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16:04 15th January 2011

Battle At St Mary's

Notts County battled hard to earn a point against high-flying Southampton at St Mary's.

At least one 100 per cent record in 2011 was going to be tarnished in a meeting between two of the division's form teams. Both the Magpies and the Saints were yet to record anything other than victories since the turn of the year but something had to give.

Notts welcomed two new signings, with former Motherwell forward Alan Gow being handed a start in the absence of Lee Hughes, who sat out the fixture with a calf injury. The other recruit, former Wolves winger Lewis Gobern, took up a place on the bench.

Paul Ince's side started well and could have gone in front during the early stages. Alan Judge nearly found Ben Davies with a troublesome cross and then came close himself with a promising hit from range that drifted high and wide.

On the back of a 6-0 win over Oldham, the Saints were looking dangerous and should have grabbed the game's opener when Guly Do Prado was threaded in on goal. The forward fired wide, much to the frustration of Alex Chamberlain, who waited unmarked - the goal gaping.

Morgan Schneiderlin almost caught out Stuart Nelson, after the goalkeeper miss-kicked a clearance, but was unable to hit the target with a hopeful punt. Jason Puncheon also had an opportunity, following great work down the right by Rickie Lambert, though he struck into the stands from the corner of the six-yard box.

From the left flank, Judge looked hungry for his first goal in a County shirt and made room for another attempt. Home stopper Kelvin Davis denied the winger with a low parry at his near post.

The Saints should have taken the lead before the break from Radhi Jaidi's free header at the back post, only for the defender to clear the bar. Fleet-footed wideman Chamberlain broke free down the right wing shortly after and was unlucky not to find the net with a cheeky chipped effort.

After the interval, Notts had to weather an early storm, as the Saints pushed forward. And, from a corner, Jose Fonte thought he'd put the hosts ahead, but Krystian Pearce blocked his header on the goal line and Nelson reacted sharply to smother the ball.

Fonte nearly got his name on the scoresheet once more on 61 minutes, when his long-range strike drifted past the bottom corner. And, Ricky Ravenhill played a crucial part in keeping the game tied moments later, throwing his body on the line to keep out Guly's goal-bound drive.

Notts were struggling to get out of their own half and Ince decided to bring on Ben Burgess with 17 minutes to spare, in an attempt to hold the ball up. The forward's determination helped him create a chance within minutes of his introduction and Craig Westcarr narrowly evaded the top corner with a bending shot.

The pair linked up again, with Burgess laying the ball to his strike partner with his chest. Westcarr forced Davis into a low save but, with 10 minutes to go, the match remained a stalemate.

Three minutes of added time was shown by the fourth official and Notts almost stole all three points. Davies' in-swinging free kick almost caught out Davis and the stopper only just managed to tip the ball over.

From the resulting corner, Stephen Hunt, fresh off the bench, nearly made a dream return to his former club. He rose highest but his header was cleared off the line by Frazer Richardson, meaning it was a share of the spoils at St Mary's.

Attendance: 20,201 (620 Notts County supporters)

Magpie Player Man of the Match: Mike Edwards

    Data provided by Press Association


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