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16:15 12th October 2009

Notts County 2-2 Torquay United

By Dane Vincent Notts County failed to make the most of their first-half dominance by throwing away a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw with Torquay United. Craig Westcarr and Ben Davies had put Notts 2-0 up, but strikes from Mark Ellis and Tim Sills either side of half-time ensured that the visitors walked away with a share of the spoils. With Brendan Moloney on international duty and Johnnie Jackson failing to recover from a hamstring injury, Ian McParland was forced to make changes to the side that picked up a draw away at Cheltenham last Saturday. The versatile Davies shifted into the centre of midfield, allowing Westcarr to operate on the right, after excelling in mid-week against Bradford. Neal Bishop slotted in at right-back. Notts started the better of the two teams and should have gone in front early on when Lee Hughes latched onto a Westcarr header inside the six-yard box. Despite reacting quickly, he was only able to prod the ball over the crossbar. Hughes had another superb opportunity moments later from a Davies cross. However, Michael Poke in the visitors' goal was equal to his powerful header, acrobatically tipping over. Netting for the second time in six days, it was Westcarr that broke the deadlock. The Torquay defence had failed to clear properly and the in-form winger struck powerfully into the top-right corner from outside the area.

The Gulls nearly levelled when Sills found some space down the right and played in Elliot Benyon. He went on to strike ferociously from a tight angle, forcing Schmeichel to save well with his feet. County doubled their lead from a superb Davies free-kick. The play-maker stepped up to curl beautifully over the wall into the top left corner. He reeled away to celebrate in front of the thrilled Kop. The joyous scenes were soon interrupted. Following an accidental hand-ball by Davies, former Magpie Kevin Nicholson whipped a teasing cross into the box for centre-back Ellis to jab past the spreading Schmeichel from close-range. Nicholson's long-throws were being utilised at every opportunity and Sills' flick-on nearly allowed Elliot Benyon to grab an equaliser before the break, but he was unable to hit the target. Breaking away from Torquay's brief spell of authority, Ritchie swung a pin-point centre onto the head of Luke Rodgers, who nodded harmlessly wide. The second period started scrappily with both teams fighting for possession but it was the visitors that gained control of the game. Schmeichel was forced into action first, stretching to powerfully palm away a strong strike from Benyon who had found plenty of space inside the area. Sills' rebound looked destined to level the tie, only Mike Edwards bravely threw his body on the line to deflect away. Elliot should have grabbed his second shortly after when he was left totally unmarked at the back post. Only he will know why he was unable to convert Tyrone Thompson's inch-perfect delivery. Thompson was involved again when Daniel Jones slipped in possession, setting the former Crawley Town winger free. He fed the ball into the path of Nicky Wroe who went on to fire a low shot from distance that forced Schmeichel to parry away from goal. Davies and Hughes both had half-chances before Torquay finally levelled the game. The County defence failed to get rid of a near-post cross, allowing Sills to nip in and squeeze the equaliser into the bottom corner. The goal appeared to rile County, as they immediately appeared to lift their game. Hughes had an effort finely saved prior to the moment that many thought had won the game for the Magpies. An early cross from deep by Davies saw Hawley rise above everyone to head towards the bottom corner. With the crowd on their feet - most already celebrating - the ball cannoned off the foot of the post and was cleared away from danger. A win would have seen Notts rise to fourth, just two points off Bournemouth at the top of the table. This draw leaves them in fifth heading into a vital six-pointer with Rotherham next Saturday. Attendance: 8,812 (227 Torquay United fans) Alea Casino Man of the Match: Matt Ritchie Notts County: Kasper Schmeichel, Matt Ritchie, Mike Edwards, John Thompson, Ricky Ravenhill, Lee Hughes, Neal Bishop, Ben Davies, Luke Rodgers (Hawley 64), Craig Westcarr (Hamshaw 81), Daniel Jones. Substitutes: Kevin Pilkington, Matt Hamshaw, Karl Hawley, Jamie Clapham, Stephen Hunt, Delroy Facey, Ade Akinbiyi. Scorers: Westcarr (12), Davies (33) Yellow Cards: Hughes (74) Torquay United: Michael Poke, Kevin Nicholson, Mark Ellis, Chris Robertson, Lee Mansell, Tim Sills, Elliot Benyon, Nicky Wroe, Tyrone Thompson, Chris Hargreaves, Kieran Charnock. Substitutes: Chris Todd, Scott Rendall, Wayne Carlisle, Danny Stevens, Steve Adams, Danny Mills, Marvin Williams. Scorers: Ellis (43), Sills (77) Yellow Cards: Sills (63)
    Data provided by Press Association


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