Skip to main content


17:00 9th April 2012

Sam Stars As Notts Move Into Top Six

Match Sponsored By:

A Lloyd Sam hat-trick gave Notts County a third consecutive win and moved them into the Play-Off places.

Sam opened his account in the 37th minute with a stern finish through the goalkeeper's legs. Jonathan Franks was able to level for the visitors on 79 and it seemed that the Magpies were going to have to settle for a draw.

However, Sam popped up in the 88th minute to put County 2-1 up with a controversial goal. The midfielder's tricky display was then rounded off in fine style, as he claimed the matchball in added time with his finest strike of the afternoon.

Keith Curle made two alterations to the side that started in the 3-0 triumph over Leyton Orient on Good Friday. Lee Hughes, who came off the bench against the O's, joined Daniel Bogdanovic in attack and skipper Neal Bishop returned for his first outing since being suspended in the March defeat to Sheffield United.

Louis Harris and Hamza Bencherif dropped out of the squad but there was a place for Dele Adebola on the bench. The on-loan frontman had been sidelined with a knee injury since making his Notts debut against the Blades.

The Magpies looked bright in the opening stages, especially from the right wing, where Sam was getting plenty of the ball. In the seventh minute, the wideman cut inside and curled towards the bottom-left corner but away stopper Sam Walker denied him with a reaching parry.

From the resulting corner, Judge curled towards the near post and would have scored had Richard Hinds not produced a vital headed clearance. Bogdanovic volleyed inches past the post and Lee Hughes threatened with a looping header, as the chances continued to flow.

A rehearsed corner routine involving Judge, Alan Sheehan and Jeff Hughes saw County find the wrong side of the post again, with Judge firing high into the side-netting. Walker was then forced into a remarkable, tipping save to keep out Bogdanovic's header, following more fine work on the wing by Sam.

Failure to make the most of the early opportunities almost cost Notts, as Yeovil started to make their offensive presence known. Andrew Williams' climbing header inside a busy area found Jonathan Grounds unmarked, but a brave pounce by Stuart Nelson allowed the Magpies to escape.

Former County loanee Michael Woods later broke free of the home backline and Nelson, again, came to the rescue. With the final effort of the visitors' dominant spell, Lawson D'Ath struck inches wide of the bottom-left corner from the edge of the box.

This was a wake-up call for County, who soon regained a stranglehold on the match. Judge cleared the bar from 25 yards, Lee Hughes had a hit well blocked and Bogdanovic headed wide of the mark, prior to Sam's 37th minute opener.

Bishop had attempted to fire through a wall of Town players and a series of deflections saw the ball make its way to Jeff Hughes with his back to goal. The Magpies' leading scorer casually laid the ball to Sam, who rifled through Walker's legs.

Lloyd Sam

County could easily have gone into the break another goal up, when Judge collected a clearance from Sheehan's corner. The lively midfielder unleashed a
left-footed volley that flew fractionally past the upright during first half added time.

Both sides came close in the early moments of the second period. Kelly required Walker to palm over with a long-range shot and Williams clipped the top of the bar with a dipping effort from the left wing.

Notts also had a strong penalty shout turned down, when Lee Hughes met Kelly's centre with a volley. The fans in the Kop Stand behind the goal called for a handball by Hinds but the referee waved play on.

Curle's first changes arrived in the 68th minute. Gavin Mahon and Dele Adebola replaced Bogdanovic and Lee Hughes.

The second half had been a quieter affair but that was to change with just 11 minutes to go, when Williams managed to get the wrong side of Liam Chilvers down the right. Williams delivered a centre, which, subsequent to a bad touch by Kelly, Franks powered into the roof of the net.

County upped the tempo immediately and Judge almost managed to find the corner with a first-time finish, only for Walker and Paul Huntington to eradicate the danger with a joint block. Shortly after, Adebola teed up Jeff Hughes with a weighted pass, though the midfielder's effort found the side-netting.

It was the Man of the Match that did get the goal to restore the Magpies' lead, when Sam bustled past Huntington to put in a challenge on the goalkeeper. The ball broke free, enabling Sam to place into an empty net.

There were protests that Sam had pushed Huntington but the two-goal wideman did not seem to mind too much. And, during added time, he completed his hat-trick by wriggling free of his marker on the right with a nut-meg, before curling into the top-left corner.

Lloyd Sam

Attendance: 5,852 (261 away supporters)

Man of the Match, sponsored by Chino Latino: Lloyd Sam

Chino Latino

    Data provided by Press Association


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