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15:48 27th March 2010

Notts County 1-0 Rotherham United

Luke Rodgers snatched all three points with a late wonder goal in front of a bumper attendance at Meadow Lane this afternoon. Magpies' fans turned out in force for a game of great significance. Rotherham sat just one place below in the table, level on points, and a win for either side would boost hopes of attaining promotion to League One. A quick, long punt by Kasper Schmeichel almost got Notts off to a flying start. Evading a number of Rotherham heads, returning top scorer Lee Hughes raced onto the ball but was unable to contact cleanly with his volley. It was an exciting opening five minutes from a home supporter's perspective and two more chances followed in front of the buoyant Kop. Craig Westcarr's bending cross behind the defensive line saw Rodgers slam against the post and then Hughes had a tidy finish ruled out for offside. Rodgers came close again from another inventive Westcarr centre but his volley spun wide, with Andy Warrington scurrying towards his bottom corner. This was followed by another Hughes effort, where the striker headed against the bar from a delightful John Thompson delivery. It was the 20 minute mark before Rotherham really threatened. Gavin Gunning found space to shoot after a number of fortunate deflections, though he dragged wide of Schmeichel's post from 20 yards out. The visitors put up a much sturdier defensive shield from this point onwards, limiting openings. Notts were never looking troubled at the other end either, reflective of their form in that department, which has seen them concede only twice in seven games. In a scrappy start to the second half, Notts' only attempt came from Stephen Hunt. The left-back charged forward but looped his shot over Warrington's bar. Nicky Law produced a much more testing strike when he flicked over Thompson's head and volleyed towards the far top corner. However, Schmeichel was alert and showed great reactions in leaping to his right to push away. Marcus Marshall was first to the rebound and drove through a crowd of County players into the net, causing the away end to erupt in celebration. These were soon drowned out by the jeers of the home faithful, though, because the assistant referee stood with his flag raised in the air for an offside. Notts could have broken the deadlock on more than one occasion, as well. Rodgers, utilising the outside of his boot, crashed the ball into the side netting and Ben Davies, drifting inside from the left wing, fired narrowly wide of the stretching Warrington's bottom corner. Steve Cotterill's team appeared to be finding their feet again as the half progressed, pinning Rotherham back in their own half for extended sessions. And this pressure almost paid off when Hughes headed at goal from Davies' corner but visiting captain Ian Sharps was positioned well on the goal line to deny him. Sharps was proving to be an asset at both ends of the pitch and caused Notts a scare with his aerial menace. Adjusting himself slightly, he connected with a corner but Schmeichel clutched the ball with his arms outstretched to clear the danger. The clock was ticking away but there was still time for a goal as the game crept into stoppage time. Hughes flicked on a direct pass, allowing Rodgers time to open up his body to slam past Warrington from a tight angle. Fans were wondering whether the ball had crossed the line after cannoning off the underside of the crossbar. But deafening cheers echoed around the Meadow Lane as the linesman confirmed the goal and Rodgers wheeled away in enthusiastic celebration. It was a goal that was worthy of winning any game and it keeps Notts' title hopes alive. Another vital promotion battle awaits in the form of Bury next weekend. Attendance: 9,015 (1,740 Rotherham United supporters) Premier Facilities Man of the Match: John Thompson Notts County: Kasper Schmeichel, John Thompson, Mike Edwards, Graeme Lee, Stephen Hunt, Craig Westcarr (Hamshaw 89), Neal Bishop, Ricky Ravenhill, Ben Davies, Luke Rodgers (Hawley 90), Lee Hughes. Substitutes: Russell Hoult, Jamie Clapham, Matt Hamshaw, Karl Hawley, Ben Fairclough, Sean Canham, Ade Akinbiyi. Scorer(s): Rodgers 90 Yellow Card(s): Thompson 81, Rodgers 90, Hughes 90 Rotherham United: Andy Warrington, Danny Harrison, Ian Sharps, Nicky Law, Mark Lynch, Craig McAllister (Broughton 66), Gavin Gunning, Marcus Marshall, Josh Walker, Pablo Mills, Adam Le Fondre. Substitutes: Jamie Annerson, Jamie Green, Nick Fenton, Tom Pope, Kevin Ellison, Drewe Broughton, Abdulai Bell-Baggie. Scorer(s): None Yellow Card(s): Harrison 78 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.