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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:58 12th December 2009

Notts County 1-2 Accrington Stanley

Notts County lost at home for the first time this season against an organised and passionate Accrington Stanley. A stalemate in the first half produced little goalmouth action as both sides produced organised displays. After the interval the visitors opened the scoring when in-form Michael Symes broke free of the Notts rearguard. The lead was doubled by James Ryan, capitalising on a rebound. Lee Hughes pulled one back for his team and Kasper Schmeichel maintained the defecit with his second penalty save in a week. But Notts couldn't find that final goal to level the game, meaning that the excited travelling fans would go home the happier. Three wins on the bounce for the Magpies and back-to-back wins for Stanley, something had to give in this game. With no previous triumphs at Meadow Lane, the visitors were certainly eager to make history this time around. Prior to kick-off Peter Trembling was introduced to the fans, following his takeover of the club, to a rapturous reception. Continuing their great voice from the first whistle, the Kop continued to bellow, encouraging the home side to open brightly. On six minutes Brendan Moloney created Notts' first opportunity, wriggling free of his marker towards the corner flag. He cut back into the path of Neal Bishop, whose skidding effort narrowly evaded Hughes at the back post. Accrington were by no means sitting back like many visitors of Meadow Lane this season, hassling from the front to create a few openings themselves. On-loan striker Billy Kee showed tenacity to wrestle the ball from Mike Edwards, but Schmeichel reached down low to comfortably shut out his strike. County, albeit limited to few chances, still looked the most threatening in a clash between two organised outfits. Breaking away down the right wing, Hughes stretched to float in a troublesome centre that required a heroic clearance from Darren Kempson with the unmarked Luke Rodgers lurking. Although Stanley were proving tough to penetrate, Craig Westcarr started to become increasingly influential. Skipping into space on the flank, he drifted in a cross for Hughes to glance just wide of the left upright. Hughes was then played through on goal seconds later by an incisive Neal Bishop through pass. Dean Bouzanis rushed out of his goal to block with his legs, keeping the ruthless striker on 14 goals - for now at least. The second half appeared as though there was going to be more frustration for the Magpies until Moloney forced the best stop of the afternoon. Driving forward and cutting into the box he struck firmly, forcing Bouzanis to fist away to his right. Another opportunity followed from Ben Davies' free-kick out wide. Swung onto the head of the leaping Hughes, the attempt failed to test the Reds' stopper. As the match reverted back to a frustrating slog, Hans Backe introduced Matt Ritchie and Karl Hawley. But instead of Notts grabbing the opener, it was the mid-table Accrington. Kee made room to thread Symes in behind the backline. Rounding the onrushing Schmeichel, the former Shrewsbury hot-shot slid the ball into an open net and rushed away to celebrate joyously with his teammates in front of the silenced County faithful. Hughes had a chance to level when Ritchie whipped in a cross from deep. Rising highest once more, he appeared to connect with his shoulder to direct wide of the target. It didn't appear to be the top-scorer's day as he failed to convert again shortly after. A chipped pass from Davies set him free in the box, where he nodded into his own stride and slammed high and wide from a tight angle. Ryan, a goal-scorer in last season's 1-1 draw, didn't fail to tuck away his chance. Kee had broken free of the offside trap to force Schmeichel into a spreading save, but the rebound was smashed into the roof of the net by the ex-Liverpool trainee. Backe's team grabbed one back when Ritchie forced a handball in the area. Hughes coolly stepped up stroke the ball down the middle, dragging his side back into the game. It proved to be a fiery finish when Graeme Lee was adjudged to have tripped Andrew Procter in the other box. Claims for a dive were waved away and Mr Haywood pointed to the spot, leading to heated interactions between the two sets of players. Many would argue that justice was served when Schmeichel made his third save from the spot this term. The Kop were back on song, as were the Magpies, showing more fire in their bellies than at any other time in the match. Seven minutes of added time brought hope and Mike Edwards nearly levelled from a corner. However, his header was sent straight down the throat of the goalkeeper. Hughes nodded agonisingly wide before the best chance of an equaliser. Livewire Ritchie looped a cross into Karl Hawley who controlled, turned and shot but couldn't creep the ball past Bouzanis. County's run of wins was halted and ground was lost on the leading pack. They will now have to take something from second placed Bournemouth next Monday to keep up with the league's front-runners. Attendance: 5,855 (140 Accrington Stanley supporters) Man of the Match (sponsored by PS Marsden, Swan Homes & Inside Land): Brendan Moloney Notts County: Kasper Schmeichel, Brendan Moloney, Mike Edwards, Graeme Lee, Ricky Ravenhill (Hamshaw 71), Lee Hughes, Neal Bishop, Ben Davies, Jamie Clapham, Luke Rodgers (Hawley 58), Craig Westcarr (Ritchie 58). Substitutes: Russell Hoult, Matt Ritchie, John Thompson, Matt Hamshaw, Karl Hawley, Daniel Jones, Ade Akinbiyi. Scorer(s): Hughes (82) Yellow Card(s): Moloney (86) Accrington Stanley: Dean Bouzanis, Darren Kempson, Andrew Procter, Luke Joyce, Billy Kee (McConville 77), Bobby Grant, Phil Edwards, James Ryan, Dean Winnard, Michael Symes, Tom Lees. Substitutes: John Miles, Sean McConville, John Mullin, Peter Murphy, Gary King, Ian Dunbavin, Jonathan Flynn. Scorer(s): Symes (60), Ryan (74) Yellow Card(s): None
    Data provided by Press Association

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