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16:59 12th November 2011

Notts Through To Second Round

Notts County progressed into the second round of the FA Cup after a 4-1 win against Accrington Stanley.

Karl Hawley's gave Notts a deserved 1-0 lead at the break with a confident finish in the 34th minute. Alan Judge made it 2-0 shortly after half time with a powerful strike into the corner.

Things got worse for the visitors when their captain Andrew Proctor was sent off for a foul on Hawley, who would have been clean through on goal. Alan Sheehan's free kick found the bottom corner to put County three up with just 10 minutes remaining.

Luke Joyce pulled one back for Stanley but any joy was short-lived. Hawley restored the deficit in the final minute with another brilliant goal.

The break from league action brought the start of another FA Cup campaign for the Magpies, who had enjoyed plenty of success in the tournament over the past two seasons. In 2009/10 and 2010/11, Notts reached the fifth and fourth rounds respectively, and Martin Allen had made it clear that he wanted to bring cup excitement to Meadow Lane once more.

Three changes were made to the starting 11, with Lee Hughes, Ricky Ravenhill and Charlie Allen being replaced by Karl Hawley, Gavin Mahon and Neal Bishop. Hughes dropped out of the squad altogether, whilst Bishop returned from suspension and Mahon recovered from a groin injury.

A minute's silence was impeccably observed prior to kick-off, paying tribute to the armed forces who had died in the line of duty since World War One. The match itself started slowly, with the first opening coming on 10 minutes, when Judge volleyed wide from Ben Burgess' knockdown.

Accrington's first effort on goal came from Dean Winnard's run down the right flank, which allowed him to cut the ball inside to Charlie Barnett. Barnett struck through the legs of Mike Edwards but Stuart Nelson was able to gather smartly on his goal line.

County dictated most of the play, though the visitors kept an organised formation that was difficult to break down. Still, Andrew Proctor had to produce a fine block to deny Bishop at close range, after the skipper linked up well with Julian Kelly down the right.

Ben Burgess had two fine opportunities, as Notts upped the ante. The first, from Jeff Hughes' centre, saw the frontman's header held by Stanley stopper Sean Murdoch, moments before Sheehan teed him up to nod just past the post.

The deadlock was broken on 34 minutes, after Accrington had failed to clear their lines. Hawley broke free and lifted over Murdoch, who got a fingertip to the ball but wasn't able to prevent it from crossing the line.

Hawley thought he'd added a second ahead of the interval, following a superb save from Krystian Pearce's header. The frontman prodded home on the rebound, only for the goal to be disallowed for a foul in the build-up.

Judge doubled the lead in the second minute of the second period, when Bishop set him free with a lofted pass behind the Accrington backline. From a tight angle, the lively midfielder drove under Murdoch for his first ever goal at Meadow Lane.

Jeff Hughes almost added Notts' third when Burgess met his run with a delicate through-pass but Murdoch denied him with a low save. From the resulting corner, Hughes then forced a parry with a stern drive from Sheehan's low delivery.

The visitors were down to 10 men, when their last man, Proctor, brought down Hawley, who had showed great determination to chase onto a long ball. Sheehan's free kick from 20 yards out was blazed high and wide.

With the extra man, the Magpies found themselves carving out more goal-scoring opportunities. Burgess was denied by a saving challenge, Pearce directed a volley just wide and Murdoch prevented Bishop from getting a shot away with a save at the midfielder's feet.

Sheehan made it 3-0 on 80 minutes with a swinging free kick that evaded everyone and found its way into the bottom corner. The defender was delighted, having scored his first goal in County colours and embraced the backroom staff on the touchline.

Joyce gave Accrington a glimmer of hope, as he rifled into the bottom corner late on. However, in the 90th minute, Burgess played in Hawley, allowing the striker to lift over Murdoch for the second time.

Edwards almost made it five but his header was tipped over by Murdoch at full stretch. Notts will find out who they will face in the second round on Sunday afternoon, where they will be ball number 22.

Attendance: 3,613 (167 away supporters)

Man of the Match: Alan Sheehan

    Data provided by Press Association


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