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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

1-2
09 February 2019 Venue The New Lawn Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Preview: Forest Green (A)

8 February 2019

Notts County travel to Forest Green Rovers on Saturday looking to build on last weekend’s draw with table-topping Lincoln.

The Magpies fielded four of their deadline day signings as they put in a gritty display to earn a point against the Sky Bet League Two leaders.

A first win of 2019 still alludes them, though, and they will hope to put that right at The New Lawn when they face one of the division’s surprise packages.

Rovers occupy fourth spot in League Two, sitting three points off the automatic promotion places, which is quite a step-up from their finish of 21st last season.

In fact, they’ve already accumulated four more points than they did in the entirety of 2017-18 and have lost just five times all season – a tally bettered only by the top two, Lincoln and Mansfield.

Forest Green have the best away record in the division but have only won five of their 15 home games, with three of their defeats coming in front of their own fans.

Notts boss Neal Ardley says…

“Mark Cooper has them playing great football. They make it easy for themselves by pinning teams in and retaining possession.

“We’ll have to be very good without the ball whether we press or sit off because they’ll play through us if we get it wrong.

“We will set the team up tactically to make sure we’re not opened up easily but we have to go there to try and win the game and make sure our attacking threats shine through.

“We don’t want to come away feeling like we’ve been safe so we have to show them that if they turn the ball over they will have difficulty stopping us.”

Forest Green boss Mark Cooper says…

“Based on their side last week, Notts have a little bit of everything. They’ve got some good experience and characters in there mixed with young legs.

“They have Jon Stead who is a brilliant professional and Michael Doyle who is an outstanding player who gets promotions out of this league for fun.

“We fully respect their threats but have to do what we do and if we play well we have a chance to win.

“We’ve got to win our personal battles and fight and scrap but also be calm and get the ball down when the chance arises.”

Team news

All eight of Notts’ January signings featured in last week’s draw with Lincoln and Ardley has no fresh injury concerns.

Kane Hemmings came through unscathed against the Imps while Andy Kellett played an hour for the reserves in midweek and adds another option to the Magpies’ midfield.

Rovers’ goalkeeper James Montgomery is still missing with a facial injury, while the match comes too soon for Dayle Grubb who won’t be back in training until next week.

Shawn McCoulsky grabbed a hat-trick for Forest Green’s reserves on Tuesday and has given Cooper something to think about in attack.

Head to head

Notts were handed their only ever defeat to Forest Green in September despite Stead’s first league goal of the season as strikes from Liam Shepherd, Reuben Reid and Grubb earned Rovers the points.

The Magpies won 2-1 on their solitary trip to The New Lawn with Matt Tootle grabbing an 80th-minute winner after Liam Noble and Tahvon Campbell scored either side of half-time.

Elsewhere in League Two

Second-bottom Macclesfield host Crewe, who’ve won their last three to climb to 11th in the table, while Morecambe – who sit just outside the dropzone – host third-placed Bury.

19th visits 20th as Port Vale travel to Cambridge, where both sides will be hoping to put distance between themselves and the relegation zone with a win.

Yeovil will look to end a run of three straight defeats when they host Grimsby, while Cheltenham are looking to add to their back-to-back wins as they visit Colchester.

The afternoon’s officials

Referee: Neil Hair

Assistants: Matthew Lee and Andrew Hendley

Fourth official: Matthew Jones

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Match Reports

Forest Green 1-2 Notts

9 February 2019

Jim O'Brien and Enzio Boldewijn fired Notts County to a 2-1 victory at Forest Green Rovers.

On a frenetic afternoon in Gloucestershire, O'Brien's second-half opener was almost immediately cancelled out by Joseph Mills' free-kick.

But Enzio Boldewijn responded with a superb winner to send Notts' vociferous away following home happy.

Neal Ardley made one change to the side that earned a respectable draw at home to Lincoln.

In came Virgil Gomis for his first EFL start, replacing the bench-bound Lewis Alessandra and playing as an advanced striker supported by Craig Mackail-Smith, Jon Stead and Boldewijn behind him.

And Gomis nearly had the dream start as, within the first 20 seconds, he scampered on to Jim O'Brien's through ball before seeing his shot saved by Lewis Ward. Mackail-Smith was first to the rebound but the Rovers keeper was equal to his effort, too.

Two minutes later Ward was a busy man again as Boldewijn curled a long-range effort goalwards. The ball was dipping under the bar but the keeper was able to tip it over.

It was all Notts in the early exchanges and there was another sight of goal for Boldewijn when he benefited from excellent work by Gomis to fire a left-footed effort goalwards from inside the area. Ward was there once again to make the save.

Mark Cooper's side eventually managed to compose themselves and missed a big chance to take the lead on 14 minutes when the ball fell kindly for Carl Winchester near the penalty spot. He could only blaze it over.

Ryan Schofield easily dealt with Reuben Reid's 35-yard free-kick before Ward kept out Mackail-Smith's effort from a tight angle as the sides jostled for dominance in the middle part of the half.

And the hosts almost had a fortuitous opener when Joseph Mills' long-range strike looped up off Mackail-Smith and momentarily looked destined for the net. To Notts' relief, however, the ball landed on top of the net.

Notts' response was almost immediate as Boldewijn burst through midfield and threaded Gomis into the area. The young forward tried to beat Ward at his near post but could ony find the side-netting.

Stubbs blocked from Winchester, Doidge's tame effort on the turn was comfortably saved and a scramble in the Notts area passed without the deadlock being broken as half-time approached.

And, shortly after Doidge went into the book for a foul on O'Brien, the referee called time on an entertaining opening 45 minutes.

Notts returned for the second half unchanged and twice came agonisingly close to opening the scoring within minutes of the restart.

Boldewijn cut in from the left and, in classic style, unleashed a well-struck shot from just outside the area which Ward did brilliantly to push out for a corner.

The resultant delivery was met by Barclay, who saw his header cleared off the line.

Rovers reminded Notts of their own threat moments later when Schofield was forced to tip Reid's well-struck effort on to the woodwork.

But it was Notts who would take the lead when O'Brien was first to a bouncing ball in the Rovers area before curling it into the far corner with a perfectly executed half-volley.

It wasn't to last long, however, as Schofield conceded a free-kick after being adjudged to have punched the ball outside his area. The keeper was yellow carded and Rovers had a free-kick on the edge of the area.

Mills stepped up and lashed the ball low through the wall and into the bottom corner.

Doidge hit the side-netting as Rovers looked to capitalise on their momentum following their equaliser and Ardley made his first change shortly afterwards, sending Kane Hemmings on for Gomis.

And Ardley's final changes came on 74 minutes as Elliott Hewitt and Alessandra replaced Mackail-Smith and Stead.

The game was anyone's for the taking and Boldewijn grabbed it by the scruff of the neck with 14 minutes to go, racing away down the left and once again cutting inside on his right foot. This time there was nothing Ward could do as the Dutchman found the top corner with a beautiful strike.

Notts nearly killed the game off when Hemmings volleyed the ball goalwards only for Ward to keep it out.

And they wished they had when six minutes of added time were indicated at the end of the 90.

But the Magpies saw the game out superbly to pick up a huge three points.

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Ticket News

Tickets: Forest Green Rovers (A)

8 February 2019

Tickets for Notts County’s Sky Bet League Two trip to Forest Green Rovers will be available on the day.

The allocation of seated and covered terrace tickets have now sold out but plenty of uncovered terrace tickets remain.

Prices

Adult: £18

65 and over: £14

16-21: £9

Under 16: £6

Under 11: Free*

*With a full paying adult/senior match tickets.

Disabled supporters

In line with Forest Green’s policy, tickets for supporters with a disability and their personal assistants are available to those on the middle or high level of PIPS or DLA from the DWP, enhanced rate of PIPs or Severe Disablement Allowance.

Ambulant disabled supporters should obtain tickets in advance from Notts County. They are priced at the appropriate age-related rate for the disabled supporter with a personal assistant ticket issued free of charge.

Notts have been allocated two pairs of wheelchair disabled and personal assistant tickets charged at the seated, age-related price for the disabled supporter with a personal assistant ticket issued free of charge.

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