Notts County responded to back-to-back defeats in convincing style this afternoon with a 4-0 victory over Carlisle United. Goals from Jeff Hughes, Neal Bishop, Francois Zoko and Jamal-Campbell Ryce saw the Magpies climb back into the Play-Off places.
Hughes gave Notts an eighth minute lead with a smart header from Alan Judge’s inch-perfect centre. Bishop then made it 2-0 on 27 when he converted Jordan Stewart’s low cross at the back post.
Zoko came off the bench to make it 3-0 after the break and Campbell-Ryce wrapped up the scoring from the penalty spot on 57. The scoreline was representative of the Magpies’ dominance throughout the 90 minutes and gave the loyal away following plenty to be happy about on the long trip back to Nottingham.
Keith Curle named the same starting 11 that faced Tranmere Rovers the previous Saturday but made one alteration to the 4-3-3 formation. Hughes moved from the wing to a central midfield role, with Judge shifting out wide.
In the early stages, Judge was almost unplayable but his first involvement was a free-kick from the left flank that was easily dealt with by the home defence. This allowed Matty Robson to break at pace, only the wideman’s 25-yard attempt crashed into the side netting.
Notts should have moved in front two minutes later, after Judge escaped full-back Bradley Potts with a sharp turn. The Irishman cut the ball back into the path of Bishop, who was unable to make a clean connection and the hosts escaped unscathed.
The Magpies maintained the early pressure and Carl Regan was instrumental in his side’s next opening with a pinpoint diagonal pass that Hughes nodded towards Bishop inside the area. With his back to goal, the County skipper laid the ball into the path of Judge, whose low drive was finely blocked by centre-back Danny Livesey.
In the eighth minute, former Nottingham Forest frontman Joe Garner turned on the edge of the box to drive inches over for Carlisle. Robson later cleared the bar with a hopeful free-kick.
On 11, the deadlock was broken, following a remarkable piece of skill by Judge out wide, which saw him find a way between two defenders before producing a wonderful, in-swinging cross onto the head of Hughes. The midfielder met the delivery perfectly and made no mistake in beating home stopper Mark Gillespie with a firm, downward header.
Home danger-man Robson almost levelled the tie shortly after the opener with a thumping hit that skimmed the crossbar. At the other end, County had a strong penalty shout turned down, when Gillespie tripped Hughes as he attempted to gather an initial fumble.
The decision to position Judge on the left wing had paid dividends for Curle and he was involved again for the Magpies’ second, when he picked out Stewart’s overlapping run. The full-back proceeded to fire a teasing, low cross behind the home backline and Bishop placed home at the back post.
United thought they had pulled a goal back 10 minutes before the break after Robson picked out Garner with a pacy centre. On the edge of the six-yard box, the striker controlled with his chest but his next touch, a headed finish, was superbly kept out by Bartosz Bialkowski.
An injury to Judge forced Curle to make an early change. In a like-for-like substitution, Francois Zoko was introduced against his former club but, unlike former Magpie Mike Edwards who was given a warm reception prior to kick-off by the away support, the Cumbrian fans booed his every touch.
Carlisle started the second half well and were unlucky not to pull a goal back inside the opening stages. Another Robson cross was, on this occasion, put to good use by Danny Cadamarteri but his low shot was diverted away from goal by a Dean Leacock block that epitomised the County rearguard’s sturdy defensive showing.
Home fans’ hopes of a revival were diminished in the 54th minute, when Zoko made it 3-0. The Ivorian had latched onto Arquin’s clever, one-touch flick by outpacing Potts, ahead of placing low past Gillespie.
Just two minutes later, Notts were four up, after Chris Chantler hacked down Campbell-Ryce inside the area. The tricky winger placed forcefully into the bottom-left corner with the spot-kick, which was met by chants of “we want five” in the away section.
On 67, Garner threatened with a stern header from Kallum Higgingbotham’s right-wing delivery. Ashley Eastham, who had replaced Bishop moments earlier, then had to produce a saving clearance and prodded substitute Frank Simek’s grounded cross over his own bar.
Youth team striker Romello Nangle was given a chance to impress in the latter stages of the match. Campbell-Ryce made way and Arquin switched to a wide berth.
The hosts pushed for a goal ahead of the full time whistle with attempts from Liam Noble, James Berrett and Chantler, but Bialkowski made easy work of them with three comfortable saves. Notts moved up to fourth with the three points and the team’s performance earnt them a round of applause from the Carlisle fans as they walked off the pitch.
Attendance: 4,732 (including TBC away supporters)
|MAGPIE PLAYER MAN OF THE MATCH: NEAL BISHOP|
Took his goal well and worked tirelessly throughout.
Watch match highlights and post-match reaction on Magpie Player.