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16:58 17th March 2012

Owls End The Run

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Second half strikes from Ryan Lowe and Gary Madine gave Sheffield Wednesday saw Notts County's unbeaten run come to an end.

In a goalless first half, either side could have edged in front. Alan Judge and Alan Sheehan came closest for the Magpies, whereas Julian Bennett and Michail Antonio threatened for the Owls.

Lowe broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute with a well-placed finish at close range. Madine doubled the lead on 66, firing powerfully into the bottom corner.

New loan signing Lloyd Sam came off the bench to give Notts hope with a late finish. A second goal never came and County were beaten for the first time under Keith Curle.

For the first time since arriving at the club, Curle named an unchanged starting 11. The only alterations came on the bench, with Krystian Pearce and Sam replacing Mike Edwards and Ishmel Demontagnac.

Notts went into the fixture against the automatic promotion chasers full of belief, having beaten table topping Charlton Athletic seven days earlier. Both outfits were in good form and a buzz circulated around Meadow Lane prior to kick-off, as both sets of fans chanted passionately for their team.

The early exchanges saw Notts create the better of the opportunities, the first coming in the second minute, when Alan Sheehan's climbing, defensive header allowed Alan Judge to surge forward down the right. A neat infield pass to Jonathan Forte led to Jon Harley firing over from the edge of the penalty area.

Against Charlton, Jeff Hughes picked out Forte with a wonderful, right-wing cross that enabled the striker to head home. The same almost happened again, only Wednesday defender Danny Batth showed good anticipation to touch the ball away from Forte at the near post.

Despite having a lot of possession, the Owls were held up by an organised home formation. Their first effort at goal came from Chris Lines' corner but Rob Jones was unable to keep his header down.

Judge's 25-yard hit flew over the bar and Sheehan had a dangerous, in-swinging delivery headed clear inside the back post, as Notts searched for an opener. At the other end, Madine had a penalty call turned down, when Liam Chilvers prodded the ball away from him in a fine goal-scoring position.

Ahead of the break, the visitors had two chances to take the lead, with the first coming from a breakaway attack. Antonio raced through on goal, after holding off the last man, Kieron Freeman, but he failed to hit the target, poking into the side-netting.

Antonio was also a threat with his long throw and, when the County rearguard failed to deal with a high ball, Julian Bennett looked set to capitalise at the back post. The defender's low drive at close-range was somehow kept out by Freeman, who bravely threw his body on the line with a superb block.

In added time, Jon Harley was sent tumbling on the edge of the box. Sheehan stepped up to swerve inches over, meaning the teams went into the interval on even terms.

Wednesday came out after the break looking increasingly dangerous and they could have broken the deadlock, following a quick one-two that allowed Madine into the left channel. The Magpies were stretched but Stuart Nelson intercepted the forward's centre.

Notts were punished on the opposite flank, when the danger man, Antonio, drifted past a number of players to fire a low cross across the face of goal. Lowe attacked the near post and guided the ball into the bottom-left corner with a neat finish.

Judge nearly had County on level terms, when he made space down the left and whipped in a teasing cross. Hughes attacked the ball but at the last possible moment, Bennett diverted the ball behind with a crucial diving header.

On 57, Nelson prevented Notts from going 2-0 down. From a free-kick, Miguel Llera, who had replaced the injured Jones, curled powerfully around the wall but the stopper leapt across his goal-line to tip around the post at full stretch.

Judge rifled inches over moments prior to the Owls' second goal, which was scored by the visitors' top-scorer, Madine. The former Carlisle hitman pounced on an unsuccessful clearance attempt and drilled unstoppably into the bottom-left corner.

Subsequent to the opening strike, Sam was introduced at the expense of Harley. Following the second goal, Ben Burgess replaced Gavin Mahon, as the Magpies added weight to their attack in an attempt to salvage something from the game.

County pushed hard but were restricted to half chances. Judge drilled wide from range and Forte latched on to a Burgess flick-on to produce a dipping volley that grazed the roof of the net.

Sam pulled a goal back for the Magpies with just two minutes remaining. The wideman met Judge's left-wing free-kick with a leaping finish, setting up a tense close to the match.

However, Notts struggled to get out of their own half, as Wednesday played down the clock. They nearly added a third during four minutes of stoppage time as well but substitute Chris O'Grady's low shot was batted away by Nelson.

Attendance: 12,410 (4,498 away supporters)

Man of the Match, sponsored by Chino Latino: Kieron Freeman

Chino Latino

    Data provided by Press Association


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