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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
15:48 7th January 2012

Into The Fourth Round

Notts County progressed into the Fourth Round of the FA Cup with Budweiser after defeating Championship Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Jeff Hughes' 37th minute strike gave Notts a half time lead, after being picked out by Alan Sheehan's troublesome free-kick. It was Hughes' 11th goal of the season and Sheehan's seventh assist.

Hughes added his 12th of the campaign with his second spot-kick in as many matches, making it six out of seven for the season. Sheehan, again, was key to the goal, as he was fouled in the box for the second game running.

The Magpies were full value for the win, having carved out the better of the opportunities. They will now go into Sunday's Fourth Round draw with the hope of drawing a money-spinning tie with one of the Premier League giants.

For the third game running, Martin Allen named a completely different pairing at the centre of defence by naming Liam Chilvers, following his return from a loan spell at Port Vale, and new loan signing Damion Stewart. Three of the defenders that had featured previously - Mike Edwards, Haydn Hollis and Krystian Pearce - had to settle for a place on the bench but Sam Sodje was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Liam Chilvers

The travelling black and white army were definitely up for the cup, with almost 3,000 of them making the hour-long journey from Nottingham. Situated behind the goal, they were in fine voice before a ball was even kicked and moved into carnival mode as the game approached, with the drum beating rhythmically and the flag being passed along the width of the segregation.

The excitement in the away end wasn't quite matched on the pitch in the opening stages, as both outfits organised themselves well. Doncaster came closest with two half chances, which saw striker Mamadou Bagayoko head wide and lively winger Kyle Bennett force Stuart Nelson into a low save from range.

Notts created the best chance of the early exchanges on 13 minutes, when Hamza Bencherif found Lee Hughes with a curved through-ball. Hughes delivered a low delivery and Karl Hawley got in front of his man to poke wide of the target.

Hamza Bencherif

Hughes then threatened himself, when he headed past the post from Julian Kelly's cross. Alan Judge came even closer moments later, following an interception by Hughes in the final third, but his left-footed drive from the edge of the box skidded inches wide.

<a href=Alan Judge" hspace="0" src="/javaImages/d0/20/0,,10426~10363088,00.jpg" width="320" />

As the game progressed, Notts appeared to grow in confidence and a fast-paced passing move down the right involving Judge, Kelly and Neal Bishop almost opened the scoring in fine style. Rounding off the move, Kelly fed Judge into the area with a low centre but the Irishman's powerful hit was fisted away by home stopper David Button.

On 37 minutes, the Magpies went in front, after Sheehan's in-swinging free-kick from deep evaded everyone, before finding Jeff Hughes at the back post. Hughes controlled well and fired forcefully into the far corner from a tight angle.

Jeff Hughes

County did suffer a blow ahead of the interval when Sheehan was shown his 10th yellow card of the campaign. This will see him miss the next two games.

At the beginning of the second period, Notts had to weather the storm but Nelson was only tested once. Bennett, who had looked the hosts' most dangerous player, struck wildly from 25 yards, forcing Nelson to produce a strong parry diving to his right.

At the other end, Kelly was fed into space down the right flank allowing him to cut back towards Lee Hughes. The hard-working frontman struck goalwards with his first touch, only the ball was deflected behind for a corner.

Doncaster thought they'd levelled when James Coppinger's cross came close to creeping into the corner but Nelson took no chances in pushing the ball wide. From the resulting corner, Notts struggled to clear and Giles Barnes blazed over.

Damion Stewart

In-between the efforts, the Magpies made their first switch, with Jon Harley replacing Kelly at right-back. Moments earlier, Kelly had received treatment for an injury, setting up the substitution.

In the 69th minute, Sheehan was sent tumbling in the area by Sam Hird and Notts were awarded a penalty. Jeff Hughes placed into the bottom-right corner a minute later in front of the County fans, who raised the roof at the Keepmoat.

As expected, Rovers pushed men forward in an attempt to get back into the game and they may have pulled one back from a number of hopeful attempts. Bennett bent wide whilst under pressure from Bishop, Coppinger had a volley gathered by Nelson and Brian Stock drilled just wide of the top corner.

In further attempts at the spectacular, both Harley and Stock came close to finding the top corner from distance but there were to be no further goals in the game. Notts had battled tirelessly for 90 minutes, playing some tidy football in the process, and fully deserved to be the team in the pot for the Fourth Round.

Attendance: 9,535 (2,917 away supporters)

Man of the Match: Liam Chilvers

    Data provided by Press Association

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