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20:37 2nd March 2010

Notts County 1-0 Macclesfield Town

Notts County overcame Macclesfield Town for the first time ever at Meadow Lane this evening in a hard-fought clash under the floodlights. The only goal of the game came from a Jamie Clapham header on 19 minutes. It was Clapham's first goal of the season for the Magpies. After the break Notts continued to maintain an organised unit and Kasper Schmeichel was never truly threatened. They had chances to add more but the solitary goal proved to be enough to record another vital three points. Five goals at the weekend and four in the Notts' last meeting with Macclesfield, home supporters had every reason to be optimistic heading into this game. However, the visitors had never been beaten at Meadow Lane, something that Steve Cotterill's team were looking to put a stop to and make it two wins out of two under his guidance. The opening third of the first half saw little in terms of goalmouth action besides a punched clearance by the away stopper, Jon Brain, and a crucial, last-ditch clearance by Graeme Lee. From the 16 minute mark, though, the game sprung into life, with Saturday's man of the match Craig Westcarr making his team tick in the final third. First, capitalising on an opportunistic Schmeichel kick, he bustled his way past his marker before forcing Brain into a low save down to his left. Then he played in Luke Rodgers, who crashed a stunning effort against the under-side of the bar that thudded against the turf below before being hacked away. In their next effort on goal, the Magpies did find the net. John Thompson, well advanced down the right, floated a delightful centre towards the back post, allowing Clapham to nod home from close range in a crowded six-yard area. Rodgers could have doubled his side's lead eight minutes later, following some neat approach play. Taming a loose, bouncing ball, he steadied himself and struck ferociously towards the top-corner, but found the seating behind the goal rather than the back of the net. Former Magpie Richard Butcher would have been expected to draw the Silkmen level just before the break, especially considering his goal scoring record during his Meadow Lane days. Unmarked at the back post, he was unable to convert a weighted cross, feebly directing wide of the mark. He was almost made to pay for it before the whistle, too, when Rodgers found Westcarr with a direct pass in behind the Macclesfield backline. Nodding in front of himself, whilst holding off two defenders, the stand-in striker fired sternly over the crossbar from an acute angle. The second period started in a similar manner to the first, both teams failing to seriously threaten. Rodgers curved an effort at goal from the right that was easily gathered by Brain, whereas Colin Daniel's hopeful punt from the channel was smothered assertively by the alert Schmeichel. Cotterill opted to mix things up in search of a second goal, withdrawing the goal scorer, Clapham, in exchange for the more physical Delroy Facey, with Westcarr reverting to a more familiar spot on the wing. Making his presence felt almost immediately, the forward burst down the right wing to win a corner for his side. Although a poorly taken set-piece, Ben Davies found himself with another opportunity to deliver. His delicate near post cross was met by Stephen Hunt, though he couldn't generate enough power to test Brain. As the clock ticked away, the visitors started to throw more men forward in an attempt to salvage something from the game. Still, they were restricted by an organised County rearguard, helped by a commanding Schmeichel behind them. It was certainly an intense finish but the game could have been killed off on more than one occasion. Facey had a shot well parried, Ade Akinbiyi was narrowly beaten to a 50/50 ball by Brain and a strong handball claim was turned away by the referee. It was another battle for the points that sees Notts close the gap on the top three to just five points with three games in hand. It looks set to be another vital fixture for them on Saturday away at Accrington, where they could climbup to fourth in League Two. Attendance: 4,672 (111 Macclesfield Town supporters) Hudson Contracts Man of the Match: Mike Edwards Notts County: Kasper Schmeichel, John Thompson, Mike Edwards, Graeme Lee, Stephen Hunt, Jamie Clapham (Facey 63), Craig Westcarr, Ricky Ravenhill, Neal Bishop, Ben Davies (Hamshaw 90), Luke Rodgers (Akinbiyi 82). Substitutes: Russell Hoult, Haydn Hollis, Matt Hamshaw, Sean Canham, Ben Fairclough, Sean Canham, Delroy Facey. Scorer(s): Clapham 19 Yellow Card(s): None Macclesfield Town: Jon Brain, Izak Reid, Sean Hessey, Nathaniel Brown, Paul Morgan, Lee Bell (Bolland 74), Ross Draper, Colin Daniel, Richard Butcher, Ricky Sappleton (Wright 76), Craig Lindfield (Sinclair 52). Substitutes: Jose Veiga, Emile Sinclair, Ben Wright, John Rooney, Paul Bolland, Shaun Brisley, Matthew Tipton. Scorer(s): None Yellow Card(s): Draper 90 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.