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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:59 19th March 2011

Pirates Steal The Points

Match Sponsored By:
Mainstream Foods

A dominant Notts County were beaten 1-0 by Bristol Rovers in a frustrating afternoon at Meadow Lane.

Will Hoskins put the visitors ahead 62 minutes, when he capitalised on a defensive mistake. Five minutes from time, Alan Gow could have levelled from the spot but his strike was kept out by a superb Conrad Logan save.

The Magpies were keen to bounce back from the disappointing midweek loss away at Rochdale with a win against the struggling Pirates. Rovers had lost nine of their last eleven fixtures but were desperately in need of points, as they looked to increase their chances of staying in League 1.

Notts were boosted by the return of top goal-scorer Lee Hughes, who had been missing since the 1-0 triumph over Charlton in February. Liam Chilvers was also handed a start, following an injury to in-form centre-back Graeme Lee.

Alan Gow, who had moved onto the left wing, produced the game's first effort of note. The former Rangers forward turned cleverly on the edge of the box and aimed his shot towards the top corner, though he was unable to hit the target.

From Stephen Darby's looping cross, Hughes was next to come close, when he challenged visiting stopper Conrad Logan in the air. His header looked goal-bound but Danny Coles covered well on the goal line and directed the ball into the safety of his goalkeeper's arms.

Gow came close again, following some persistent dribbling on the wing, when his cross evaded the far top corner by inches. For Rovers, Hoskins thought he was going to latch onto a long ball into the box, only for Chilvers to deny him with a saving header.

In a breakaway move on 39 minutes, Darby found Kevin McDonald on the flank with a long pass. The midfielder's in-swinging delivery picked out Hughes, who nodded wide at the back post.

But, it could have been the visitors that went in at the break ahead, when Stuart Nelson's throw was intercepted by wideman Harry Pell. The move that followed saw Hoskins head into the path of Pell but he fired well wide, despite being unmarked eight yards from goal.

Notts looked much brighter after the interval and could have gone in front, after the ball broke to Darby on the right. His low cross found Hughes but instead of shooting, he laid the ball to Jon Harley, whose stern hit failed to test Logan.

Darby's free kick from deep created County's next opening, as Njogu Demba-Nyren controlled on his chest and volleyed towards the bottom corner. However, Logan reached out to tip the ball around the post - preventing a certain goal.

Hughes then had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock from six yards out, after Demba found him unmarked with a headed pass. Hughes miscued and was unable to generate enough power to threaten with his headed rebound.

Despite dominating the play, Notts went behind on 62 minutes. Darby had tried to head the ball back to Nelson but Hoskins anticipated and chipped the ball over the stranded goalkeeper.

Notts continued to push forward and Gow's centre saw Demba force Logan into another terrific low parry. Hughes looked to capitalise on the rebound but he was somehow denied by the legs of the grounded stopper.

Dave Martin had come off the bench prior to the goal and he set up Notts' next chance with a low cross from left. Gow stretched out a leg at the back post but Coles' touch was enough to divert the ball out of his reach.

Demba was prevented from scoring by a last-ditch James Tunnicliffe challenge before Febian Brandy replaced him. The diminutive striker seemed to lift the Magpies and it was his direct dribbling that gave Notts the perfect chance to draw level.

Brandy was brought down in the area and the assistant referee signalled for a penalty. Gow stepped up to strike towards the bottom-left corner but Logan guessed correctly and palmed the ball away, leaving Notts with just five minutes to salvage a point.

During five minutes of added time, more creativity on the left gave Brandy a chance to level the scores but the frontman was unable to tame Martin's grounded cross. Notts had dictated the majority of the play but failed to make the most of it, leaving them empty handed for the second match running.

Attendance: 5,691 (513 Bristol Rovers supporters)

Mainstream Foods Man of the Match: Njogu Demba-Nyren

    Data provided by Press Association

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