A 0-0 draw with Accrington Stanley will see Notts County play a replay with the Lancashire club, as they look to progress to the second round of the FA Cup.
The Magpies were the better side for a majority of the game, Ronan Murray having chances to put his side ahead in both halves.
The visitors too had chances, Shay McCartan nearly putting the League Two side ahead after only two minutes, his long distance strike going wide of Roy Carroll’s goal.
Garry Thompson nearly nicked it in injury time. His curling effort from inside the area just going wide of Jack Rose’s goal.
The draw means the two sides will play a replay to decide who goes through to the second round of the competition.
Shaun Derry made two changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Walsall last weekend at Meadow Lane. Hayden Mullins was back in the starting eleven after an injury that ruled him out since September. He took the place of Haydn Hollis, who was suspended for the fixture.
Also in the line-up was Ronan Murray, who replaced the ineligible Stephen McLaughlin, whilst Elliot Whitehouse featured on the bench for the Magpies.
Accrington Stanley got the game underway and were gifted with the first opportunity of the afternoon after just two minutes. A miskick from Roy Carroll fell to Shay McCartan, who hit the ball first time, but his volley from 30 yards went wide of Carroll’s goal as he tried to get back across. McCartan tested Carroll again only minutes later but his shot was easily collected by the keeper.
It was very quiet opening 15 minutes to the game, with neither goalkeeper being seriously tested by the opposition. Notts were looking lively down the right wing, and a good combination between Mustapha Dumbuya and Zeli Ismail set the home side up for their first chance of the afternoon. Ismail put a cross in from the right which eventually fell to Gary Jones on the edge of the area. His first volley blocked by an Accrington defender, his second attempt going wide of Jack Rose’s goal.
In the 21st minute, the away side weren’t far away from taking the lead. Josh Windass showed good speed down the right to out run Blair Adams before cutting inside and trying his luck from outside the box. His shot had the intention of lobbing Carroll, but it went high and wide of the Magpies’ goal.
More good work from Ismail carved out an opportunity for Ronan Murray down the other end. The Wolves loanee getting beyond Michael Liddle and put in a teasing cross for Murray. Murray got to the ball first but his attempt went wide from the edge of the six-yard box. Blair Adams put in a cross for Murray only moments later, his header going wide again.
Notts started to take control of the game at this point. Murray again having an opportunity on goal, he ran at the Accrington defence before trying his luck from outside the box. Rose saved well to deny Murray from opening the scoring.
The Magpies were forced into a substitution midway through the first half, with Hayden Mullins on his return to the first team only managing to play 36 minutes. Taylor McKenzie was his replacement, making his competitive debut for Notts. More long distance strikes from Liam Noble and Zeli Ismail kept Notts on the front foot going into the final five minutes of the first half.
Neither side looked to threaten for the final minutes of the half, with both sets of defenders staying strong at the back. Garry Thompson thought he was played in with only the keeper to beat during injury time, but he was adjudged to have been offside.
HT: Notts County 0 - 0 Accrington Stanley
The second half started in a similar way to how the first half ended, with no attempts on goal in the opening five minutes after the break. There were shouts of a penalty from the home support, Murray falling in the box after a pass from Dumbuya, however nothing was given.
In the 55th minute, Notts County created the best opportunity of the game so far and weren’t far away from taking the lead. Michael Petrasso broke clear on the left wing before playing it in for Garry Thompson in the box. Thompson then laid it off for Murray who was in space running into the box. The striker hit the ball first time, but it was well blocked by the Accrington defence, with Murray’s shot looking to nestle in at the far corner of the net.
Murray had been at the heart of a majority of the home side’s chances and won his side a freekick midway through the second half. Good strength from the striker drew a foul from Tom Aldred, the defender receiving a yellow card for his challenge. Noble stepped over the freekick but his cross for the back post flew over every Notts body in the area and out for a goal kick.
Notts were beginning to get on top again at this point, Garry Thompson was next to have a chance on goal. Noble pulling the ball back to Thompson, whose shot blazed high over the bar.
Both sides made attacking changes with 20 minutes of play remaining, Shaun Harrad coming on for Ronan Murray. Harrad was involved almost instantly laying off the ball for Petrasso, who cut inside and bent his shot towards the near post. Rose was equal to it however, claiming with ease.
More good work down the wing from Zeli Ismail forced Rob Atkinson into a foul as the winger looked to break clear. Another booking for Accrington as Atkinson was shown a yellow card. The free-kick was whipped in, but couldn’t find a Notts head as it went out for a goal kick.
Accrington Stanley could have nicked it with only two minutes to play. James Gray ran in at the edge of the six yard box and hit a shot first time, his strike was deflected wide. He was adjudged to have been offside anyway.
With only moments remaining, Garry Thompson was incredibly close to give Notts the victory and avoiding the replay. He picked up the ball in the area before attempting to bend the ball into the far corner of the net. His shot went narrowly wide however, meaning the game was to finish 0-0 and going to a replay as both sides look to progress to the second round.
FT: Notts County 0 - 0 Accrington Stanley