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  • Writer's pictureTUST

Fan Zone 18/05/2023




What fair minded football fan can begrudge Notts County being promoted back into the Football League after an absence of four years but it was an afternoon of high drama at Wembley. They did, after all, finish second in the regular season with a points total of 107 which, in any other year, would have guaranteed automatic promotion, but for Wrexham.

Saturday’s National League Play-Off Final was a tale of three goalkeepers, late equalisers, extra time and a penalty shoot-out to keep both sets of fans on a sunny afternoon biting their nails in suspense in a crowd of 38,138.

Chesterfield took an early lead with a penalty following a rash challenge by County keeper Sam Slocombe and it took a calamitous error from Chesterfield keeper Ross Fitzsimons to gift County a late equaliser to take the match into extra time.

Within minutes of the re-start Armando Dobra scored a peach of a goal to restore the Spireites lead which they held until another Fitzsimons error leading to County’s second equaliser in the second period of extra time.

With time ticking away and penalties looming enter the third keeper as Notts manager Luke Williams swapped Slocombe for Archie Marr, on loan from Norwich City, as he was better at saving penalties - and he didn’t disappoint.

Mair dived full length to his right to keep out Chesterfield’s Darren Oldaker and then made the save of the day with his trailing left leg stopping Jeff King’s effort.

After that County only needed to score, which they did, and cue celebrations.


Of course, Notts County’s skipper was Kyle Cameron who, along with every Gulls’ supporter, suffered heartache in another penalty shoot-out in a National League

Play-Off Final.

And after Saturday’s victory Cameron had this to say,” This has righted a few wrongs from when I lost with Torquay. I realise now how much that hurt me with the two disallowed goals and I always think about that day even though there is nothing I can do about it.”

United fans may still be sore at the memory of that day but good luck to Cameron on his journey in the EFL.


Meanwhile, following the National League North and South Play-off Finals United now know the make-up of National South for 2023-24 and after Bishop’s Stortford, promoted from the Isthmian League have been put, subject to any appeal, in National North. Stortford have since appealed.

In the South Oxford City claimed a place in the National League following a 4-0 win over St Albans in the final with 3,100 watching.

So, Torquay’s fixture list will be as follows: Aveley, Bath City, Braintree Town, Chelmsford City, Chippenham Town, Dartford, Dover Athletic, Eastbourne Borough, Farnborough, Hampton, Havant & Waterlooville, Hemel Hempstead, Maidstone Utd, Slough Town, St Albans City, Tonbridge Angels, Truro City, Welling Utd, Weston-super-Mare, Weymouth, Worthing and Yeovil Town.


Southend United’s appearance in the High Court on Wednesday resulted in another stay of execution as the case was adjourned until July 12. However, the National League AGM is held soon and maybe the board will have a view on Southend’s future.


The #HerGameToo organisation began two years ago this week to promote female participation in women’s sport, particularly football, so it was apt that the club launched #HerGullsToo on Sunday coinciding with a World Record crowd for the Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley watched by 77,390.


With encouraging news last week of five signings - Tom Lapslie, Mark Halstead, Kevin Dawson, Ollie Tomlinson, Jack Stobbs and more recently Brad Ash from Weymouth, don’t forget that the Early Discount season tickets are on sale at reduced prices.





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