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14:03 5th December 2009

Hereford United 0-2 Notts County

Notts County recorded a third win on the bounce and moved up to fourth in the table following a grafting performance against Hereford United. A penalty save by Kasper Schmeichel kept the goalless prior to Craig Westcarr putting his side ahead in the 31st minute. Mike Edwards extended the deficit shortly after the interval, directing a Ben Davies' free-kick into the corner. Only one team had come away from Edgar Street with a win prior to today's game, meaning that it was always going to be a tricky fixture. On the back of two straight victories and an away win at high-flying Bournemouth last week, Hans Backe's team arrived with nothing to fear. They certainly demonstrated this in the opening stages as some inventive build-up play made them look the more dangerous of the two teams. Luke Rodgers appeared particularly lively, timing his runs into the channels perfectly, much to the home supporters' protests. In one of these positions, he helped to carve out Notts' first chance of the game when he clipped the ball to Clapham inside the box. The overlapping left-back's dinked centre fell to Westcarr who nearly squeezed the ball into the bottom corner, only Adam Bartlett scrambled across his goal-line to shove away. Early possession counted for nothing when the Bulls were awarded a spot-kick. Graeme lee let a long ball through for Schmeichel to collect, but Marc Pugh anticipated. Although the County stopper appeared to flick the ball away, he tumbled on top of the midfielder and the referee's whistle sounded. Schmeichel made up for the infringement with his second penalty save of the campaign, stretching fully to his right to keep the scores tied. Ten minutes later the importance of the stop was highlighted when Westcarr netted his sixth goal of the season. Lee floated a direct ball deep into the Hereford half towards the well advanced wide-man, who nudged the ball into the feet of Hughes before taking it off his toe to prod through Bartlett's legs from a yard out. Route one, while used sparingly, caused the home rearguard a number of problems. Closing down eagerly, Hughes and Rodgers were forcing a number of mistakes in their attempts to capitalise on the hopeful through-passes. Nonetheless, it was the whites that were celebrating next. A dangerous delivery from the right caused Mike Edwards, under pressure from two attackers, to nod the ball into his own net. However, the goal was ruled out for offside. County rounded off the half with a neat passing move that ended in Westcarr back-heeling to Rodgers. The lively forward's bouncing effort towards the far corner narrowly evaded Bartlett's post. It appeared to be a tentative start to the second period until Edwards doubled the Magpies' lead. Davies' in-swinging free-kick was shinned into the corner by the centre-back, whose run met the delivery flawlessly. The all-blue Notts sustained their offensive threat and presented a resolute defensive guard contemporaneously. Midfield pairing Neal Bishop and Ricky Ravenhill were energetic as ever, thwarting their ever shifting counterparts. An injury to Ravenhill allowed space for a rare moment of space for United to set Pugh through on goal for the second time in the afternoon. His endeavours to round Schmeichel looked set to pay off until the glove-man extended his arm to clutch the ball away from his feet. The number 23 was proving to be quite the hero and the travelling fans made their appreciation known by continuously chanting his name throughout. However, Bartlett was the next to be heralded as Rodgers' tenacity earned a free-kick on the corner of the Hereford area. Rather than Davies, Clapham arrowed into the top-corner but the Bulls' captain sprung acrobatically across his goalmouth to shut out the shot. Leon Constantine, newly introduced as a substitute, nearly gave Notts a late scare. With the ball bobbling around in the area, he turned and struck narrowly wide of the bottom corner. County, on the other hand, could have easily added a third through one of their imaginative corners. Both Bishop and Davies missed the target by inches as the well rehearsed routines provided them with space to strike. Next up it's Accrington Stanley - an ideal opportunity for the Magpies to climb back into the automatic promotion spaces. It could be a very happy Christmas at Meadow Lane if this sort of form is kept up. Attendance: 2,727 (454 Notts County supporters) Man of the Match: Mike Edwards Notts County: Kasper Schmeichel, Brendan Moloney, Graeme Lee, Mike Edwards, Jamie Clapham, Craig Westcarr (Hamshaw 84), Ricky Ravenhill, Neal Bishop, Ben Davies, Lee Hughes, Luke Rodgers (Hawley 65). Substitutes: Russell Hoult, Matt Ritchie, Matt Hamshaw, Karl Hawley, Dan Jones, Ade Akinbiyi, Sean Canham. Scorer(s): Westcarr (31), Edwards (51) Yellow Card(s): Schmeichel (20) Hereford United: Adam Bartlett, Ryan Green (Rose 46), Ryan Valentine, Keith Lowe (Done 68), Marc Pugh, Jordon Mutch, Darren Jones, Mathieu Manset, Craig King Constantine 69), Danny Blanchett, Nathaniel Wedderburn. Substitutes: Richard Rose, Kenny Lunt, Leon Constantine, Sam Gwynne, Matty Done, Gavin McCallum, Chris Adam Scorer(s): None 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.