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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

04 May 2019 Venue The County Ground Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Preview: Swindon (A)

3 May 2019

Notts County close their 2018-19 season with a trip to Swindon on Saturday with what is arguably the biggest game of their 157-year history.

The Magpies must win at the County Ground to stand any chance of remaining in Sky Bet League Two and need Macclesfield to lose at home to Cambridge as well.

If Notts do manage to beat the drop, they will retain their status as the world’s oldest Football League club and pull off a remarkable escape from relegation – having been in the bottom two since mid-November.

Last Saturday they picked up victory in another must-win encounter – beating Grimsby 2-1 at Meadow Lane to take the battle against the drop to the final day of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Swindon have suffered a downturn in results as the season draws to a close – losing their last two fixtures and drawing four in a row before that.

Their recent run saw them slip out of play-off contention but they will hope to end the season on a positive note in front of their own supporters by recording their first win since the end of March.

Ardley says…

“We’ve got to win a game of football and the best way to do that is by looking forward to it, playing with freedom and having a real go – that’s the mindset I’m trying to create.

“We can’t be nervous or fear the game – we have to play naturally. If we can do that we give ourselves a good chance.

“Rather than having a sense of failure, I’m trying to work on the fact that we’ve taken it to the last game and can achieve something incredible.

“It’s an outside chance but on any of the other 45 weekends, could we win at the same time as Macclesfield lose? Absolutely. When you look at it like that there’s every chance.”

Team news

Ardley’s only fitness concern is over defender Matt Tootle who has missed training through illness this week.

Craig Mackail-Smith has scored on each of his last two outings and will hope to find the target again and weigh in with another important goal.

Swindon’s Matt Taylor’s 20-year career will come to an end when the full-time whistle goes as the 37-year-old retires from the game after making more than 700 professional appearances.

Marc Richards will hope for a starting berth for the Robins after coming off the bench to score in last week’s 3-2 defeat at Cheltenham.

We’ve met before

Swindon were 2-1 winners at Meadow Lane earlier this season, coming from behind to earn the points back in October.

Last season’s meeting at the County Ground finished 1-0 to the Robins as Luke Norris’ goal left Notts beaten in their last game of 2017.

The Magpies last won away to Swindon in April 2011, when Alan Judge and Lee Hughes completed a late turnaround following Matt Ritchie’s early goal for the hosts.

Elsewhere in League Two

As well as needing to win themselves, Notts’ League Two status is dependent on Macclesfield losing at home to Cambridge.

The Silkmen picked up a victory at Port Vale last week and know they realistically only need a point in their final game of the campaign to stay up.

Cambridge are on the worst run of form in the league having lost four and drawn one of their last five fixtures but Notts need a favour from Colin Calderwood’s side.

At the other end of the table, MK Dons host Mansfield in a showdown for the last automatic promotion spot. Paul Tisdale’s side must win to finish third whereas a draw would be enough for the Stags.

Five teams are still in with a chance of securing the final place in the League Two play-offs ahead of Saturday’s action.

Newport are in the driving seat, knowing a win at Morecambe will see them finish seventh.

Exeter are one point behind the Exiles and will be hoping to capitalise on any slip-ups when they travel to Forest Green.

Colchester are a further two points back and must win away to champions Lincoln to stand any chance of a play-off place.

Level on points with the U’s are Carlisle (10th), who travel to relegated Yeovil, and Stevenage (11th), who host Cheltenham. Both will need all other teams in the hunt to suffer defeat while winning themselves if they are to occupy seventh place come 5pm.

The afternoon’s officials

Referee: Stephen Martin

Assistants: Grant Taylor and Conor Farrell

Fourth official: Christopher O'Donnell

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Match Reports

Swindon 3-1 Notts

Magpies relegated following Robins defeat

4 May 2019

Notts County were relegated from Sky Bet League Two after suffering a 3-1 defeat at Swindon Town.

At one stage in the afternoon the Magpies were out of the bottom two, with Kane Hemmings' penalty early in the second half seeing Notts climb above Macclesfield, who were losing 1-0 to Cambridge.

But Kaiyne Woolery brought Swindon level before Theo Robinson's brace made Macclesfield's result irrelevant as Notts' finished the season in 23rd place.

Neal Ardley was forced to make one change as Matt Tootle, missing through illness, made way for David Vaughan. The Welshman joined Michael Doyle and Jim O'Brien in a three-man central midfield, while Mitch Rose reverted to the right side of defence.

Swindon claimed the first shot on an edgy afternoon as Kyle Bennett showed neat skill to beat O'Brien on the touchline before supplying Robinson, who fired the ball high and wide of the near post.

Notts' response came from Vaughan as he sent a low, speculative effort wide with 15 minutes on the clock.

But the Magpies were dealt a blow on 25 minutes when Shaun Brisley, who had been hobbling for a while, was forced off. Enzio Boldewijn replaced him as Ardley switched to a 4-3-3, with Hemmings down the left.

The sides exchanged half-chances as Pierce Bird slid in to block Robinson's shot before Boldewijn failed to connect with Rob Milsom's cross in the area.

And Notts' rearguard were in action again on 38 minutes as Sam Stubbs threw himself in the way of Woolery's effort before Ali Koiki went down under pressure from Rose, only for the referee to wave Town's penalty claims away.

Michael Doughty wrote his name into the referee's notebook for a cynical lunge on O'Brien as half-time approached.

And Notts went into the break level after Swindon's final effort of the half saw Ryan Schofield dig Kyle Knoyle's heavily deflected effort out from under his own crossbar to push the ball over.

The sides remerged for the second half unchanged and the hosts had a chance to take the lead when they embarked on a quick counter-attack shortly after the restart. It resulted in Keshi Anderson seeing two shots blocked before Bennett curled the ball over the bar on the rebound.

Notts were well in the game, though, and had a golden opportunity to take a 52nd minute lead when Tom Broadbent bundled Mackail-Smith over in the penalty area, leaving referee Stephen Martin with no choice but to point to the spot.

Hemmings took responsibility, firing the ball into the top-right corner in front of more than 2,000 jubilant Notts fans.

It was a goal which, at the time, put the Magpies above Macclesfield, who were losing 1-0 to Cambridge.

And Notts nearly heaped even more pressure on the Silkmen when O'Brien's corner found its way to the back post, where Stubbs could only turn the ball wide on the stretch.

But news soon emerged from Moss Rose that Sol Campbell's side had equalised against Cambridge, moments before Boldewijn burst into the area and fired wide of the near post.

And a real rollercoaster period concluded with Woolery showing incredible pace to get into the Notts area before rolling the ball beyond Schofield and into the net, sending Notts deeper into trouble.

Vaughan made way for Jon Stead as Ardley increased his forward options with 20 minutes to play.

And his strike partner, Mackail-Smith, came agonisingly close to restoring Notts' lead when he flicked O'Brien's deflected effort goalwards. Unfortunately it was straight at the goalkeeper, allowing Swindon to counter-attack and eventually take the lead.

Robinson claimed the goal, picking up a loose ball on the edge of the area and finishing superbly beyond Schofield to leave Notts needing a miracle.

The same man added gloss to the scoreline in the first minute of added time, sending the ball into the roof of the net with a close-range finish.

And, with a chorus of 'I had a Wheelbarrow' ringing out around the County Ground, the referee called time on the match shortly afterwards.

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Ticket News

Swindon off sale

Please do not travel without a ticket

3 May 2019

Tickets for Notts County's Sky Bet League Two trip to Swindon Town are now off sale.

The Magpies have sold a total of 2,269 tickets and there will be no sales on the day.

Supporters who have booked official away travel are advised that the buses will depart from near the club shop on Meadow Lane at 10.30am.

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