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01 January 2018 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: Port Vale (H)

Notts begin new year against resurgent Vale

1 January 2018

Notts County host Port Vale in their first game of 2018 looking to get back to winning ways in Sky Bet League Two.

The Magpies ended 2017 with a narrow 1-0 defeat at Swindon on Saturday afternoon but have an almost-immediate chance to make amends for their first league loss in two-and-a-half months.

Vale, meanwhile, have been revitalised under Neil Aspin, moving 11 points clear of the relegation zone under their former defender, who made more than 400 appearances for the club.

The Staffordshire outfit won four of their five games in December, including an eye-catching 4-0 win against league leaders Luton Town. They are opponents Notts certainly cannot take lightly.

Notts boss Kevin Nolan says...

"They had a great result at the weekend so they will be on a high but teams have raised their game against us all season so we expect it to be another tough game.

"It's about us. We have to get to our levels and, if we do that, there are not many teams in the league who can match us.

"But we will show them the utmost respect, as we do to all of our opponents, to ensure we give ourselves the best opportunity to win the game."

Port Vale manager Neil Aspin says...

"If we don’t play at the top of our game, regardless of where the opposition are in the table, we won’t get anything.

“It’s a case of trying to get our team to do everything right on the day and doing the things you need to do to win games.

“That doesn’t guarantee you success, but it gives you a chance.”

Team news

Kevin Nolan described Richard Duffy, Jonathan Forte and Shola Ameobi as "touch and go" for the game after the trio missed the 1-0 defeat at Swindon Town on Saturday.

Adam Collin is back in training but remains a few weeks away from a possible return to action, while midfielder Rob Milsom will be sidelined.


Playing and scoring goals for the club he supports, Pope is a true local hero at Vale Park.

The striker began his professional career at local rivals Crewe Alexandra before leaving for Rotherham United, where he spent two seasons.

He secured a loan move to Vale in January 2011 and made the move permanent that summer.

His start to life at his boyhood club was slow with eight goals in 58 appearances but the 2012-13 season saw Pope win the club's Player of the Year award after scoring 33 goals in 51 games to fire the Valiants to promotion from League Two.

After keeping Vale in League One with a further 28 goals across two seasons, the striker left to join Bury, but returned to Vale Park this summer after two disappointing years at Gigg Lane.

The 32-year-old targetman is enjoying life under Neil Aspin, scoring 12 goals under the club’s new manager so far and receiving the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month award for October.

We've met before...

Notts won the previous meeting earlier this season 1-0 thanks to Lewis Alessandra's goal minutes after coming on as a substitute at Vale Park.

None of the previous 18 meetings between the sides have ended in a draw - a run which stretches back to May 1995.

What are the odds?

Sky Bet have priced Notts up as 10/11 favourites to take all three points, while the Valiants are 16/5 to be the first team this season to come away from Meadow Lane with three points in Sky Bet League Two. The draw is 12/5.

Another 1-0 win for the Magpies can be backed at 11/2

Notts are 3/1 to win the game with both teams scoring or 21/10 to win the game to-nil.

Could a former Vale man make the difference for Notts? There are certainly plenty to choose from with Richard Duffy, Carl Dickinson and Dan Jones (above) all available in the first goalscorer market at 28/1, 20/1 and 40/1 respectively.

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 1-0 Port Vale

Stead penalty wins the day

1 January 2018

Jon Stead struck a late penalty to secure a 1-0 win over Port Vale in Notts County's first game of 2018

The forward was bundled over in the area on 86 minutes and dispatched the subsequent spotkick to keep Notts seven points clear of fourth-placed Wycombe Wanderers.

Kevin Nolan made three changes to the team that were beaten 1-0 by Swindon Town.

Dan Jones, Richard Duffy (C) and Jonathan Forte all came into the starting 11, replacing the bench-bound Carl Dickinson, Liam Walker and Terry Hawkridge.

The sides traded tentative blows in the early exchanges, Tom Anderson firing the ball over the bar before Shaun Brisley was inches away from connecting with Jones' inswinging free-kick at the near post.

Duffy did brilliantly to block Ben Whitfield's goalbound effort before Forte, Jorge Grant and Lewis Alessandra all saw efforts deflect out for corners as the sides continued their pursuit of the breakthrough goal.

Notts were up in arms on 23 minutes when Brisley got across his marker in his attempts to meet Hewitt's lofted pass and appeared to be hauled down on the edge of the area. The referee was unmoved and play continued.

The Magpies used that frustration to their benefit moments later, Tootle bringing the ball down superbly on the right and cutting the ball back for  Stead. The experienced front man decided to take his shot first time and could only send the ball over the bar.

Notts came close again three minutes later when Forte diverted Jones' free-kick goalwards only for Vale keeper Ryan Boot to get down well to make the save.

Ex-Valiant Duffy was having an interesting battle with Tom Pope, the visitors' top scorer, and the Notts man found himself in the book following an altercation with the forward as half-time neared.

Yates saw a header saved before being clattered by Pope in the centre circle minutes later, much to the fury of the Notts players and fans. The Vale man escaped punishment.

Whitfield fired a bouncing ball over the top and Antony Kay headed wide from a corner shortly before the referee called time on a closely-fought first half.

There were no Notts changes at the break and they quickly resumed their search for the opening goal, Forte running on to a long ball over the top but prodding the ball wide under pressure from two defenders and the onrushing keeper.

Alessandra saw a volley deflect wide before Vale showed their hand for the first time in the second half, Anderson seeing his own deflected effort fly wide before glancing a header off-target from a set-piece.

It was bodies on the line for Notts moments later as Marcus Harness weaved his way into home territory, seeing two efforts blocked.

Pope found his way into the book following another clash with Duffy shortly afterwards, before Grant saw penalty appeals waved away after he went down under Harness' challenge in the area.

Notts' first change saw Callum Saunders replace Forte up front and the forward had an immediate opportunity when the ball looped down to him in the area. In space with his back to goal, he could only nod it wide.

Elliott Hewitt's name was the next in the referee's notebook for remonstrating with the referee after he had collided with Boot and the keeper had stayed down to receive treatment.

A 0-0 draw looked imminent when Vale sub Worrall planted a header straight at Fitzsimons with 11 minutes to play.

But, as they so often do, Notts forced the issue late on. Stead latched on to a ball in the area and was hauled back by Harness, leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot.

Stead smashed the resultant penalty to Boot's right to give Notts a late lead to protect.

Port Vale came on strong, applying forcing an excellent piece of defending from Duffy as the game entered four minutes' added time.

But, with the help of Alan Smith, on for Stead, the Magpies held firm to start the new year in the best possible way.

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Ticket News

Tickets: Port Vale (H)

31 December 2017

Tickets for Notts County's Sky Bet League Two match against Port Vale on Monday 1 January (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.

Click here for Christmas/New Year opening hours.

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