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REPORT: NOTTS COUNTY

12 December 2015

A late Liam Noble goal ends the Exiles unbeaten run...

With defender Scot Bennett unable to take part against his parent club, it was a well timed return from injury for Janoi Donacien, who slotted straight back into the starting XI. Hat-trick hero Oliver McBurnie was also recalled, after missing the trip to Barnet last Saturday.

The Exiles started the game full of energy and took the lead in the opening five minutes, with captain Mark Byrne delivering a delightful free-kick that squeezed between Roy Carroll and the inside of the post.

County didn't have to wait long for their second goal. After a great series of short and sharp passes through the midfield, Tommy O'Sullivan slipped a sublime through-ball towards the advancing Alex Rodman, who powerfully finished from inside the area, putting the Exiles 2-0 up within the opening ten minutes.  

Two goals to the good and County were cruising. Medy Elito had a further opportunity to extend the lead further, latching onto a flick-on from Oliver McBurnie and putting his effort narrowly past the post, with just the 'keeper to beat.

On the thirty-minute mark the game was turned on its head, when the hosts took advantage of some unfortunate County defending to pull a goal back. After a slightly short back-header from Andrew Hughes, 'keeper Joe Day had to advance off his line to gather the loose ball and after initially securing the ball, the greasy ball slipped out of his hands and Liam Noble was on hand to set himself and eventually place the ball into the empty net.

The goal revitalised the home fans and the Exiles were subject to an extended period of pressure from the hosts. Both Adam Campbell and Liam Noble saw efforts bounce back off the post and Joe Day was forced to palm an effort from Graham Burke away from danger.

The equalising goal finally came when Izale McLeod latched onto a deep cross into the County area and poked the ball home from close-range. 

HALF TIME: NOTTS COUNTY 2 - 2 NEWPORT COUNTY 

Into the second half and the hosts looked to continue where they left off before the break. Striker Jon Stead had an early effort that flashed narrowly wide of the right-hand post of Joe Day.

Just past the hour mark and the County players were left frustrated at the officials when Oliver McBurnie took an innocent fall inside the hosts area, only for referee Darren Handley to book the striker for simulation. 

With twenty minutes to go Manager John Sheridan introduced Aaron Collins and Scott Boden to add some attacking presence, but it was the hosts who took the lead. Izale McLeod evaded the County defence and had the space to guide a deep cross into the net with a glancing header.

Into the final ten minutes and a resilient County got the all important equaliser, when Scott Boden reacted the quickest to a loose ball inside the area to thunder a volley past Roy Carroll, and it looked like the Exiles unbeaten run was going to stretch to eleven games.

There was still time for some late drama, as Adam Campbell was played through on goal and forced Joe Day into making a fine save with his feet to deny the Magpies a late equaliser.

The fourth official indicated for six minutes stoppage time, that buoyed both sets of fans into thinking that there may be another goal still in the game. 

With just seconds left on the clock, Liam Noble received the ball inside the County area and composed himself to finish past Joe Day, giving the home side all three points. 

FINAL SCORE: NOTTS COUNTY 4 - 3 NEWPORT COUNTY 


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