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16:54 24th October 2009

Notts County 2-0 Crewe Alexandra

The Magpies returned to winning ways, following three consecutive draws, in a hard-fought 2-0 win over strugglers Crewe Alexandra. Luke Rodgers opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a finely placed effort into the top corner after collecting an incisive Johnnie Jackson through-ball. Craig Westcarr doubled the lead in the second period. He spun past three defenders, continued his run and slammed into the bottom-right corner from outside the box. Kasper Schmeichel maintained the lead with a fine stop from the penalty spot with only 13 minutes to spare. He leapt to his right to parry away a powerful Steve Schumacher drive. Matt Ritchie nearly extended the lead further in the dying moments but his turn and shot was hacked off the line. More to follow... By Ralph Shepherd Notts County increased their unbeaten run in the league to six games as Luke Rodgers and Craig Westcarr scored, and Kasper Schmeichel made a fantastic penalty save. It leaves Notts just one point away from the automatic promotion places and in a healthy fourth position. The Magpies went for a more attacking midfield with Johnnie Jackson and Ben Davies pulling the strings in the middle of the park, and using the pace and trickery of both Westcarr and Matt Ritchie on the wings. The tactical move was going to plan in the early exchanges as the Magpies confidently sprayed the ball around the greasy Meadow Lane surface. However the first opportunity went to Crewe's striker Clayton Donaldson. The lanky front man drilled a left-footed shot inches wide with Kasper Schmeichel sprawling inside two minutes. The game went flat as the away side took control. Despite their possession the Notts goal was rarely threatened. County went inches away from claiming the first goal. Davies and Jackson's short corner was well worked to Westcarr who jinked inside and delivered a low cross. Lee Hughes was unfortunate not to get a finishing touch. The ball wasn't cleared and it fell kindly to Wesctarr. The winger fired in a shot but his strike cannoned back off the bar. Notts were so unlucky not to take the lead. They did take the lead on 28 minutes when Jackson slid the ball expertly through to an unmarked Rodgers who curled with force past the advancing Dave Button. It was a brilliant finish from the former Crewe man. It took his tally to five goals for the season and was his first at Meadow Lane. Two minutes before half time Crewe could have got an equaliser against the run of play. Jamaican winger Joel Grant spun past Mike Edwards neatly and raced towards the goal. His powerful effort was met by the strong hand of Schmeichel and his second shot was blocked by Graeme Lee. Crewe were again denied in the final seconds when Mike Edwards blocked John Brayford's effort. It was good defending which meant the Magpies led at the break. The visitors started the second-half as they finished. Grant's fierce effort was tipped over by Schmeichel. Rodgers had the ball in the net again when a diagonal cross was brilliantly volleyed by Lee Hughes. His effort looked like it was going to settle into the bottom corner and his strike partner Rodgers tapped it in just in case. However, the little forward was offside for the second Saturday running. Notts should have doubled their lead on 65 minutes when Matt Ritchie's header flew wide of the post. Rodger's deflected looping cross was palmed away by Button to the loanee, but he couldn't find the net with the 'keeper stranded. A minute later the Magpies went 2-0 ahead. Westcarr won the ball 30-yards out and turned past three defenders. The former Kettering man unleashed a brilliant low drive into the bottom corner. It was destined for the net as soon as it left his right boot. It was his fourth goal of the season and his third goal in his last three starts. With 15 minutes remaining Crewe were given a penalty when captain John Thompson was adjudged to have pushed a Crewe forward. It was a harsh decision. However, Crewe's midfielder Steven Schumacher's effort from the spot was brilliantly forced out by Schmeichel who dived towards his right. It brought the biggest cheer of the day. In the remaining moments Notts controlled the game and were unlucky not to further their lead through Ritchie. His curling effort was cleared off the line. Attendance: 6,545 (477 away fans) Hillside Medical Supplies Man of the Match: Kasper Schmeichel Notts County: Kasper Schmeichel, Matt Ritchie, Mike Edwards, Graeme Lee, John Thompson, Lee Hughes (Akinbiyi 71), Ben Davies, Luke Rodgers (Hawley 71), Craig Westcarr, Johnnie Jackson (Bishop 80), Daniel Jones. Substitutes: Russell Hoult (Gk), Matt Hamshaw, Ricky Ravenhill, Neal Bishop, Karl Hawley, Jamie Clapham, Ade Akinbiyi. Goals: Rodgers (28), Westcarr (66) Yellow Cards: Lee (20), Rodgers (32), Thompson (76), Akinbiyi (80) Crewe Alexandra: Dave Button, John Brayford, Steve Schumacher, Patrick Ada, Clayton Donaldson (Moore 71), Joel Grant (Verma 81), Matt Mitchel-King, James Bailey, Luke Murphy (Miller 74), Ashley Westwood, Danny Shelley. Substitutes: Adam Legzdins, Byron Moore, Shaun Miller, Matt Tootle, Aman Verma, Harry Davis, Simon Walton. Yellow Cards: None
    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.