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17:04 28th August 2010

Smith Snatches Point

A last-gasp Kevin Smith finish rescued a point for Notts County this afternoon, after they fought back from three goals down.

Six changes were made from the team that overcame Championship Watford in the Carling Cup on Tuesday, as Craig Short reverted to a line-up more along the lines of the one that beat Dagenham last Saturday. Craig Westcarr, who starred in last season's FA Cup win over the Cherries, took up a spot just behind Ben Burgess in attack, with the hope of making a similar impact to that memorable day, where he netted a second half winner.

Akin to that day, Notts went behind, this time with less than four minutes on the clock. Failure to clear a looping ball into the box allowed Josh McQuoid to capitalise after the bounce and poke into the corner with an outstretched boot.

It could have been 2-0 within minutes of the first goal, when Marc Pugh stepped up for a free kick from 25 yards out. Bending over the County wall, his effort clipped the woodwork.

The Cherries dominated play and looked the more threatening of the two outfits. Notts' only effort of note in the opening stages came from Ben Burgess, who cleared the crossbar from the edge of the box.

McQuoid grabbed his second when a long ball from the back forced Mike Edwards to chase. Stretching, his header didn't quite reach Stuart Nelson, and McQuoid lifted over the advancing stopper.

Craig Westcarr almost pulled one back, following a tidy one-two with Burgess. However, his chipped effort beat the home goalkeeper, Shwan Jalal, but not his covering centre-backs.

Things then got worse for the Magpies when Warren Feeney's infield dribble and threaded pass tore open them open. Pugh was beaten to the ball by Nelson's sliding block, though Anton Robinson was at hand to rifle home the rebound.

A glimmer of hope came in the form of Burgess' first goal in County colours on 30 minutes. Westcarr had made space for himself on the left with some neat footwork, before teeing up the striker for a well-placed, left-footed volley into the bottom-right corner.

Davies was presented with an opportunity to pull one more back ahead of the interval with a free kick from 30 yards out. His low, bending strike was well watched by Jalal, as he gathered on his goal line.

Ricky Ravenhill was omitted at the break and replaced by Jake Jervis. Notts moved to a standard, more attack-minded 4-4-2, shifting Westcarr to the wing.

Still, Bournemouth started brightly and should have grabbed a fourth when Pugh's dangerous floated centre was tipped away by a reaching Nelson to deny a lurking Michael Symes. The ball fell at the feet of Feeney but his thumping strike was heroically blocked by the feet of Graeme Lee.

Moments later Lee rose at the other end, only to have his towering header blocked on the line by Robinson. Jervis and Davies both attempted to beat the Jalal, as well, from an improvised flick and a free kick respectively, but neither could beat the reliable goalkeeper.

Midweek goal scorer Kevin Smith was also introduced for Burgess as Notts looked to get back into the game. Jon Harley came closest to making it happen, though, rounding off a jinking run into the box with a powered hit that was denied by the fists of Jalal.

As the game moved into four minutes of stoppage time, Notts made it 3-2 through Westcarr's cool finish. The opportunity fell to the midfielder following Jervis' strike against the post from a grounded Harley centre.

There was still more to come and the travelling fans almost spilled onto the pitch when Smith drilled through the legs of Jalal. Lee, moved up front as a last throw of the dice, created the goal with an untidy back heel, though Notts would have taken any kind of finish at that point.

Attendance: 6,447(381 Notts County supporters)
Magpie Player Man of the Match: Craig Westcarr

    Data provided by Press Association


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