Ten men Notts County succumbed to a 3-0 defeat by promotion hopefuls Swindon Town at the County Ground.
John Swift opened the scoring for the home side in the second half, curling an effort into the far corner, giving Roy Carroll no chance.
Swindon went two goals up via the penalty spot. Carroll was adjudged to have fouled Andy Williams in the six-yard box. It was Williams who slotted the spot kick beyond the keeper.
Liam Noble was then sent off for a second yellow card, both bookings seemingly for dissent.
The home side added a third late on, Harry Toffolo tapped into an empty net after Carroll saved Massimo Luongo’s effort.
Magpies’ manager Shaun Derry made one change to the side that sealed three points against Colchester on Tuesday night. Leroy Lita was in the side to make his first start for Notts since his loan move till the end of the season during the week. He replaced Garry Thompson, who took his place on the substitutes bench.
Following his goal against Colchester, Paddy McCourt retained his place in the eleven along with Jamal Campbell-Ryce. The two players combined brilliantly for the goal, which turned out to be the winner. A midfield three of Gary Jones, Liam Noble and Curtis Thompson was kept intact for the second away game in four days.
Notts got off to a promising start to the game. Gary Jones floated a freekick in, it was cleared to Paddy McCourt on the edge of the box, and he played it through to Mike Edwards who put a brilliant ball into the box. However, there wasn’t anyone in the box to get on the end of it.
It didn’t stop there for Notts. A cross was put into the box; it was cleared to Gary Jones on the edge of the box. He volleyed it first time, forcing Wes Foderingham into a fantastic save as he got down low to his left. The rebound fell to Liam Noble; he took a touch before firing the ball goal wards. Foderingham saved once again.
Down the other end, a fast flowing Swindon move fell to top goal scorer Andy Williams on the edge of the box. He volleyed it first time, but Notts got bodies in the way to deny the striker. It was the same man again moments later; a long ball through wasn’t dealt with by Haydn Hollis, leaving the front man in one on one with Roy Carroll. Williams missed the target however, putting it wide of the far post.
After a period of possession from Swindon, they continued to press the Notts defence. A number of shots from distance from Nathan Byrne and Andy Williams were well blocked by Haydn Hollis to keep the scores level.
Notts were very much in the game at this point, defending fantastically against Swindon’s patient passing game, whilst putting pressure on the home side’s defence who adopt a very relaxed approach.
With five minutes remaining of the first half, Swindon had a very good chance to go ahead. Byrne cut inside on the right and played the ball across for Ben Gladwin on the edge of the box. He deceived Curtis Thompson to clear the space before he took a shot from distance. His effort whistled past the post.
The final chance of the half fell to John Swift who was stood over a freekick 25 yards out. He got his effort over the wall, but straight into the hands of Roy Carroll, who clutched the ball with ease.
HT: Swindon Town 0 – 0 Notts County
It was Swindon who managed to get the first shot away in the second half. More patient build up play outside the Notts penalty area created space for Jack Stephens to try his luck from distance. His shot went wide, not troubling Carroll at all.
Down the other end, a great ball over the top from Mike Edwards fell to Liam Noble 25 yards out. He had support on his left, but went for goal himself, floating the ball wide of the target.
Ben Gladwin was having a lot more of the ball this second half, taking on Hayden Mullins. It was Gladwin again 15 minutes into the second half; he cut inside and tried to bend a shot into the far post, but it went far wide of Carroll’s goal.
It was slowly becoming more of an end-to-end game. A great ball was played through to Leroy Lita. He burst into the box and went for goal himself, but his effort hit the side netting.
Moments later, a Swindon attack resulted in the home side taking the lead. John Swift found himself with acres of space on the edge of the area, and he curled a wonderful effort into the bottom corner, giving Roy Carroll no chance.
John Swift nearly had a second goal soon after in similar fashion. He curled an effort for the bottom corner, Carroll got down to save well. The rebound fell to Andy Williams in the box, Carroll looked to have made a second save, but the referee blew for a penalty, adjudging Carroll to have fouled the forward. It was Williams who stepped up and coolly slotted the ball home beyond Carroll.
Notts didn’t sit back and looked to get a goal back almost instantly. McCourt drifted in a corner. It came back to Northern Irish midfielder. A passing move across the Swindon box fell to Haydn Hollis inside the area. He turned and shot, but it was straight at Foderingham. McCourt had a shot from distance, but it flew over the bar.
Notts made changes as they looked to get back in the game. Nicky Wroe and Garry Thompson came on. Liam Noble worked space for himself outside the area. He hit a dipping effort, which forced Foderingham to get across his goal and tip the shot wide.
Notts went down to ten men with only minutes left to go in the game. Liam Noble was booked for dissent, and then received a second yellow card as he continued his conversation with the referee.
Swindon then added a third as the game was coming to a close. Massimo Luongo was played in down the right. He forced Roy Carroll into a good save, but the ball fell to Harry Toffolo, who had the simple job of tapping the ball in the empty net.
In injury time, Roy Carroll kept the score at 3-0. Substitute Yaser Kasim stood over the freekick and curled an excellent effort over the wall, but Carroll got to the ball and tipped it onto the bar. That was the last chance of the afternoon, as Swindon claimed all three points.
FT: Swindon Town 3-0 Notts County