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Notts County were defeated 2-1 by Charlton Athletic this afternoon at Meadow Lane.
Scott Wagstaff opened the scoring on 35 minutes, when he rounded the goalkeeper and slotted into an empty net. Paul Hayes then made it 2-0, following a mistake in the Notts midfield.
Substitute Cristian Montano gave the Magpies hope, when he found the bottom corner on 60 minutes. But, despite pushing men forward, Notts were unable to salvage anything from the game.
A top of the table clash awaited the Magpies for the first home game of the campaign, after both sides claimed 3-0 wins on the opening day. Following an intense local derby in midweek, which went to a penalty shoot-out, it was going to be interesting to see how Martin Allen's men fared against their arguably fresher opponents.
Only one change was made from midweek, with Craig Westcarr replacing Lee Hughes in the starting 11. Hughes took up a place on the substitutes' bench - a useful tool if County needed a goal.
After soaking up some early pressure, Karl Hawley found space to produce the first attempt of the match for Notts, dragging wide from the edge of the box. Ricky Ravenhill then touched wide in a crowded six-yard box, following a quick one-two down the left, involving Hawley and Jeff Hughes.
Hamza Bencherif came closest in the opening 20, when he forced former Magpie Johnnie Jackson to head clear on the goal line, when he flicked on Mike Edwards' troublesome long throw. The visitors struggled to clear and Hawley almost found the corner with an overhead kick.
Neal Bishop was next to threaten for Notts, volleying high and wide from range. This was followed by a fine chance for the Addicks, as Hayes was threaded in on goal, only to be denied by Stuart Nelson, who had rushed off his line to make a low stop.
Hayes was involved again, when he picked out the run Wagstaff with a through pass. The wideman rounded Nelson and proceeded to slot home from a tight angle, making it 1-0.
In the final minute of the first half, Charlton made it 2-0, capitalising on a misplaced pass in midfield. Bradley Wright-Phillips found himself in space down the right and, with a low centre, picked out Hayes, who netted at the back post with a sliding finish.
Two changes were made at the interval, with the hope of inspiring a comeback. Lee Hughes and Montano replaced Jeff Hughes and Bencherif.
But, it was Athletic that came closest to striking next, after Jackson found Hayes with a well-placed header. Hayes placed past Nelson, leaving Alan Sheehan to deny a certain goal with a back-heeled clearance.
Ravenhill found Hughes in the channel with a volleyed pass on 58 minutes and the striker's cross was put behind for a corner. From the resulting set-play, Sheehan's corner was side-footed into the bottom corner by Montano and Notts had half an hour to get back on level terms.
The Magpies seemed more confident and could have equalised twice following Montano's stirke, first from Westcarr's cross, which Ravenhill looped wide, and then through Julian Kelly, whose hit narrowly cleared the target. At the same time, Charlton may have added a third, when Hayes' chipped through-pass found Wright-Phillips, but the forward found the Family Stand behind the goal.
Ishmel Demontagnac was introduced as County's final substitute, replacing Julian Kelly. This saw Hawley fill in at right-back, a position he'd performed so well in against Forest.
Nelson kept it at 2-1 with 15 minutes left on the clock, with a superb block. Wright-Phillips had broken the offside trap to test the stopper, whose save was almost followed up by Hayes.
Hughes found space in the area moments later and rifled into the corner. However, the goal was ruled out for a handball in the build-up.
Increasing numbers were thrown forward in a late attempt to draw level and from this Demontagnac volleyed powerfully over. Westcarr also bent into the arms of away keeper Rob Elliott, with what proved to be the final effort on goal during four minutes of added time.
Attendance: 6,397 (818 away supporters)
Man of the Match, sponsored by Chino Latino: Mike Edwards