A second half goal from Matt Done succumbed Notts County to a 2-1 defeat against Sheffield United at Meadow Lane.
The visitors took the lead early in the game, Jamie Murphy firing into the top corner from the edge of the box with a wonderful effort.
The Magpies equalised 20 minutes later, Liam Noble’s clever back heel beating Iain Turner from close range.
After the break, the Magpies came close to taking the lead on a number of occasions, Balint Bajner and Garry Thompson coming closest to find the back of the net.
Against the run of play, the Blades went back in front through Matt Done, who finished from close range after Notts failed to clear.
The Magpies continued to press in search of another equaliser, but the visitors held on for the three points.
The Magpies were named unchanged by manager Shaun Derry after the 1-0 victory over Leyton Orient a week ago. The midweek win at the Matchroom Stadium took only a first half goal from Balint Bajner to seal the three points, and the Hungarian striker kept his place in the side for the midweek visit from Sheffield United.
Mike Edwards too kept his place in the side after coming in to the team at Leyton Orient and being a key player in keeping the clean sheet. New signing Sean Newton started the game from the bench after the left back joined the club on loan till the end of the season from Lincoln City.
It took seven minutes for the first signs of breaking the deadlock and it was Notts who had the first opportunity of the game. Balint Bajner held up the ball on the left, he allowed Blair Adams to run beyond him before finding him brilliantly. The left back whipped in an excellent cross, which was just over the head of Garry Thompson. Curtis Thompson picked up the loose ball and back heeled it to Mustapha Dumbuya in the box. He shot first time, but completely miss kicked the ball before the visitors got the ball clear.
Down the other end, Sheffield United were only inches away from taking the lead. John Brayford put in a cross from the right and it found its way to the back post. Jamie Murphy was waiting as he took a touch and hit his shot for the near post. His effort went narrowly wide.
With fifteen minutes gone, it was Jamie Murphy with the chance again for the visitors, this time resulting in a goal. A throw in was taken from the left to Murphy; he cut inside and bent a wonderful shot into the top corner, giving Roy Carroll no chance.
Sheffield United were full of confidence after breaking the deadlock and looked to add a second. It was Jason Holt this time that cut inside, his shot stung Carroll’s chest before the Magpies got the ball clear. Matt Done too went close; his volley from inside the box went wide of Carroll’s right post.
Notts did have half an opportunity to get back into the game midway through the first half. Liam Noble picked up the ball inside the opposition half and played a delightful through ball to Garry Thompson. Thompson was closed down quickly, his first time shot thundered past the near post.
Notts continued to build on that pressure and were rewarded with an equaliser ten minutes before half time. Brilliant control by Curtis Thompson allowed him the space to put a ball across goal. The ball somehow found its way to Liam Noble just in front of the keeper with his back to goal. He back heeled it fantastically beyond Iain Turner to get the Magpies level.
Garry Thompson then had an opportunity inside the box; his half volley flew just over the bar. It was then Thompson who became creator as he pulled a pass across goal for Liam Noble running in. The midfielder blazed the ball over the bar from the edge of the area as he looked to get his and Notts’ second of the game.
HT: Notts County 1 – 1 Sheffield United
Notts started the second half brilliantly and were incredibly close to taking the lead only minutes after the break. Bajner’s terrific control and pass put Garry Thompson in one on one with Iain Turner, the goalkeeper did excellently however to deny Thompson from placing the ball into the back of the net, getting down well and tipping it wide.
Liam Noble too had a chance from the edge of the box. Blair Adams played the ball to him and he tried his luck from distance. A good block denied the midfielder from giving the Magpies the lead.
Notts were easily the better side for the next 15 minutes, playing the ball about nicely, whilst putting huge amounts of pressure onto United’s defence, forcing them to make mistakes. Curtis Thompson put a delightful cross into the box for Bajner, who made excellent contact with the ball, but his volley went just wide of the post.
Despite being on the back foot for a majority of the second half, Sheffield United took the lead with 15 minutes left. A ball was put in from the left by Marc McNulty, but it wasn’t cleared by the Notts defence, leaving Matt Done to finish from close range to give the Blades the lead.
Notts continued to play their game despite going behind. They looked to put pressure on United and looked for that opportunity to get level once again. Liam Noble created space for himself on the edge of the box, before trying his luck. His shot was dipping, but not enough as it went just over the bar.
The Magpies searched for the equaliser once again, but couldn’t break through the Sheffield United defence as the Blades held on for all three points.
Substitutes: Pilkington, Hollis, Newton, White, Daniels, Woolery, Harrad
Sheffield United: Turner, Harris, Brayford, Basham, Doyle ©, Murphy, Done (Freeman, 88), Coutts, Reed (McNulty, 63), Kennedy, Holt (Alcock, 86)
Subsitutes: Willis, Alcock, McNulty, Davies, Campbell-Ryce, Freeman, Adams