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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
15:47 25th April 2011

Last Gasp Leveller

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Notts County moved five points clear of the relegation zone with two games left in a 1-1 draw with Brentford.

In a first half featuring little goalmouth action, nobody managed to break the deadlock in the opening 45. Craig Westcarr's 77th minute penalty was well saved and it looked as though luck wasn't on the Magpies' side.

County were then awarded another penalty, which Lee Hughes converted to give Notts the lead. Substitute Jeffrey Schlupp came off the bench to grab an equaliser deep into stoppage time - denying the hosts of three points.

Notts were looking to strengthen their League 1 survival bid with a third consecutive victory, following triumphs over Tranmere and Swindon in close succession. The Magpies had less than 48 hours to prepare for the Brentford clash but they were ready for battle as they marched out to the 'Great Escape' soundtrack.

Four changes were made from the side that started Saturday's match, with Hughes, Alan Judge, Krystian Pearce and Febian Brandy returning to the starting 11. This enabled Martin Allen's side to set up in a 3-5-2 formation, with Stephen Darby and Jon Harley performing as wing-backs.

County came out of the traps early and Hawley forced a fine block from visiting defender Robbie Neilson. The forward then struck wide from 25 yards, rounding off a quick passing move.

On 12 minutes, Brentford won possession on the halfway line and broke forward down the right flank through Robbie Simpson. His curved cross found Lewis Grabban unmarked at the back post, only his low shot was kept out by Stuart Nelson's foot and the rebound was directed wide of the target.

A knock to Brandy led him to limp off the field with just 22 minutes on the clock. Westcarr was introduced in his place and lined up in attack alongside Hughes.

From this point, the game became a midfield battle and both outfits struggled to create anything clear-cut in the final third. However, Simpson nodded wide from Sam Saunders' corner for Brentford and Hawley's long-range hit found the stands for Notts.

The Magpies looked lively again from the restart and had Brentford pushed back in their own half. Judge struck over from the edge of the box and Bishop's swinging delivery evaded Hughes and Hawley in the first 10 minutes.

On 56 minutes, the Bees took advantage of Mike Edwards' mishit clearance and broke free from the right wing. The midfielder drifted wide Nelson, who had narrowed the angle well, and his strike trickled across the face of goal - to no avail.

Off the bench for Brentford, Jeffrey Schlupp almost made an impact. From a tight angle, he managed to get a shot away but Nelson reacted sharply to turn the ball away, low to his right.

Weston, on the right wing, created another opening for the visitors, with a looping cross. Marcus Bean rose high at the back post, though his header bounced wide.

With 13 minutes to spare, Notts were awarded a penalty when Westcarr's strike was handballed by Karleigh Osborne. Protests caused a long delay and Westcarr's firm strike towards the bottom corner was somehow stopped by Simon Moore.

But, County had another chance from the spot shortly after, when Edwards' headed attempt was handled by Simpson. This time Hughes took on the responsibility and drilled the ball straight down the middle, before dancing in front of a buoyant Kop.

Allen was sent off shortly after, following and incident involving visiting captain Kevin O'Connor, who had tried to hurry the ball back into play. The home fans' hotly protested the decision, as Allen took up a seat in the stands alongside them.

Six minutes of added time were displayed, during which Brentford grabbed a late leveller. Schlupp turned promisingly in the area and arrowed a low shot towards the bottom-right corner, which even a touch from Nelson couldn't keep out.

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Attendance: 6,879 (317 Brentford supporters)

Lifeline Man of the Match: Neal Bishop

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