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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

0-3
19 December 2020 Venue Craik Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

Morpeth Town
0 - 3
FT
Notts County
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Match Reports

Morpeth 0-3 Notts

A convincing win in difficult conditions

19 December 2020

We progressed to the fourth round of the Buildbase FA Trophy with a 3-0 win over Morpeth Town.

An early strike from Elisha Sam was added to by Sam Graham and Jimmy Knowles after the break as we saw off a side from two leagues below us.

Neal Ardley stuck to his promise of giving opportunities to those who had been starved of action in recent weeks.

One man to benefit was Luke Pilling, who took his place between the sticks for his debut. In front of him, Alex Lacey partnered Sam Graham in the heart of defence, with Richard Brindley and Adam Chicksen at full-back.

With Michael Doyle on the bench, Jim O’Brien took the captain’s armband and lined up alongside Matty Wolfe in central midfield.

Tom Walker and Elisha Sam were our wide options, with Ruben Rodrigues playing off Jimmy Knowles up front.

And it was Sam who gave us the perfect start when, on six minutes, he received the ball from Walker on the edge of the area and beat opposition keeper Dan Lowson at his near post with a well struck low shot.

We worked an opportunity for a second moments later as Rodrigues played Knowles into the area only for the youngster to flash his shot well off-target.

Sam had another glimpse at goal on 16 minutes when Brindley picked him out with an excellent cross from the right, only for the big man to head the ball a yard or so wide of the post.

It was proving to be a tough afternoon’s work for both sides on a boggy, bobbly pitch but the visitors enjoyed a decent spell midway through the half when Chris Reid saw a shot deflected wide by Brindley, Jack Foalle hit a long-ranger wide and Andrew Johnson sent a shot straight at Pilling.

But we were largely comfortable throughout and, after Knowles had seen a shot deflected into the side-netting, the referee called time on the half.

Dion Kelly-Evans replaced Brindley at half-time and we soon set about doubling our lead, Sam cutting in from the left and firing a powerful shot a yard or so over the bar.

Rodrigues was the next man to have a go, seeing a shot diverted behind by a defender, and we didn’t have to wait much longer to hit the back of the net again.

Graham was the man of the moment, stooping low at the back post to head the ball home from a  corner.

Pilling denied the hosts an immediate response with a decent save down to his left from Connor Oliver and, shortly afterwards, we put the game to bed when Sam won the ball back in his own penalty area and led a counter-attack which caught Morpeth cold. He played the ball to Knowles who had a clear run on goal, allowing him to round the keeper and tuck the ball away.

Boldewijn replaced Rodrigues shortly afterwards as heavy rain began to fall on Craik Park.

And Sam had an opportunity to add late gloss to the scoreline when he latched on to a ball over the top, checked back on himself in the area and flashed a low shot across goal and wide.

There was still time for Lacey to clear a header off the line late on to preserve our clean sheet as we secured our place in Monday's fourth-round draw.

Notts starting XI: Pilling; Chicksen, Graham, Lacey, Brindley; Sam, O'Brien, Wolfe, Walker; Rodrigues, Knowles

Unused subs: Kean, Rawlinson, Doyle, Wootton

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