They are now under no illusions as to what they must do in order to succeed in League One, and the most important thing at this stage of the season is to learn from chastening experiences like this.
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