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06 April 2019 Venue Meadow Lane Attendance

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Preview: Northampton (H)

5 April 2019

Notts County welcome Northampton Town to Meadow Lane this weeke

After winning 3-0 at Stevenage last week, their biggest victory of the season, the Magpies will look to follow it up with a win in front of their own fans when the Cobblers visit.

They’ve struggled on home soil recently, though, not scoring at Meadow Lane in March and failing to win at home since the Nottinghamshire Derby in mid-February.

With six games remaining this season, the Magpies will be hoping they have turned a corner with their big victory last week and could climb out of the bottom two with a win.

Meanwhile, Northampton have recovered from their slow start to the campaign to occupy a comfortable spot in mid-table, with an outside chance of the play-offs.

The stars would have to align for them to finish in the top seven come 4 May, but nine points off with 18 to play for gives them some hope.

They suffered a setback in their last game, though, losing 2-1 at home to Port Vale despite taking the lead inside five minutes and playing with an extra man for most of the contest.

Both sides will be chasing the points to help achieve their respective aims and there’s an added ingredient as Northampton boss Keith Curle returns to Meadow Lane after managing Notts between 2012 and 2013.

Ardley says…

“We’ve had to fight and scrap just to get ourselves into contention and the boys have left everything on the pitch over the last few weeks.

“Our sole purpose is getting the club where it needs to be by 4 May and we have to keep our minds on our aim and ride with the ups and downs because there will be twists.

“The key is not to play ineffective football. We’ve avoided doing that both offensively and defensively in recently weeks.

“Northampton are a team with a lot of height who are strong on set pieces and we can take confidence from overcoming a big, powerful Stevenage side last week.”

Keith Curle says…

“We didn’t work hard enough last week and if you don’t do that you won’t get your rewards.

“There are fundamentals that you need to do in order to nullify the opposition and we need to do the horrible side of the game on Saturday.

“Everything this week has been geared towards our visit to Notts and the players will be up for it.

“We have made it clear what is expected individually and collectively and I want them to play with freedom.”

Team news

Ardley has no fresh injury concerns following last week’s victory and has an almost fully-fit squad to choose from.

Long-term absentee Elliott Hewitt will continue to miss out, however, after seeing a specialist for his knee issue, but it looks as though he will be able to avoid surgery.

Curle has welcomed Junior Morais back to training this week and he is in contention for Saturday’s game, while Jordan Turnbull has responded well after receiving injections for an ankle injury.

On-loan defender George Cox has returned to Northampton after undergoing rehabilitation work at parent club Brighton, but the weekend’s clash is likely to come too soon.

We’ve met before

Northampton were victorious on their last visit to Meadow Lane with Rod McDonald and Brendan Moloney on target either side of Jon Stead’s strike for Notts in November 2015.

The Magpies had won the two previous meetings of the sides, which came in the 2009-10 campaign, while this season’s reverse fixture ended goalless at the PTS Academy Stadium.

Elsewhere in League Two

Notts could haul themselves out of the dropzone for the first time in 2019 on Saturday, but that is dependent on how fellow relegation candidates Yeovil and Macclesfield get on.

The Magpies and the Glovers are level on 36 points, with the Silkmen bottom of the table on 35, and any combination of the three could populate the bottom two come 5pm on Saturday.

Yeovil have lost five in a row and have scored just once in that period so will hope for a change of fortunes as they travel to Swindon. The Robins are four points off the play-offs with a game in hand so they are sure to prove difficult opposition.

Macclesfield, meanwhile, play host to Morecambe who all but secured their safety with victory last week. The Silkmen are three matches unbeaten and earned a valuable point against league leaders Lincoln last time out.

Crawley, beaten by the Shrimps last week, have lost three in a row and could be starting to look over their shoulders as they are just seven points clear of the dropzone. They will look to stop the rot when Forest Green visit.

There’s a big clash at the top of the table as first-placed Lincoln make the trip to second-placed MK Dons, while Bury are in danger of losing their automatic promotion spot if they suffer defeat at Carlisle – that would be their third straight reverse.

The afternoon’s officials

Referee: Ben Toner

Assistants: Natalie Aspinall and Stephen Wade

Fourth official: Robert Atkin

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Match Reports

Notts 2-2 Northampton

6 April 2019

Ten-man Notts County drew 2-2 with Northampton Town on a dramatic afternoon at Meadow Lane.

The sides went into the break level after Daniel Powell cancelled out Mitch Rose's superb opening goal.

But Ryan Schofield's dismissal immediately after half-time led to Sam Hoskins firing the visitors ahead with the resultant free-kick, leaving Notts with a big mountain to climb.

Neal Ardley's men wasted no time in restoring parity, Kane Hemmings getting into space at the back post to level things up, before the Magpies had to defend their goal heroically - which they did to claim a point.

Ardley named an unchanged squad after overseeing a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Stevenage last weekend.

That meant skipper Jon Stead continued up front, supported by Kane Hemmings and Enzio Boldewijn on either flank.

There was little to choose between the sides in the opening exchanges, with Charlie Goode seeing an early yellow card for a cynical foul on Hemmings and Jordan Turnbull dragging a shot wide from 20 yards before the Magpies claimed the first goal on 27 minutes.

It came from Rose, who did brilliantly to win the ball in midfield before Hemmings saw his long-range effort blocked. It bounced back to the 24-year-old, though, and he showed superb technique to half-volley it into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Notts' hopes of taking a lead into half-time were quashed on 44 minutes, however, as Hoskins' low cross into the middle was turned home by the unmarked Powell at the back post.

There was controversy before the break when Northampton failed to return the ball to Notts after the referee had stopped play to allow one of their players to receive treatment.

The Magpies' furious protestations eventually resulted in a booking for Richard Duffy, adding to Notts' frustrations.

And it was about to get a whole lot worse for Notts who, moments after emerging for the second half unchanged, were reduced to 10 men.

Sam Stubbs' poor backpass saw Powell race through one-on-one with Schofield, who brought the forward down as he tried to get round him outside the area.

Referee Ben Toner produced a straight red card and Ross Fitzsimons' first act after replacing Boldewijn was to line up his wall to defend the free-kick, which would be taken inside the 'D'.

And Fitzsimons was left helpless as Hoskins' low strike, which appeared to take a deflection, nestled in the back of the net.

Notts now had it all to do - but they wasted no time in rising to the challenge, restoring parity almost immediately.

It was a similar goal to Northampton's equaliser, with Stead rolling the ball across the face of goal for Hemmings to turn it home at the back stick - his 13th of the season.

Fitzsimons showed good handling to prevent the Cobblers from restoring their lead minutes later, hanging on to a low free-kick after it had taken a ricochet off Hoskins six yards out.

It was proving to be a tempestuous afternoon and a double Notts booking saw Hemmings cautioned for delaying the taking of a Northampton free-kick before Rose inexplicably saw yellow for what looked like a perfectly executed slide-tackle.

Fitzsimons was called back into action shortly afterwards, again denying Hoskins who had flicked the ball goalwards from a corner.

And a quickfire bombardment was to follow as some heroic Notts defending somehow kept Northampton at bay.

Hoskins was involved once again, receiving a cute ball into his feet in the area but failing to beat Fitzsimons from 10 yards. Hemmings then had to get back on the line to deny the visitors on the rebound, before what seemed like the whole of Notts' team crowded out the area and eventually snuffed out the danger.

Ardley replaced Stead with Pierce Bird in an attempt to stem the flow but Northampton kept pressing, seeing a Goode cross-shot somehow turned behind before Sam Foley's 25-yarder was tipped wide brilliantly by Fitzsimons.

Hoskins' next action earned him a booking for a late challenge on Doyle near the corner flag.

And he was followed into the book by his team-mate Aaron Pierre not long afterwards, who had fouled Hemmings.

Ardley's final change saw the striker replaced by Craig Mackail-Smith shortly before six minutes were added on at the end of the match.

And the substitute came close to netting a dramatic winner after unleasing a speculative 25-yard effort which whistled just wide of the post.

That was to be the last of the goalmouth action, however, as Notts remained level on points with Yeovil and a point ahead of bottom-place Macclesfield.

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