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26 August 2023 Venue Meadow Lane Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Reports

Report: Notts 2-1 Tranmere

McGoldrick and Rawlinson on target

26 August 2023

We collected a thoroughly-deserved win on what proved to be a nerve-racking afternoon against Tranmere Rovers.

Heading into the game's latter stages 2-0 up thanks to goals from David McGoldrick and Connell Rawlinson, it looked like we were cruising to victory on a day of total dominance.

But an injury to Cedwyn Scott, one of our maximum number of five substitutes, saw us go down to 10 men and, after Joshua Hawkes scored in the 88th minute, tensions were running high.

Our nerves weren't helped by eight minutes of added time being signalled but, after Richard Brindley made a huge block right at the death, the referee called time.

Luke Williams made two changes to the team he selected for last weekend’s convincing win at Doncaster.

Aden Baldwin, who went off with a knock in that match, had to settle for a place on the bench along with Sam Austin as Rawlinson and Aaron Nemane came into the XI.

That meant we reverted to the same back three that faced Grimsby in our first home game of the season, with Rawlinson on the right, Brindley in the middle and Kyle Cameron on the left.

In-form Jodi Jones played on the opposite flank to Nemane, with Dan Crowley and McGoldrick supporting Macaulay Langstaff – fresh from his two-goal haul in Yorkshire.

We started the game well and created a big chance inside six minutes when Crowley brilliantly released Nemane into the area, only for the wing-back to see his attempted cut-back cleared away.

It didn’t take us much longer to have the ball in the net, though, as McGoldrick took Crowley's pass neatly into his path before finding the bottom corner with an excellent low finish from the edge of the area.

Three minutes later it was very nearly two as Aidan Stone played a superb ball over the top of the Rovers defence, with Langstaff managing to bring the ball down inside the area. His momentum took him wide, though, and Luke McGee was able to push his shot wide.

It was proving to be a busy period for Langstaff who, a minute later, should probably have made it two when he stretched to meet Bostock’s brilliant cross, only to see his close-range effort saved.

And Langstaff saw another big chance pass him by seconds later as Jones’ early cross caught the Rovers defence cold once again, with Langstaff only able to send the ball bouncing over the bar from inside the six-yard box.

It had been one-way traffic until the 24th minute, when McGoldrick was dispossessed in midfield, allowing Tranmere to play Kieron Morris into space down the left. The winger got into the area but blazed his shot over and wide of the near post.

We didn’t allow that to affect our dominance, though, and went close yet again on 31 minutes as a defender nearly headed Palmer’s dangerous cross into his own net.

That proved to be the final notable action of the half and, after re-emerging for the second period unchanged, we continued to dominate - and the Kop couldn’t believe we didn’t double our lead before the hour mark as McGoldrick curled a shot off the post moments before Crowley turned Palmer’s low cross wide when he looked certain to score.

And another golden opportunity passed us by five minutes later as Nemane did brilliantly to dance into a crossing position before picking out McGoldrick at the far post. Somehow, he could only head the ball against the bar from a yard out and the visitors managed to clear the ball behind.

But, from the subsequent short-corner, our incessant pressure told as Crowley deceived the Rovers defence to slip Palmer to the byline and his low cross was turned home by Rawlinson inside the six-yard box.

A succession of substitutions followed, with Tobi Adebayo and Baldwin entering the action shortly before being joined by Jim O’Brien, Austin and Scott.

But, nine minutes later, Scott was forced off the field with a knee injury and, no doubt sensing they’d been given a potential lifeline, Tranmere drew a superb fingertip save from Stone to send the ball crashing against the bar.

Scott returned to the field to try and finish the game as the visitors continued to push for a route back into the contest, Sam Taylor blazing a big chance over the bar following Kane Hemmings’ lay-off.

Scott couldn’t carry on any longer, leaving us to protect our lead with 10 men – and three minutes later the deficit was halved when Hawkes emphatically lashed the ball home inside the area.

With the game wide open, Jones saw a powerful shot saved and Langstaff had an effort blocked moments before eight added minutes were signalled.

Six minutes in, Langstaff had big handball appeals waved away after a defender got in the way of another of his efforts in the area, before Bostock saw an attempted lob go over the bar from the edge of the box.

There was to be one last excruciating moment at the other end as the match entered the ninth minute of stoppage time, Brindley getting in the way of a fiercely-struck shot which was destined for the back of the net.

And that proved to be as decisive a moment as any as, seconds later, the referee called time on an incredible afternoon.

STARTING XI: Stone; Cameron, Brindley, Rawlinson (Baldwin 67'); Jones, Nemane (Adebayo 67'); Bostock, Palmer (O'Brien 71'), Crowley (Austin 71'), McGoldrick (Scott 71'); Langstaff

SUBS: Slocombe, Chicksen

BOOKINGS: Crowley 56', Palmer 60', Cameron 90+8'

ATTENDANCE: 10,174 (805)

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