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15:14 16th May 2012
By  Dane Vincent

Down to the last day...

Notts County left it late in setting up an exciting final day clash with Colchester by snatching all three points at the death.

The 4-3 win moved Notts back into the top six ahead of Stevenage's late kick-off with Sheffield United. A Blades triumph would leave the Magpies' fate in their own hands next Saturday at Meadow Lane.

An exciting opening 45 ended on level terms, with both sides netting twice. Matt Bloomfield got the scoring underway inside a minute, beating Stuart Nelson with a stunning strike from the edge of the box.

Notts were soon level when Daniel Bogdanovic scored his first goal since joining the club on loan in March. However, Grant Basey had the Chairboys back in front from the penalty spot on 17.

Alan Judge made it 2-2 before the break with the first of his two goals, firing into the top corner from 20 yards. County went on to end the half strongly but despite keeping that up after half time, Stuart Beavon snatched a goal for the hosts against the run of play.

The Play-Off dream looked to be over for the Magpies but Dele Adebola popped up a minute from time to make it 3-3. There was still time for a winner and Judge was the man to get it - again with a wonder goal, which led to the travelling fans spilling onto the pitch in celebration.

Keith Curle had made three changes to the side that faced Bury, as Notts aimed to get back to winning ways. Mike Edwards replaced the injured Liam Chilvers at the heart of defence, Dele Adebola started up front ahead of Lee Hughes, who dropped to the bench, and Lloyd Sam returned on the wing at the expense of Jon Harley.

It was a big day for both the Magpies and the Chairboys but for contrasting reasons. County required three points to give them a realistic shot at making the Play-Offs, whereas Wanderers needed a win to boost their hopes of avoiding the drop.

The travelling supporters - many of them in fancy dress costumes such as Mr Blobby, Darth Vader and Kermit the Frog - made themselves heard in the build-up to kick-off but they were temporarily silenced when the hosts gained an early advantage. Inside the first minute, Bloomfield managed to make space for himself from the right, before drilling powerfully past Nelson, whose view appeared to be obscured.

Two minutes later, the Magpies were level, following Kieron Freeman's piercing run from the flank. The full-back's cross saw Adebola have a shot blocked but Bogdanovic managed to complete the job with a composed finish into the bottom-right corner.

In slippery conditions, Nelson produced a low parry to prevent Bloomfield from adding a second on 12 minutes. The stopper then clambered quickly to his feet to deny Ben Strevens on the rebound.

Wycombe did manage to restore the deficit, when they were awarded a penalty, after Stewart had upended Beavon inside the area. Basey took on the responsibility of the spot-kick and placed sternly into the bottom-right corner to make it 2-1.

Freeman continued to look dangerous down the right flank and one of his crosses would have created an equaliser had Adebola been able to make contact at the back post. At the other end the Chairboys could have easily have extended their lead, when Beavon forced a low save from Nelson, after finding space inside the box.

In the 40th minute, Notts drew level in spectacular style. Cutting inside from the left wing, Judge rifled into the top-left corner - a stunning effort that left home goalkeeper Nikki Bull with no chance whatsoever.

Ahead of the interval, Stewart almost put County in front, as Wanderers struggled to clear Judge's corner. The defender lifted the ball over Bull with a weighted volley, only for Marvin McCoy to divert over with a headed goal-line clearance.

The Magpies ended the half well and picked up where they left off in the second period. Three minutes after the restart, Freeman found Adebola with a lofted centre but the frontman's downward header was stopped from crossing the line by the legs of Bull.

Notts' search for a third continued, with Stewart heading over from a corner. Judge later latched onto a neat back-heel by Sam and to unleash a strong hit that Bull tipped around the post

A double switch was made on 62, which saw Neal Bishop and Bogdanovic withdrawn. In their place, Lee Hughes and Gavin Mahon were introduced.

Following the changes, the Magpies had two chances in close succession. Gary Doherty denied Jeff Hughes with a sliding block and Bull gathered Sheehan's long-range attempt, low to his left, despite a deflection.

Against the run of play, Wycombe moved in front for a third time on 68. Bloomfield split the away defence with an inventive flick, allowing Beavon to swerve the ball inside the far post.

Five minutes later, Lee Hughes thought he had levelled, when he nodded home Sheehan's in-swinging free-kick. However, his celebrations were cut short by the linesman's flag.

Jeff Hughes' 25-yard drive was kept out by a reaction save and Lee Hughes had a header cleared off the line. The clock was ticking away fast but there was still time.

Adebola was the man to make it 3-3 with only a minute to spare. Edwards gained a flick-on and the on-loan striker headed forcefully into the bottom-left corner.

Five minutes of added time were shown by the fourth official. Both outfits needed the points and continued to push for the decisive goal.

And, it went the Magpies' way, as Wycombe failed to clear the danger on the edge of their box. Judge capitalised, again in dramatic fashion, lashing the ball into the top-left corner from 20 yards.

The Irishman wheeled away, waving his shirt over his head. The County fans spilled onto the pitch, for they knew that the goal kept them in with a shout of the Play-Offs.

It was arguably the most nerve-wracking 90-plus minutes of the season for Notts but it was worth it. Whatever Stevenage's result, the final day can see the Magpies climb into the top six.

Purchase your tickets for the final day by visiting 

Attendance: 5,927

Man of the Match: Alan Judge
    Data provided by Press Association


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