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15:50 6th February 2010

Grimsby Town 0-1 Notts County

Lee Hughes fired Notts County up to fourth place in League Two with the only goal of the afternoon in a fierce contest at Blundell Park. The opening 45 minutes may have lacked goalmouth action but certainly didn't lack heart, as both teams fought for every ball. After the interval the game opened up and Hughes struck for the 22nd time this campaign to win the game for Dave Kevan's side. Buoyed by the cup upset on Tuesday, Notts went into the match with a spring in their step. Still, one change was made from the team that beat Wigan, with Karl Hawley replacing Jamie Clapham in a return to a more attacking 4-4-2 system. In the way of three points was a Grimsby outfit without a league win since September. Though this unimpressive statistic is representative of their position - 23rd in the table and five points from safety - they have picked up of late, drawing nine of their last 12 matches. The home side's battling mentality was evident from the off, though County were matching their energy levels on a heavy Blundell Park surface, Neal Bishop and Ricky Ravenhill making their presence known in the early stages. Grimsby had started the brighter in a scrappy affair, to little fruition; however, Notts were testing Nick Colgan from range, Johnnie Jackson and Ravenhill both having promising strikes collected by the stopper. It was certainly a heated skirmish between the two sides, full blooded challenges flying about all over the pitch, requiring a number of players to receive treatment. Ravenhill saw yellow, as did Tommy Wright following a reckless lunge on Neal Bishop. Town were trying with all their might to break down an organised unit that had kept three consecutive clean sheets. Wholehearted blocks from the likes of Stephen Hunt and Jackson were shutting them out, but not deterring them. Paul Linwood did manage to get a shot off from a corner. Connecting with an out-swinging delivery with his ankle, he failed to force Kasper Schmeichel into a save, directing wide of the target. Notts were resorting to a long ball approach, to little offensive effect, but in a neat passing move they almost broke the deadlock. Hughes' intelligent run was met by an incisive Ben Davies ball, but the receiving striker was unable to pull the trigger. Instead he laid the ball to Craig Westcarr, who was quickly closed down. The tackle resulted in Ravenhill striking cleanly from 20 yards, only for the ball to be deflected inches wide of the bottom corner. The second half started a little more promisingly for the Magpies and, despite calls of 'don't foul' being bellowed from the touchline, Davies was tripped in an advanced position. Stepping up to whip the ball into the box, Mike Edwards looped over with his head. The Mariners also remained in a spirited mood and could have gone in front themselves through the first clear cut chance of the afternoon. Wes Fletcher chased a long ball in behind the backline and fired wide, perhaps put off by the hassling John Thompson. Hughes almost nipped in at the other end when Joe Widdowson's back-pass fell short of his goalkeeper. Colgan managed to meet the ball just in time, skidding to clear with his legs. Bishop had a volley cleared off the line before Hughes did manage to find the net, courtesy of a true forward's finish. Peeling off his marker, he slammed past Colgan from a tight angle and celebrated in front of the travelling County faithful. Tempers were still flaring in the second period, Edwards grounded on three occasions following aerial tussles with Wright. The third, an apparent elbow by the front-man, appeared to warrant a second yellow card - at least in the opinion of the players and the visiting supporters - but Mr Russell, instead, decided that a lengthy chat would suffice. Grimsby nearly dragged themselves level in spectacular fashion late on, as substitute Nathan Jarman controlled a Peter Bore centre with his back to goal. As the ball rose in front of him, he produced an acrobatic overhead kick that required Schmeichel to scurry across his goal line to keep out. Davies and Jamie Clapham both had half chances to double the lead before the whistle, but  the goals weren't needed as Notts claimed their fourth league on the bounce. Next up is a crucial six-pointer with promotion rivals Bournemouth, where Notts continue to mount their climb towards the promotion places. Attendance: 4,552 (987 Notts County supporters) Man of the Match: Neal Bishop Notts County: Kasper Schmeichel, John Thompson, Mike Edwards, Stephen Hunt, Johnnie Jackson, Craig Westcarr (Clapham 75), Neal Bishop, Ricky Ravenhill, Ben Davies (Hamshaw 90), Lee Hughes (Rodgers 90), Karl Hawley. Substitutes: Russell Hoult, Graeme Lee, Matt Hamshaw, Ben Fairclough, Jamie Clapham, Luke Rodgers, Ade Akinbiyi. Scorer(s): Hughes 68 Yellow Card(s): Ravenhill 11, Jackson 55, Hunt 73, Edwards 77 Grimsby Town: Nick Colgan, Joe Widdowson, Dean Sinclair, Oliver Lancashire, Peter Sweeney, Peter Bore, Paul Linwood, Michael Coulson (Cowan-Hall 72), Wes Fletcher (Jarman 68), Tommy Wright (Hudson 75), Lee Peacock. Substitutes: Leigh Overton, Nathan Jarman, Michael Leary, Rob Atkinson, Bradley Wood, Mark Hudson, Paris Cowan-Hall. Scorer(s): None Yellow Card(s): Wright 22 Report by Dane Vincent
    Data provided by Press Association


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