Nolan thrilled with the performance as Notts County return to winning ways

League 2

Kevin Nolan admitted his Notts County players could not have given him a better response after they bounced back from defeat to begin 2018 on a winning note.

Nolan’s promotion-chasing outfit were off the pace at the weekend as they lost out to Swindon by a solitary goal but turned the tables in their New Year’s Day match against Port Vale.

It took until the 86th minute for the breakthrough to come, courtesy of Jon Stead’s penalty, although Nolan insisted the effort across the full 90 minutes had left him impressed.

“I was delighted with the performance, specifically the response to the Swindon game on Saturday, which I felt we did not deserve to lose,” he said.

“But we genuinely deserved the three points against Vale and it was a massive response after only a 48-hour turnover from the last game.

“It can help really kick us on in the New Year and what I am proudest of is the way we reacted to the disappointment of the weekend.

“We were not our usual selves then, but we were back at it and played some really good stuff against Vale.

“We could have been two-up at half-time and I thought the players were a credit to themselves.

“We also kept a clean sheet and everybody knows how much I like them. Richard Duffy came back in and was fantastic. He slotted back in and gave a real captain’s performance.”

Port Vale were not without endeavour either, with an unmarked David Worrall guilty of not doing more with his header straight at Ross Fitzsimons.

It brings an end to Vale’s five-game unbeaten run in the league, with manager Neil Aspin also aggrieved at the penalty decision, awarded after Marcus Harness was adjudged to have pushed Stead in the back.

“I’ve had a better view of the penalty because I watched it back on the laptop,” he said.

“It’s minimal contact and the player is already going down. For us it’s a really bad decision, because I don’t think we deserved it.

“I couldn’t fault the effort of the players. They have had a tough run of games and come out of it with a lot of credit.

“It’s just a real shame that the unbeaten run has been ended by a referee’s decision.

“We’ve played the top two in the last two games and I am disappointed we didn’t have longer to enjoy the win over Luton.

“The players have stood up to the test, having had a really energy-sapping game against Luton on a really heavy pitch.

“They lasted the game well against Notts. I am very pleased with their effort, but it’s disappointing to be talking about the penalty decision.”