THE upturn in fortunes that Notts County were hoping for after changing their manager has not materialised.

Neal Ardley, who led the Magpies to the National League play-off final last season where they were beaten by Harrogate Town, was sacked on March 25 despite County being in the top seven and well placed to challenge for automatic promotion.

The Meadow Lane hierarchy appointed Ian Burchnall as new head coach.

Burchnall arrives with eight years’ experience working in the Scandinavian top tiers and is regarded as one of football’s most exciting young coaches.

But the 38-year-old has endured a poor start to life in the Magpies hotseat.

County lost on penalties to seventh tier Hornchurch in the FA Trophy semi-finals last weekend after drawing 3-3 and their title hopes suffered another blow following Tuesday night’s 1-0 home defeat to Aldershot Town.

The Magpies conceded after only four minutes at Meadow Lane as they suffered a seventh league loss of the campaign, leaving Burchnall still looking for a first win since taking charge.

Defeat means County remain sixth in the table, one point behind today’s opponents Wrexham having played two games less than the Reds, and 15 points off leaders Sutton with two games in hand on the table-topping U’s.

Losing his first league game at the helm was not what Burchnall wanted and he wouldn’t have expected to go into the clash on the back of a surprise Trophy defeat to part-timers Hornchurch which denied County a second trip to Wembley in under a year.

The Magpies took the lead three times only to be pegged back on each occasion, and Jake Reeves missed the only spot-kick in the shootout as Hornchurch progressed to the showpiece where they will face Hereford.

On the defeat, Burchnall said: “I thought we were very good in the first half and I thought we had total control really.

“I am trying to work out how we got pegged back twice.

“The first goal against us is a bit of a freak goal comes. It comes from nothing.

“It’s not a great shot, but it ricochets off, and the second one we just got caught.

“I don’t know what the stats are but I imagine we had the ball, maybe 70 per cent plus.

“But the key when you do that is to ensure that you don’t get caught when you lose it because you get into a habit of watching the game. And I think we did that a little bit, we just fell into that trap. We were vulnerable on the counter-attack.

“It’s a couple of really sloppy goals to give away. In the second half, we started really kind of slowly, with too many passes to feet.

“But then I thought in the last 20 minutes, Eli came on and made a good impact. We started to stretch them a little bit and really we should put the game to bed.

“Sometimes when you give a lower league team a small chance in these cup games, it becomes chaos. We wanted it to be calmer and controlled rather than chaotic. But they turned it into chaos. It worked for them and they won the game.”

Burchnall has given Crewe’s promotion challenge a boost by signing midfielder Regan Griffiths on loan from Crewe until the end of the season.

Griffiths has made four appearances for Crewe’s first team this season and has also featured heavily in the under-23 side.

The 20-year-old academy graduate is set to make his debut against Wrexham today.

Griffiths will have his fair share of opportunities as County face a fixture backlog in the final two months.