A late penalty from Zeli Ismail gave Notts County a 1-0 win against Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park.
Both sides had chances, as Paddy Madden tested Roy Carroll, whilst Ismail gave Bobby Olejnik something to think about. It was Ronan Murray was brought down late on, and it was Ismail who stepped to confidently put the Magpies ahead. The three points means Notts County have won their last six games in all competitions, whilst making it 11 unbeaten.
Notts manager Shaun Derry made two changes to the side that completed the emphatic 3-2 comeback at Barnsley on Tuesday. Goals from Garry Thompson and a double from Michael Petrasso sealed the win after going 2-0 down.
Blair Adams came back into the starting eleven after coming on for Jordan Cranston at half-time against Barnsley, and it was Cranston who he replaced in the first eleven at Glanford Park. Also in the team was Shaun Harrad who was on the bench for the game against Barnsley as he came in for Zeli Ismail.
Current Iron midfielder and former Magpies captain Neal Bishop misses the game after picking up his fifth yellow card in midweek.
Notts came to Glanford Park in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy earlier in the season and claimed a 2-1 win. They were looking to get in at Scunthorpe straight from the start.
Petrasso, who scored two in midweek, was looking to continue his run of form. Occupying the right, he took on Marcus Williams and earned his side a corner. McLaughlin whipped it in for Hollis to get a flick on, but it came to nothing.
Notts were certainly enjoying the early spells of possession, looking comfortable at the back, whilst they threatened the Iron defence on many occasions. Blair Adams returned to starting line-up and a brief interchange with McLaughlin down the left nearly allowed
Petrasso to run in at the back post, but the cross was just too high for the QPR loanee.
Down the other end, Lyle Taylor wasn’t far off testing Roy Carroll. A cross from deep was only inches from the head of Taylor, as Carroll collected with ease.
Paddy Madden scored against the Magpies last time they faced each other and came close again. Good footwork on the left allowed Madden to have a shot, but it went wide of the goal. Good advantage from Nigel Miller gave Madden another opportunity moments later, his shot from distance gave Carroll something to think about, but he had it covered as it went wide.
With 22 minutes gone, Liam Noble was very close to giving Notts County the lead. A corner from McLaughlin was headed back out to him on the right, via Gary Jones, Liam Noble had the ball 25 yards out before curling an effort onto the bar, which clipped out for a goal kick.
Roy Carroll was called into action only minutes later, a cross from the left fell for Gary McSheffrey. McSheffrey did well to get to the ball first and he made good contact with it as it was heading for the bottom left corner, however Carroll got down well and made a very strong save to deny the midfielder.
Bobby Olejnik more than matched that save moments later. A pull back from Garry Thompson on the right found Harrad with all sorts of space on the edge of the area. He hit it well, but the Peterborough loanee got behind it well and made a smart stop to deny Harrad.
This game was becoming end to end as Lyle Taylor again went close for the Iron. Haydn Hollis tried to head the ball back to Carroll, but Taylor managed to nip in between the defender and keeper as he tried to dink it beyond Carroll, however he saved well to deny the striker.
With five minutes to go, Hollis had a half chance after getting a free header inside the box, but he couldn’t get the direction as it went wide. Thompson too had a half chance, prodding a through ball from Petrasso wide. An ambition shot from Lyle Taylor signalled the end of the half with neither side breaking the deadlock.
HT: Scunthorpe United 0 - 0 Notts County
The second half certainly started off a lot slower than the first half, neither side managing to take control of the opening five minutes. But Scunthorpe did have the first half chance after the break. Gary McSheffrey cut inside on the left but a brilliant block from Mustapha Dumbuya denied him, Sean McAllister tried to follow up but his shot was blocked again.
The Magpies did attack Scunthorpe moments later. Some great combinations between Michael Petrasso, Garry Thompson and Shaun Harrad nearly allowed Harrad in, but the ball was just out of his reach as the home side got the ball clear.
Twice the Iron could have gone ahead in the matter of minutes. First Lyle Taylor had an opportunity from inside the box, he hit with power but it went wide of the post. Next, Paddy Madden ran into the area with intent before aiming for the near post, again it went just wide of the post.
With 15 minutes gone of the second half, it was Notts County’s turn to threaten the defence, a nice piece of skill from Dumbuya opened up space for his to cross, it was over the heads of Harrad and Thompson, but Petrasso controlled it before laying it off for Liam Noble, but his shot flew over the bar.
The introduction of Ronan Murray brought a bit more attacking intent to Notts side, with the striker winning a freekick almost instantly. The Magpies were a constant threat from set-pieces, but the Iron dealt with them well to deny Derry’s side from taking the lead. Shots from Murray and Zeil Ismail were blocked as they continued to attack well.
With 12 minutes to go, the game could have gone either way, both teams had set-pieces but were defended well. A counter attack from Notts nearly put them ahead. Gary Jones ran at the Iron defence before playing it out wide to Zeli Ismail. Ismail cut inside but his shot was straight at Bobby Olejnik as he caught with ease.
With two minutes left of normal time, Notts County were awarded a penalty. A long ball over the top of the Scunthorpe defence allowed Murray to get in behind. Murray’s touch was excellent before he took it around Olejnik. Olejnik caught the leg of Murray and brought him down for a penalty. It was substitute Zeli Ismail who calmly took the penalty as he blasted it down the middle to give Notts County a late lead.
The Magpies defended well from then on, only a half chance for Shaun Brisley gave them any cause for concern as they went on to win their sixth game in a row in all competitions. Another performance Derry will be happy as they stayed strong at the back, whilst taking their chance when it came at the end.
FT: Scunthorpe United 0 - 1 Notts County