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21:43 25th October 2011

Notts Fight Back Twice For Point

Notts County twice came from behind to claim a 2-2 draw at Gigg Lane this evening.

Andy Bishop gave Bury an early lead with a stunning hit but Jeff Hughes pulled Notts level from the penalty spot. Giles Coke's penalty restored the hosts' lead 10 minutes into the second period.

11 minutes from time, the referee pointed to the spot for the third time and Jeff Hughes netted again - making it five penalties from five for the season. The dying stages brought goalmouth action but both sides had to settle for a point at full time.

With Gavin Mahon ruled out with a groin injury, Hamza Bencherif was handed his first league start since the away trip to Preston in August. That was the only change for Notts, who were looking to keep up the momentum that had established them a place in the Play-Off berths.

Although 15th in the npower League 1 table, Bury had found some form of their own in recent times. Putting a winless September behind them, Richie Barker's side had gone on to win three out of their last four.

The hosts certainly got off to the better of starts, despite Notts having the majority of the possession, when they took the lead in the fifth minute. County had failed to clear and the ball broke for Andy Bishop, who rifled unstoppably into the bottom corner from just inside the area.

Bury frustrated the Magpies from this point by getting men behind the ball and they should have doubled their lead on the 20-minute mark. Wideman Peter Sweeney tricked his way past Julian Kelly down the left and picked out Shaun Harrad, who volleyed inches wide of the target.

Andy Bishop fired over from distance, as did Alan Sheehan for Notts, but Mike Jones had a superb opportunity on the break, with County pushed up for an offensive free kick. The winger raced down the right, under pressure from Neal Bishop, and attempted an audacious chip, which Stuart Nelson scouted well.

On 36 minutes, Notts were given a great chance to draw level, after Lee Hughes beat his man and drew a foul from Efe Sodje inside the box. For the second game running, Jeff Hughes found the net from the penalty spot, this time firing into the bottom-right corner.

Lee Hughes

Jeff Hughes

Ahead of the interval, either side might have made it 2-1. For Notts, Bencherif volleyed high and wide, whilst Jeff Hughes was required to produce a saving interception to keep Coke's low centre from finding substitute frontman Lenell John-Lewis in a dangerous position.

Jeff Hughes, moments after the break, came within a whisker of adding his second. The midfielder met Sheehan's low corner with a stern volley that flew just past the foot of the post.

On 55 minutes, the Shakers moved back in front, after Krystian Pearce was seen to have handled during a slide tackle. From 12 yards, Coke stepped up to drill straight down the middle.

Steven Schumacher came close to grabbing Bury's third when he connected with Jones' pacy delivery from the right. However, his forceful header was directed wide of the top corner.

Trevor Carson was the busier of the goalkeepers and he had to prevent Lee Hughes', as well as two Sheehan corners, from creeping under his bar. Sheehan's third corner found Pearce, only for the defender's downward header to bounce over.

Hamza Bencherif

Three substitutions were made with the hope of Notts getting back on level terms. Karl Hawley, Jude Stirling and Sam Sodje replaced Alan Judge, Bencherif and Ben Burgess.

Sodje almost made an immediate impact with a headed flick-on, which led to Lee Hughes forcing a fine parry from Carson inside his near post. Sheehan's first corner was tipped over once more and, from the second, Phil Picken cleared Jeff Hughes' header off the line.

On 79 minutes, the third penalty of the game was awarded when Efe Sodje handled Neal Bishop's volley. Jeff Hughes shouldered the responsibility again and confidently placed into the bottom-left corner.

Four minutes of stoppage time was shown and it appeared that the game could have gone either way, with both outfits utilising a direct approach. Hawley's deflected hit looped marginally over, before he nodded Sheehan's corner wide, as the Magpies created the better of the late chances, and they had to settle for a point at the final whistle.

Attendance: 2,917 (544 away supporters)

Man of the Match: Jeff Hughes

    Data provided by Press Association


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