Notts County exited the JPT with a heavy defeat to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. The visitors were 3-0 down at half time, Jon Stead's goal unable to spark a revival for Notts who ended the game with ten men.
Notts County won the first corner of the game, Adam Campbell beating Kieron Freeman on the left wing, cutting into the box before Harrison McGahey recovered to give the away side the first corner of the night. Liam Noble’s low ball in just missed Izale McLeod and Sheffield United looked to immediately hit County on the counter attack, immediately winning a corner up the other end.
From the corner Scott Loach was called into action for the first time. The ball was only half cleared, finding it’s way back into the box to an unmarked Stefan Scougall who drove low towards the far post, Loach saving well with his feet.
In the 19th minute the home side took the lead. Jamal Campbell-Ryce was given space on the right wing, cutting inside Thierry Audel with the linesman judging the full back to have pulled the wide man back inside the box. Jose Baxter stepped up from the spot and drove the penalty low into Loach’s right hand corner, the keeper unable to get a hand to the ball.
A minute later and County were almost level. Noble latched onto a long ball over the top, rounding an indecisive George Long, but the midfielder’s touch took him wide, creating a tight angle. Notts' top scorer tried to float the ball over the two covering defenders on the line, the ball landing on top of the crossbar and bouncing clear.
In the next attack The Blades doubled their lead. Che Adams sent Matt Done clear through the middle, splitting County's defence, the striker raced into the box before dinking the ball past the exposed Loach.
Noble had the chance to pull one back just before the half hour mark after McLeod was fouled 22 yards out. The midfielder curled the free kick towards goal, but it was never troubling Long as it flew over the bar.
It was almost three for the hosts 15 minutes before the break. A solo run from Scougall saw him beat Elliott Hewitt on the left hand side, getting into the box before firing across goal, the midfielder's shot narrowly missing the far post.
Ten minutes before half time it was three, Baxter scoring his second from the penalty spot. The goalscorer ran through the midfield before sliding the ball to Che Adams inside the box, the striker beat Haydn Hollis who slid in and caught Adams, the referee pointing straight to the spot. Loach dived to his right again, but Baxter send the spot kick high down the middle of the goal and into the net.
Long was forced into his first save of the night in first half stoppage time, Graham Burke driving on the angle from 30 yards, the stopper tipping it wide for a corner. From the corner Hollis rose highest but could only head it over the bar for the last action of the first half.
Ricardo Moniz reacted at half time by making a double substitution, Gill Swerts and Jon Stead replacing Mike Edwards and Graham Burke for the second half.
The home side started the second 45 minutes the strongest, but it was County who had the first shot. Jon Stead capitalising on McGahey's miscontorl, Long making a good save at his near post. This started a flurry of corners for Notts, with four successive corners ending in Hollis looping a header over the bar after Long had failed to get any distance on his punch.
Baxter almost had his hat trick before the hour mark, meeting Scougall's free kick at the back post, but the midfielder could only find the side netting. Before Loach could take the goal kick, Alan Smith came on for Stanley Aborah in Moniz's third and final change.
In the 61st minute Notts County pulled a goal back with their best move of the match. A stint of one touch football in the middle saw Smith play the ball out to Adam Campbell, he laid it to Hewitt on the overlap in acres of space. The full back got to the byline before swinging a cross in to former Sheffield United striker Stead, who finished past Long from six yards.
Any hope of a revival was extinguished with 24 minutes left on the clock. The home side won a contentious corner, Stefan Scougall playing the ball short before receiving it back. The unmarked midfielder strode into the area, curling his shot past Loach and into the far corner.
The home side almost had a fifth in the 69th minute. Baxter seized on Stead's loose touch, crossing low from the right to Matt Done, the scorer of The Blades' second controlled the ball before turning and striking towards goal, Hewitt bravely blocking from six yards.
It was five for Sheffield United in the 74th minute. Che Adams got the better of Hollis, breaking into the box before the centre back thwarted his run with a cynical trip, referee Carl Boyeson pointing to the spot, giving hollis his marching orders in the process.
It was Adams who dusted himself off and drove the ball past Loach and straight down the middle of the goal for the home side's fifth of the night, three of which had come from the penalty spot.
That was it for the scoring, Alan Smith firing a late effort over Long's bar but county couldn't find a second, Sheffield United comfortably seeing out three minutes of added time to secure their route through to the next round.
Notts: Loach, Hollis, Noble, Hewitt, Barmby, Campbell, Burke (Stead 46), Audel, Aborah (c) (Smith 58), Edwards (Swerts 46), McLeod
Goals: Stead 61'
Red Cards: Hollis 73'
Unused Subs: Pilkington, Sprockel
Att: 5,497 (Away 411)