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16:07 9th April 2011

In The Bottom Four

Notts County slipped into the relegation zone following a 3-1 loss to Dagenham & Redbridge.

In a disappointing first half for County, John Akinde put Dagenham in front with a commanding header. Danger man Danny Green made it 2-0 on 41 minutes with a stunning free kick, shortly after Graeme Lee had been sent off for a foul on Jon Nurse.

It got worse for Notts, who had been joined by a bumper away following thanks to Chairman Ray Trew paying for supporters' coach travel, when Green added his second and Dagenham's third from the penalty spot. The Magpies needed something special after the break to keep them out of the bottom four.

Off the bench, Njogu Demba-Nyren made it 3-1 with his first goal for the club. But, it wasn't enough for Notts, who lost for the seventh match in a row.

With only one point and one place separating Notts from the Daggers in the relegation zone, avoiding defeat was a must for Caretaker Manager Carl Heggs' side. Lifted by the midweek showing against Rochdale, the Magpies went into the six-pointer with every confidence of taking all three points and ending a run of six straight defeats.

Following Ricky Ravenhill's 10th yellow card of the campaign and subsequent suspension, John Spicer was handed his first start since January alongside Neal Bishop in the centre of midfield. Two further changes were made at the back, with Jon Harley returning from a two-game ban at left-back and Sam Sodje joining Graeme Lee at the heart of defence for his first ever start in County colours.

The hosts experienced the better of the early exchanges and Green's sixth minute free kick, which flew wide of the left upright, could have given them the lead. Three minutes later, the winger was involved again and his teasing low cross towards the back post got caught up in Nurse's feet when it looked easier to score.

Green's next involvement, a volleyed cross from the right flank, resulted in the game's opener. Akinde made room for himself and squeezed the ball into the corner with a strong downward header.

Notts' first effort came on 26 minutes, when the ball broke for Lee Hughes on the left. His ambitious strike looked destined for the far top corner but he was left with his head in his hands after being denied by the crossbar.

Getting back into the game was made much tougher when Lee was sent off. The centre-back had sent Nurse sprawling, as he looked to chase a long ball over the top, with the visitors pushed forward.

From the resulting free kick, Green doubled Dagenham's lead, leaving the 10-man Magpies with a mountain to climb. With a powerful hit, he bent the ball around the wall and into the top corner.

Romain Vincelot almost made it 3-0 with a stern header but, fortunately for Notts, Harley was covering on the line. Sodje was later required to pull off a superb, last-ditch clearance to keep out Nurse's chipped effort, leading to the forward striking against the post on the rebound.

As Notts attempted to clear the danger, Spicer brought down Akinde in the area. Green took on the responsibility of the penalty kick and confidently lashed the ball into the corner to give his side a convincing half time advantage.

Craig Westcarr had an opportunity to pull one back in the opening stages of the second half but he found the stands with a free kick from 25 yards. At the other end, Akinde drilled across the face of goal, when he connected with Green's curving delivery.

Westcarr was withdrawn shortly after, with Demba taking his place. Brandy was also removed through injury and Kevin Smith was introduced in his place.

Demba gave Notts a glimmer of hope, when he connected with Spicer's corner to make it 3-1. Moments after his headed finish, Nelson had to remain alert to push away Nurse's effort.

Spicer thought he'd made it 3-2, when he was teed up by Bishop on the edge of the box, but his placed attempt skimmed past the foot of the post. Demba also connected with another Spicer corner but was unable to hit the target with his header.

With just a minute to spare it seemed that that Sodje had set up a grandstand finish with a tremendous volley, only play was pulled back for a foul on Hughes. Five minutes of added time passed and defeat was confirmed, meaning Tuesday night's clash with Yeovil becomes even bigger.

Attendance: 2,608 (484 Notts County supporters)

Magpie Player Man of the Match: Neal Bishop

    Data provided by Press Association


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