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23 December 2017 Venue Meadow Lane Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Preview: Cambridge (H)

23 December 2017

Notts County host Cambridge United in their final home game of the calendar year as the 2017-18 season reaches the halfw

The Magpies were held to a goalless draw against Grimsby Town last weekend, which extended their unbeaten run in Sky Bet League Two to eight games.

Cambridge, meanwhile, arrive at Meadow Lane as the joint-lowest scorers in the division with 18 goals in 22 games. The U's have won one of their last eight outings to slide six points away from the play-off places.

Should Notts avoid defeat, they will have navigated the calendar year with just one loss on home turf in the league - against last season's League Two champions Portsmouth.

But United, who have former Notts boss Shaun Derry in charge, will be determined to ruin that record.

Notts assistant manager Richard Thomas says...

"I've been to watch Cambridge a couple of times this season and they're a really good side. I think their league position belies what they offer.

"They might have underachieved, but with Cambridge I think it's to do with availability of key players through suspension or injury.

"It looks like they haven't been able to put out their top individuals consistently, which is why they might have stumbled to this point."

Click here for more from Kevin Nolan's right-hand man.

Cambridge head coach Shaun Derry says...

“It’s great to see them up there and doing well because it’s a fantastic club with tradition and history.

“Kevin has done a terrific job and I am really pleased for him because he’s a great guy. I know him well and he’s really thriving in that environment."

Team news

Goalkeeper Adam Collin returned to full training earlier in the week and could be in contention. Michael O'Connor has stepped up his recovery from a knee injury but is still some time away from making a full return to action.

Cambridge will welcome the return of captain Leon Legge after illness, while striker Uche Ikpeazu completed a suspension by missing last weekend's defeat against Newport.

Dangerman

Uche Ikpeazu left Watford after six loan spells in the summer of 2016 in search of first-team football and hasn't looked back since Cambridge took a punt on the powerful striker.

Initially signed on a short-term deal, the 22-year-old made an impressive start to life at the Abbey Stadium and penned a new contract until the summer of 2018 in October 2016.

The frontman had already made close to 80 EFL appearances before signing for Shaun Derry's team from his loan spells with Crewe Alexandra, Doncaster Rovers, Port Vale and Blackpool.

An eight-goal return for 2016-17 has already been matched for this campaign and, with plenty of games to go, he will be eyeing up a 20-goal haul, which would go some way to securing a top-seven finish for the U's.

What are the odds?

Sky Bet have priced Notts up as 4/5 favourites to take all three points while the U's are 7/2 to be the first team this season to come away from Meadow Lane with three points in League Two. The draw is available at 13/5.

A 2-0 Notts win can be backed at 7/1 or a 3-1 success for the Magpies is 12/1.

Notts are 5/2 to win the game with both teams scoring or 2/1 to win the game to-nil.

You can bet on the game here.

Supporters who sign up to Sky Bet using this link can help the club financially.

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Match Reports

Notts 3-3 Cambridge

Forte rescues point in injury time

23 December 2017

Notts County came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 against Cambridge United at Meadow Lane this afternoon.

A superb strike from Uche Ikpeazu and two goals from Jeavni Brown appeared to have the visitors cruising to victory.

But Lewis Alessandra, Shaun Brisley and Jonathan Forte all scored to earn Notts a point and ensure last season's champions Portsmouth were the only team to beat them on home soil in the league in 2017.

Kevin Nolan named an unchanged team following last weekend's 0-0 draw at home to Grimsby Town.

That meant Ryan Yates kept his place alongside Elliott Hewitt, and the former landed an effort on the roof of Cambridge's net following Jorge Grant's corner.

Grant then saw an effort blocked before being crowded out in the area moments later as the Magpies pressed for the first goal.

Ikpeazu entered the referee's notebook following a coming-together with Shola Ameobi, whose snapshot following the subsequent free-kick was well saved by David Forde.

The referee had his yellow card out again moments later, booking Cambridge man Brown and warning Carl Dickinson after the pair had clashed off the ball.

Ikpeazu had a chance to give his side the lead when George Taft's header dropped at his feet a couple of yards out. The big striker could only turn the ball over.

Jon Stead then had a similar opportunity when he picked up the scraps from Elliott Hewitt's long throw, powering a header straight at Forde from close range.

But it was the visitors who would break the deadlock - and in sensational style. Ikpeazu curled the ball across goal and into the top corner from just inside the Notts area.

Keen to find an equaliser before the break, Notts saw Terry Hawkridge's low, bobbling effort easily dealt with by Forde before Ameobi lobbed the ball on to the roof of the net on the stretch.

There were no changes for either side at the break but there was soon to be an alteration to the scoreline in Cambridge's favour.

Brown, who moments earlier had seen an effort deflected wide, was the man to double his side's lead, curling the ball off the inside of the post from the edge of the area.

Shaun Brisley became the first Notts man to enter the book for a late challenge on Brad Halliday, before a flurry of Notts chances came and went.

The first fell to Ameobi, who received a lay-off from Stead before seeing his deflected effort go wide of the post.

Four minutes later, Ameobi had another sight at goal but couldn't make contact with Grant's effort to turn the ball home.

Notts then had the woodwork rattling when Forde failed to deal with a corner and Yates saw his shot diverted on to the post and behind.

Nolan made his first changes just after the hour, sending on Dan Jones and Alessandra for Carl Dickinson and Hawkridge.

But the oncoming pair were helpless to prevent the Magpies falling further behind when Brown added his second, receiving the ball from fellow scorer Ikpeazu and finding the top corner from 12 yards.

Jake Carroll entered the book for timewasting and Forte replaced Stead as a surpising defeat looked increasingly likely.

But two substitutes combined to hand Notts a lifeline with 16 minutes to play, Jones crossing for Alessandra to nod the ball beyond Forde.

Another headed opportunity followed, this time for Ameobi, but he could only nod Matt Tootle's clipped cross wide.

But all hope was not lost as, with two minutes of normal time remaining, Brisley's heavily deflected effort sent the ball looping up over Forde and into the net.

Notts were given five minutes to find an equaliser - and they got one in dramatic fashion when the ball was kept alive in Cambridge's area before Forte hooked it home to salvage a point for the 'Pies.

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Ticket News

Tickets: Cambridge United (H)

18 December 2017

Tickets for Notts County's Sky Bet League Two match against Cambridge United on Saturday 23 December (3pm) are on general sale.

 

Category Derek Pavis Stand Air-IT Kop Stand Haydn Green Family Stand
Adult £20 £20 £20
Senior (60+) £14 £14 £14
Young adult (18-21) £14 £14 £14
Under 18 (16-17) £7 £7 £7
Under 16 (12-15) £5 £5 £5
Under 12 (7-11) £1 £1 £1
Under 7† Free Free Free

Prices for supporters aged 12 and over will rise by £2 on matchday.

†Under 7s' tickets cannot be claimed online.

How to buy

Tickets can be purchased online and printed at home by clicking here. More information on buying tickets online can be found here.

Alternatively, visit the Meadow Lane ticket office or call 0115 955 7210.

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