01:00PM, Friday 23 October 2020
Photo: Dan Westwell
Sam Barratt felt there was a buzz about the place as the Magpies returned to the training ground at Bisham Abbey on Monday morning after their impressive 3-2 victory over Notts County on Saturday.
The Magpies forward netted twice in the game at Meadow Lane, the first a searing shot into the roof of the net after a wonderful ball in from Dan Sparkes and the second a firm header from a Josh Coley corner.
Those goals twice brought United back on to level terms with their hosts before Sparkes flicked the ball on for Danilo Orsi-Dadomo to coolly score the winner with around 15 minutes to go.
The victory, away to one of the teams most fancied for promotion this season, came off the back of the side’s accomplished and resilient 1-0 win at Wrexham five days earlier, and Barratt believes both performances, and the manner in which they were achieved, will see the side kick on in the coming months.
They have also seen the team climb off the foot of the table and up to 12th.
“It looked like a real tough week on paper,” he said. “We’ve gone there as underdogs, but we knew what we had to do. Work hard, keep our shape and try to get them on the counterattack which we managed to do a few times. We played our set pieces well and, overall, we got what we deserved in both games.
“The first of my goals fell nicely to me. I just had to keep my head over the ball and make sure I hit the back of the net. And the second one, I tried to create a little bit of space for myself, because on previous set pieces I’d nearly got on the end of them so knew what I had to do. Four goals so far (this season), I’m happy with that and I just want to keep firing. It helps scoring from midfield and outwide.
“Danilo is also off the mark now. I think he’ll be a good goal threat for us this year. He knows himself he could have scored against Hartlepool, but he’s done what good strikers do. He’s kept going, kept making the right runs and he’s finished it brilliantly having had a lot of time to think about what he was going to do. With Sparksy (Sparkes) putting in some great crosses as he always does, the front three or front four, it’s starting to come together and click.”
The squad came in for plenty of criticism after losing their first three games of the season, conceding 11 goals in the process, but Barratt felt much of it was unwarranted, adding that it was always going to take time for so many new players to gel and get used to playing alongside each other.
He believes they can now kick on and says this week’s victories, each of them very different, should give all the players a massive lift.
“I think a lot of people have forgotten that half of the squad is new,” he said. “We’ve got seven new players and we haven’t had a normal, typical pre-season either.
“We also haven’t been able to socialise outside of football and that’s often where you bond as a team. It was always going to take a few games, but I still believe we could have done a bit better in those first three games. But that’s in the past now. We’re starting to gel; we’re starting to learn each other’s games and it’s coming together.
“I think the defence should get a big confidence boost from the game at Wrexham. To go there and be watertight, against a good, attacking side was impressive. And then to score the goals we did against Notts County, that’s a boost for the attackers in the team as well. I think winning against those big teams improves the confidence, especially away from home.
“We’ll take that into training and there’s already a bit of a buzz. I think that’s the start of our season and hopefully we can kick on from here.”
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