Skip to main content


21:44 20th March 2012

Out Of The Top Six

Match Sponsored By:

Notts County dropped to eighth in League 1 tonight, following a 5-2 defeat to Sheffield United.

With the first half thumping of league leaders Charlton Athletic still fresh in the memory, Notts were disappointed to be on the receiving end against the Blades. Strikes on 17, 22 and 27 by Stephen Quinn, Ched Evans, Matthew Lowton, Neill Collins respectively sent the Magpies into the interval 4-0 down.

The Magpies were better in the second half and Alan Judge gave them hope with a superb free-kick. Neal Bishop was sent off shortly after and County faced a tough close to the match.

Williamson made it 5-1 in the dying stages, capitalising on a defensive error. Julian Kelly, off the bench, contributed the final goal of the game by finding the net with a header during stoppage time.

Manager Keith Curle had suffered his first loss in charge against Sheffield Wednesday. Just three days later, the Magpies had the opportunity to bounce back against the Owls' local rivals and his former club, United.

Three alterations were made to the starting 11, with Mike Edwards, Lloyd Sam and Ben Burgess handed starts over Liam Chilvers, Jon Harley and Gavin Mahon, who all dropped out of the squad. Mahon was later called up to the bench, due to Krystian Pearce replacing Damion Stewart, who had pulled out of the warm-up.

There were also a couple of surprises on the bench. Lee Hughes made an unexpected return from a knee injury and Dele Adebola was announced as a last-minute loan signing from Hull City.

In an even opening to the 90, Notts were the first to threaten, when Alan Sheehan collected a clearance from one of his own corners. From the right wing, he picked out Burgess at the near post but the forward's prodded finish cleared the crossbar.

The Blades managed to take the lead from their first opening, after Lee Williamson played a pass into the feet of an unmarked Quinn. The wideman turned quickly on the edge of the box and placed confidently into the bottom-left corner.

Failure to deal with a direct punt led to Notts conceding again in the 22nd minute. The ball made its way through to Evans, who held off Edwards and managed to find the net with a low drive from a tight angle.

Jonathan Forte had an attempt from range easily gathered before the visitors made it 3-0. Sheehan's defensive header dealt with Williamson's set-piece delivery but there was nothing stopping Lowton's stunning first-time hit, which rocketed into the bottom-right corner.

Burgess could have pulled a goal back for County, when he connected with Sheehan's back-post cross to force Steve Simonsen into a low save. Forte later drilled wide of the top-left corner, following a quick burst of speed into the area.

Cresswell almost added United's fourth, after escaping Pearce. The proceeded into the area and attempted to slot between Nelson's legs, only the stopper was able to divert behind with the inside of his left foot.

In first half stoppage time, United were able to make it 4-0, when former Magpies' midfielder Kevin McDonald picked out Collins. The defender, forward for a corner, rose high and found the top-left corner with a well-placed header.

Fine work down the right flank by Kieron Freeman nearly led to Notts pulling a goal back five minutes into the second period. His whipped cross was met inside the six-yard box by a Forte volley that swerved inches past the post.

Nelson was required to tip wide, reaching low to his right, when McDonald targeted the bottom corner from range. From the resulting corner, the stopper then had to produce a spectacular parry to keep out Lowton's volley.

With half-an-hour remaining, Curle orchestrated a double change, which saw Burgess and Forte, who had picked up a knock, withdrawn. In their place was the debutant Adebola and Lee Hughes.

Evans had a direct free-kick deflected wide of the target, as the visitors searched for a fifth. McDonald came even closer moments later, rifling narrowly wide of the top-left corner.

Notts offered more attacking threat than in the opening 45 and a sharp interaction in the final third saw Lee Hughes fire into the side-netting. Judge had threaded in the striker and came close himself with a thumping effort that was plucked out of the air by Simonsen.

13 minutes from time, Judge managed to beat Simonsen, following a foul on Adebola. The Irishman curled a delightful free-kick over the wall, into the top-left corner.

Any slim chances of a comeback were made more unlikely when Notts were reduced to 10 men. Bishop had already picked up a booking in the first half but was shown red for a foul on the half-way line.

Nelson made a leaping stop to keep it at 4-1 late on but he was unable to keep out Williamson in the 89th minute. A misplaced pass from Freeman was picked up by the midfielder and placed into the corner, out of Nelson's reach.

Substitute Kelly grabbed another consolation goal for County, with a header across goal, set up by Sheehan's free-kick. However, Notts were well beaten and dropped out of the Play-Off places.

Attendance: 9,468 (3,315 away supporters)

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

Chino Latino

    Data provided by Press Association


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