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17:24 14th November 2009

Bury 3-3 Notts County

By Dane Vincent

Notts County staged a valiant fight back to earn a draw in a thrilling six goal encounter at Gigg Lane.

Debutant Danny Nardiello put Bury in front before Andy Morrell doubled the lead shortly after.

A Lee Hughes brace levelled the tie but Shakers captain Stephen Dawson spectacularly netted the home side's third.

Matt Ritchie rescued a point for Notts with an opportunistic finish in the 77th minute.

Illness forced a host of changes in the Magpies side. Both Ben Davies and Dan Jones were suffering with illness meaning that Jamie Clapham and Stephen Hunt deputised.

This also meant an adjustment in formation for Hans Backe's team. A flexible five man midfield gave Luke Rodgers and Ritchie the license to join attacks from the wings, with Neal Bishop, Ricky Ravenhill and Jamie Clapham occupying the midfield berths.

Rodgers created the first chance of an action packed first half when he created some space on the right flank. His teasing low cross into the six-yard box was unable to find the crowded out Lee Hughes.

Although Notts failed to make the most of their opening opportunity, Bury did. A hooked pass from midfield saw debutant Nardiello creep in behind the Magpies' back-line, where he drifted wide of Schmeichel to slot the ball into the net.

The play-off hopefuls had started brightly and were enjoying some early possession, knitting together some promising offences. Morrell ended one of these moves with a strike from the edge of the box, only the ball flew narrowly wide.

On the break Notts were looking dangerous and some good work down the right by Rodgers resulted in Hughes setting Bishop free inside the box. His effort was blocked by Brown's legs.

Nardiello was again the key man for the home side when he skipped past Moloney down the left. He cut back from the touchline into the path of his strike partner, Morrell, who wasted no time in smashing the ball past Schmeichel from close-range.

If any player in the black and white stripes looked likely to make something happen it was Rodgers. Using the boggy pitch to his advantage once more he whipped in another threatening centre, where this time Hughes was able to connect, diverting past the scurrying Shakers' stopper for his first away goal of the campaign.

The goal lifted the rain-soaked travelling fans as well as the players, who were beginning to look more composed.

Hunt, mid-way into the opposing half, cut inside productively to produce an in-swinging cross with his right boot. Hughes connected with a low first-time volley but Brown got his body in the way.

From a similar tight angle, this time from a deep Matt Ritchie delivery, Hughes netted the equaliser with his head. Brown could only watch as the ball connected with the foot of the post and crept over the line.

Notts were lucky to go in at the break on level terms as the home team looked to regain their lead. Nardiello had the Shakers supporters on their feet when he jinked past Graeme Lee and slid the ball past the outrushing Schmeichel.

Somehow his effort failed to cross the line. To the rapturous reception of the County fans behind the goal it had stopped deadon the line.

Bury continued to mount their assault after the break and had two fine long-range efforts inside the first five minutes. Schmeichel was able to parry the first but Dawson's drive moments later flew powerfully into the top-left corner, giving the outstretched goalkeeper no chance.

Notts were again wounded but looked increasingly likely to drag themselves back onto even terms. Clapham found room on the edge of the area to fizz a low effort into the corner but Brown scrambled it away.

In the same move Rodgers evaded Hughes with a low cross prior to Ritchie striking over from eight yards.

Shifting to 4-4-2, Backe introduced Craig Westcarr with the hope of injecting some life into the game, which was experiencing its quietest spell. This proved to be a masterstroke as his pass out wide allowed Hughes to whip in a cross for the second equaliser of the game.

David Buchanan failed to clear the ball and Ritchie used quick feet to nip in and hammer into the far corner. Buoyed by the goal Notts began to dominate.

Hughes could have grabbed his third when he was played in by Moloney following a mazy run. Brown narrowed the angle well to push the ball wide.

Danny Racchi's deflected shot from distance gave County a late scare but it narrowly looped past the upright. Clapham retorted with a shot that skimmed wide of the right post.

The draw ensured that the Magpies unbeaten run in the league continued and, despite dropping two points, they closed the gap on the automatic promotion places.

Attendance: 3,602 (632 Notts County supporters)

Man of the Match: Lee Hughes

Notts County: Kasper Schmeichel, Brendan Moloney (Thompson 90), Matt Ritchie, Mike Edwards, Graeme Lee, Ricky Ravenhill (Westcarr 68), Lee Hughes, Neal Bishop, Jamie Clapham, Stephen Hunt, Luke Rodgers (Akinbiyi 86).

Substitutes: Russell Hoult, John Thompson, Matt Hamshaw, Karl Hawley, Craig Westcarr, Delroy Facey, Ade Akinbiyi.

Scorer(s): Hughes (26, 38), Ritchie (77)

Yellow Card(s): Edwards (32)

Bury: Wayne Brown, David Buchanan, Ryan Cresswell, Stephen Dawson, Brian Barry-Murphy, Danny Racchi, Michael Jones, Efe Sodje, Andy Morrell, Tom Newey, Danny Nardiello.

Substitutes: Paul Scott, Ben Futcher, Richie Baker, Cameron Belford, Max Harrop, Adam Dawson, Luke McCarthy.

Scorer(s): Nardiello (9), Morrell (19), Dawson (50)

Yellow Card(s): None

    Data provided by Press Association


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