Notts County played out their second goalless draw in four days, this time at home to Coventry City.
It was game of few chances, the best of them falling to the Magpies. Nicky Wroe’s header was cleared off the line, whilst Garry Thompson headed onto the bar from a Paddy McCourt corner.
The visitors did have chances, Jordan Willis’ cross nearly found its way in, but Roy Carroll was there to tip the effort over the bar, whilst Carroll was there again late on to save Adam Barton’s far post header.
The result means the Magpies are unbeaten in three games, whilst keeping clean sheets in the last two.
Paul Hart made three changes to the side that earned a hard fought point away at Walsall on Good Friday. After the 0-0 draw, in came Alan Smith, Mike Edwards and Nicky Wroe, replacing Jordan Williams, Graham Burke and Jimmy Spencer.
Alan Smith started the game up front, partnering Garry Thompson to lead the line for the Magpies. He replaced Jimmy Spencer, who didn’t feature in the match day squad. Nicky Wroe started his first game for Notts since the FA Cup replay defeat to Accrington Stanley back in November.
However, he has made five substitute appearances since then. Williams was the man to drop to the bench. Hayden Mullins was brought into midfield, making space for Mike Edwards to occupy the centre-back spot alongside Haydn Hollis, Graham Burke dropped to the bench after making his debut against Walsall.
The opening minutes of the match went by without either keeper being tested. Notts were trying to pass their way through the Coventry defence. Sean Newton earned the Magpies an early corner, but the set-piece was played short and fizzled out any opportunity. Coventry captain Jim O’Brien tried his luck from distance, but Haydn Hollis was equal to it, as he cleared all danger.
It wasn’t until the 15th minute for either side to force a goalkeeper into action. A patient piece of build up play from the Magpies ended up with Alan Smith laying the ball off for Hayden Mullins to shoot from distance. He hit the ball cleanly and forced Lee Burge in the Coventry goal to make an excellent diving save, tipping the ball wide for a corner. From the resulting set-piece, Mike Edwards got a head to Paddy McCourt’s cross, but the chance was eventually cleared.
Notts had certainly worked their way into the game by this point. Good hold up play from Garry Thompson earned the home side a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Gary Jones stepped up, his first effort hit the wall, before he snatched at the rebound, seeing the ball trickle wide of the target.
Coventry’s first real effort on goal didn’t come until the 25th minute, Simeon Jackson picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and hit a shot first time. He didn’t catch the ball well at all however, as Roy Carroll watched the effort go well wide of his goal.
Both sides were restricted to long shots at this point. Gary Jones was next to try his luck from the edge of the area. It took a slight deflection on its way to goal, taking all the sting out of the shot, allowing Burge to get across his goal and collect.
With ten minutes to go until half time, Coventry started to put some serious pressure on Notts’ goal. A succession of corners were putting the Magpies defence under pressure as they couldn’t quite clear their lines each time. McCourt eventually won the home side a free kick to relieve all danger.
A well worked corner nearly gave Notts the lead just before the break. Gary Jones and Paddy McCourt played a short pass to Mustapha Dumbuya who crossed the ball towards the back post. Mike Edwards and Hollis were both waiting, Edwards headed it back across goal. It fell to Nicky Wroe who couldn’t quite get his shot away, before Coventry cleared their lines.
HT: Notts County 0 – 0 Coventry City
Coventry got the second half underway and started on the front foot. Adam Barton exchanged passes with Simeon Jackson before shooting from the edge of the box. It flicked over a Notts defender and went behind for a corner.
It was same man again testing Carroll, but this time the goalkeeper claimed the midfielder’s shot with ease. The 56th minute saw the third of a trio of chances for Barton, he was waiting at the back post as the cross came in, but good pressure from Gary Jones forced the City player to bundle the ball wide.
Nicky Wroe came extremely close to giving Notts the lead on the hour mark. Persistence from Garry Thompson won Notts the corner. McCourt took the set-piece, Burge came to collect but couldn’t hold onto the ball as it fell to Wroe inside the area. He went for the diving header, but Jordan Willis was on the line to clear the danger for the visitors.
The Magpies were certainly piling the pressure on Coventry’s goal and they were inches away from going ahead. McCourt’s corner was aimed for the near post, with Thompson and Smith both attacking the floated cross. Thompson got a head on the ball and glanced it goalwards. It had beaten Burge, but hit the far post before Coventry got the ball clear.
Roy Carroll had little to do for the first 70 minutes of the match but had to stay alert after being called into action. Jordan Willis looked to put an early cross into the box, but he put too much on his pass, and it looked to be going in, forcing Carroll to back-pedal towards his goal before tipping the ball over for a corner.
Notts made attacking changes as they searched for a winner; Leroy Lita, Balint Bajner and Liam Noble all coming on. But it was Coventry who continued to attack the home goal. Frank Nouble held up the ball well before laying it of for Adam Barton once again. He struck from distance, but it was again deflected wide.
Liam Noble too tried his luck from distance. A quick one two with Gary Jones allowed the midfielder space to have a go at goal, but he curled the shot high over the bar.
Deep into injury time, Coventry nearly stole all three points, a swinging cross found its way to the back post where Adam Barton was waiting once again. He got a good head on the ball and directed it to the near corner, but Carroll was equal to it once again as he turned it behind for a corner.
That was the last chance of the afternoon as both sides played out the 0-0 draw. The result means Notts are unbeaten in three games, whilst the clean sheet means it has been two games in a row that Roy Carroll has not been beaten in the Magpies’ goal.
FT: Notts County 0 – 0 Coventry City