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20:35 10th August 2010

Spicer Strike Seals Place In Round 2

John Spicer netted the only goal of the game to send Notts County into Round 2 of the Carling Cup this evening.

Notts made the long trip south to Plymouth with the aim of bouncing back from a disappointing opening day defeat to Huddersfield Town. Manager Craig Short opted to make a number of changes, with five players coming into the side: Stuart Nelson, Mike Edwards, Krystian Pearce, Craig Westcarr, Spicer and Jon Harley.

The home side were first to threaten when Bradley Wright-Phillips won possession deep in the Notts half. He cut back to Craig Noone, who, drifting inside from the right wing, bent just over the bar.

County were looking much brighter than at the weekend and much more willing in possession during the opening stages. Ben Davies earned his team a free-kick on the edge of the box with a mazy run and stepped up to curl narrowly over.

Two good openings followed for the Pilgrims, though they failed to convert both. Wright-Phillips struck wide from close-range following a diagonal Lee Molyneux cross and Chris Clark fired across the face of goal from a precise threaded through-pass by Onismor Bhasera.

Davies had another chance to put Notts ahead from a free-kick, slightly further out than his previous punt. Similarly, he cleared the top-left corner with a dipping effort.

The creative midfielder was certainly looking dangerous from his set-piece deliveries and it was from one of his own corners that he almost netted again. The Plymouth defence failed to clear and Davies drifted into the area to fire a loose ball into the stand behind the goal.

Immediately after the break Rory Fallon volleyed wide at the back post from a Noone corner. However, it was Notts that made the most of their first chance of the second period.

Ben Burgess was played in behind the Green Army backline with a weighted, overhead pass, which he cut back into the path of Craig Westcarr. The initial strike was blocked but John Spicer controlled calmly on the edge of the box, before poking into the corner past a stretching Romain Larrieu in goal.

Although there was five minutes of pressure from the hosts, the goal appeared to lift Notts further. Composed in possession and relentless determination in closing down, they appeared determined to hold on for the win, much to the frustration of the home support.

Openings were few and far between after the deadlock was broken. Davies was the only player to force a save from a goalkeeper with an in-swinging free-kick from the flank that was thumped away, quite hesitantly, by Larrieu.

As the game progressed into the final 15 minutes, Plymouth almost grabbed an equaliser - twice. Substitute Curtis Nelson drifted a delightful ball to the back post but Reda Johnson was crowded out by his own teammates, and then a sharp, reflex save by Stuart Nelson denied Steve MacLean, just moments after the striker had come off the bench.

Westcarr came close to doubling the lead with a strike from distance, narrowly clearing the bar as the game entered the dying stages. Noone, for Plymouth, also threatened with a ferocious hit and Nelson was required to gather calmly from Bhasera to hold on for the win.

A fantastic travelling support will make the long trip home feeling much more upbeat. Now it's Oldham on Saturday, where Notts will be looking to use this result as a platform to claim their first league win of the campaign.

Man of the Match: Mike Edwards
Attendance: 5,454 (158 Notts County supporters)

For statistics, see the 'Match Information' bar to the right of the report.

    Data provided by Press Association


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