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17:10 10th December 2011

Williams' Winner Defeats Notts

Andrew Williams 87th minute header condemned Notts County to defeat this afternoon at Huish Park.

Notts had the better of the opening 45 minutes after a slow start from both outfits and were unlucky not to be ahead at the interval. Ben Burgess thought he'd found the corner with a back-post header that bounced narrowly wide and Alan Judge rattled the woodwork with a thunderous hit from distance.

In a closely fought second period, chances were few and far between, but the hosts were able to take advantage of a late opportunity to secure the win. Substitute Williams was the player to get the goal - a back-post header after Notts had failed to clear the danger.

Last season's trip to Huish Park had marked Martin Allen's first game in charge of the Magpies, where he was tasked with steering the team away from the relegation zone and ending an extended run of losses. Notts' fortunes had changed for the better since that night almost eight months ago and three points would provide a boost in their Play-Off push, rather than ease the fears of relegation.

Only three players from the team that lost 2-1 in County's last visit were part of the starting 11 - Stuart Nelson, Neal Bishop and Burgess. The trio made up part of a line-up that was unchanged from the previous weekend's FA Cup win over Sutton United.

The match started at a slow tempo and the early exchanges brought little in terms of goalmouth action, aside from fine blocks at either end, first from Krystian Pearce to deny former Magpie Conor Clifford and then from defender Paul Huntington, who bravely diverted Judge's powerful long-range hit. Beyond the opening 10 minutes, Notts started to dictate much of the play and, with the regular change in shape that saw Gavin Mahon drop into defence, they were getting plenty of joy from the wide areas, as Julian Kelly and Alan Sheehan made the most of their increased attacking freedom.

Sheehan set up the Magpies' first serious chance of the half, when his free kick was flicked on by Burgess and headed towards the bottom corner by Pearce. Home stopper Rene Gilmartin scouted the effort well and was able to get his body behind the ball.

Gilmartin was beaten by County's next attempt, created by Kelly's looped cross after he had burst past the full-back down the right flank. Burgess connected with a placed header at the back post and was unlucky to see the ball bounce inches wide of the target.

On 24 minutes, Burgess' knockdown enabled Judge to unleash a thumping strike from 25 yards. The midfielder couldn't have hit the ball any sweeter but was left disappointed, as he watched the ball crash against the underside of the bar.

Yeovil were by no means being pinned back and came close to breaking the deadlock on a number of occasions themselves. Huntington struck over from Edward Upson's low corner and home skipper Paul Wotton forced Nelson to produce a reaching save with a drilled free kick that looked destined to find the top corner.

Either side could have gone ahead at the break, with action at both ends in the closing stages of the half. For Notts, Jeff Hughes, under pressure from Huntington, had a low shot gathered by Gilmartin, Karl Hawley's spectacular bicycle kick flew wide and, for the hosts, lively frontman Kieran Agard flashed an effort across the face of goal.

The second period didn't get off to the best of starts for the Magpies, as Bishop was withdrawn from the action following a strong challenge by Luke Ayling. Subsequent to a lengthy period of treatment, the skipper was replaced by Ishmel Demontagnac, who positioned himself on the left flank, with Hughes moving into the centre of midfield.

Demontagnac didn't take long to get into the thick of the action, intercepting a pass in midfield, before bursting forward through the centre. His surging run was cut short by Paul Wotton's deliberate foul, which the County players felt warranted a red card, rather than the yellow that was brandished, due to the lack of bodies behind the ball.

Demontagnac carved out Notts' next chance as well with a cross from the left, which Hawley glanced wide. Sheehan also fired into side-netting, after the Yeovil rearguard struggled to clear, but his attempt could have been in search of an equaliser had the Glovers tucked away a fabulous opportunity moments prior.

Agard had raced into space down the right and drove across the face of goal, where Jonathan Obika looked certain to add the finishing touch. However, Kelly showed great awareness and retreated to the goal-line to make a fantastic goal-line clearance.

With just three minutes of regulation time left on the clock, Notts went behind when they failed to deal with a set-play. The ball was lumped into the box, where substitute Steve Maclean lifted over Nelson towards the back post, allowing another substitute, Williams, to nod home at close range.

County had very little time to salvage a point and pushed men forward to make the most of a more direct approach. But, Yeovil played down the clock well and held on to take the points.

Attendance: 3,663 (287 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.