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17:05 22nd October 2011

FT: Notts Denied By Quick-Fire Strike

A quick-fire second half strike from Clayton Donaldson denied Notts County victory against Brentford in a hard-fought game at Meadow Lane, in which the visitors' manager, Uwe Rosler was sent to the stands.

Playing in front of the highest attendance of the season at Meadow Lane, Notts started with a side showing just one change from the team that lined up against Chesterfield a week earlier and Martin Allen's men began the game brightly, playing some good expansive play and looking to make the most of home advantage.

Some good link up play between Julian Kelly, Alan Judge and Neal Bishop down the right flank created the first opportunity for Notts to attack pretty much straight from the kick-off, but the move would come to nothing.

Some of the best Notts chances in the opening exchanges came from the delivery of Alan Sheehan on the left, with two excellent long range crosses picking out first Burgess, whose header was comfortably saved by Richard Lee in the Brentford goal, and then an unmarked Kelly and Bishop, but with the ball falling between them neither was able to get the vital touch to guide the ball towards goal.

Lee Hughes had also twice looked to have broken through the Brentford backline in the opening quarter of an hour, only for the offside flag to deny him on both occasions, the first a tight call and the second possibly unlucky as the ball through looked to come off the head of a Brentford player.

Brentford were not afraid to play the ball long, looking to release the likes of Niall McGinn and Blair Adams who flanked the imposing Clayton Donaldson in a front line that was always going to pose problems for Notts if given room to create chances.

The visitors' best effort came from Toumani Diagouraga, whose looping shot from the edge of the area on 20 minutes was always curling away from goal and Stuart Nelson was able to pluck the ball out of the air to avert any possible danger.

Further chances for Notts followed, with Jeff Hughes unable to control an acrobatic volley from the edge of the six-yard box after Mike Edwards had flicked on a corner at the near post

With Notts down to 10 men temporarily as they looked to replace the injured Gavin Mahon on 26 minutes, a McGinn corner picked our Marcus Bean in the area for Brentford but his header into the ground bounced comfortably over the bar and Notts were then able to bring Karl Hawley on to replace Mahon.

The game then took a controversial turn shortly before the half hour mark, when Jonathan Douglas was lucky to escape a booking for a reckless challenge on Hawley right in front of the dugouts and when Brentford manager Uwe Rosler then deliberately impeded Sheehan from taking the resulting free-kick, he was sent to the stands by referee Mark Haywood.

With the home crowd whipping the atmosphere into a frenzy in the wake of that incident, Notts continued to press and Jeff Hughes came close to breaking the deadlock when Sheehan played the ball out to Burgess on the left edge of the area and his cross in almost picked out the head of Hughes, only for Lee to claim the ball on the line.

The breakthrough did come just a couple of minutes later though, when the ball fell to Alan Judge just inside the Brentford area, he was bundled to the ground and although the referee initially seemed happy to let play continue, he then pulled it back to award the penalty.

Jeff Hughes, who already had two successful penalties to his name this season, stepped up to take the spot kick and rifled it into the top left hand corner, giving Lee no chance and putting Notts into the lead.

Far from sitting back after the opener, Notts continued to press forward and with the tempo still high, Adams was this time perhaps fortunate to escape with nothing more than a stern talking to from the referee after an overly-physical challenge on Krystian Pearce that left the defender needing treatment from physio John Wilson before returning to the action.

Notts continued to have the better of the final few minutes of the half and after four minutes of time added on, the referee blew for half-time and sent Martin Allen's men into the break with a narrow but deserved lead.

HT: Notts County 1 Brentford 0

The second half would start at a lightning pace, with many of the 6,735 fans in attendance still taking their seats when Brentford played the ball out to the left and Clayton Donaldson fired home a long-range equaliser for the visitors with less than 20 seconds on the clock.

That could have been a hammer blow to some teams, but Notts haven't started the season so brightly by rolling over and the players immediately looked to pick themselves up and reestablish their advantage.

A sharp break down the left saw Alan Sheehan brought down by a late challenge from Jonathan Douglas and having escaped a yellow card for a similar foul in the first half, the defender did this time go into the referee's book.

Jeff Hughes won a corner for Notts in the 52nd minutes and although Brentford were able to clear their lines, the ball eventually came to Judge on the edge of the area, but his low effort was comfortably collected by Lee in the visitors' goal.

Minutes later, a fantastic header from Sheehan on the left released Lee Hughes through one-on-one with the keeper but he was always stretching to meet the ball and the keeper managed to get a block in that came out to Karl Hawley. However, Lee did well to recover and get another block in on the edge of his area from the striker's follow-up effort.

The visitors then had a chance to snatch the lead on the hour mark, with Krystian Pearce stumbling after winning the ball as he tracked back with Clayton Donaldson and the Brentford striker was able to lay the ball off to McGinn, but his effort was well wide of the target.

Lee Hughes came agonisingly close to putting Notts back in front a few minutes later, as he just failed to connect with a ball through from Burgess as he turned in the area, with the slightest of touches likely to have been enough to beat the advancing Lee.

With Notts very much in the ascendency, Brentford made a change on 69 minutes, with Sam Saunders coming on to replace Blair Adams and Notts followed suit shortly afterwards with Sam Sodje coming on for Ben Burgess.

After a quieter period in the game, Judge brought it very much back to life by creating space for himself and unleashing a fantastic long-range effort that was only just wide of the corner of bar and post.

New loan signing Femi Orenuga made his Notts debut on 81 minutes, coming on to replace Judge and taking up a position wide on the right for the final throes of the game.

There was time for the youngster to show some fine footwork and threatening pace as the game continued to ebb and flow, with Brentford looking the happier to settle for a draw.

With a minimum of four minutes added time to be played, Notts had a shout for a second penalty when a Sheehan cross struck the arm of Kevin O'Connor, but the referee waved away their claims.

That would be the last incident of note as the referee brought the game to a close, confirming a 1-1 scoreline that Brentford will no doubt be happy to take away from Meadow Lane after a hard-fought encounter.

Match Sponsored By:

Attendance: 6,735 (587 away fans)

Man of the Match, sponsored by Chino Latino: Alan Sheehan

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    Data provided by Press Association


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