Notts County were harshly beaten by Yeovil Town on Bank Holiday Monday. A hard-working performance arguably deserved more but the Glovers showed greater cutting edge in the final third to claim three points towards their Play-Off push.
Paddy Madden opened the scoring moments before the half time whistle with a rebound finish against the run of play. Alan Judge got Notts back onto even terms shortly after the interval but Matthew Dolan wrapped up the points with a 52nd minute free-kick.
Young goalkeeper Fabian Spiess returned to the starting 11 for his first appearance since the 1-1 draw with Crewe Alexandra in February. Number one stopper Bartosz Bialkowski was withdrawn against Brentford through illness and his replacement, goalkeeping coach Kevin Pilkington, was named amongst the substitutes.
A move back to the 4-4-2 formation, which the Magpies had ended the game so strongly with at Griffin Park, led to the return of frontman Enoch Showunmi. He partnered Yoann Arquin in attack and Jeff Hughes dropped to the bench.
In a lively opening 10 minutes, both outfits created decent goal-scoring opportunities. The first arrived for the visitors, after Edward Upson won possession in the middle of the park and drove narrowly wide of the bottom-right corner.
Notts’ first attempt arrived in the fourth minute, when Enoch Showunmi unleashed an ambitious 25-yard volley that flew high into the Haydn Green Family Stand behind the goal. In quick response, Angelo Balanta dragged a shot wide, following great work down the left by full-back Joe Edwards.
Right-back Luke Ayling also looked dangerous going forward and completed a mazy run with a low, left-footed effort, which Madden directed over with an instinctive touch. Rounding off the end-to-end flurry of chances was Yoann Arquin, who forced goalkeeper Marek Stech into a claim with a downward header from Alan Judge’s right wing delivery.
A great overhead pass by Alan Sheehan led to County’s next opening. Pressure from Arquin forced a tricky backpass and the Frenchman was almost able to close down Stech before he was able to clear.
Arquin threatened again from a quick Jamal Campbell-Ryce throw-in, which allowed him to turn into space. However, the striker’s half volley was bravely charged down.
On 42, Arquin was involved again, as he collected Alan Judge’s throw-in to deliver a volleyed cross. Showunmi did well to hold off centre-back Byron Webster but his superb header towards the bottom-left corner was somehow pushed clear by Stech at full reach.
Against the run of play, Yeovil dealt the first blow through Madden, moments before the break. Spiess had made a terrific initial save down to his left to deny Matthew Dolan and looked to have made a second stop when he spread himself well to gain a touch to Madden’s rebound finish, which crept inside the post.
Notts started the second period brightly and got off to a great start when Judge raced forward into the box, after winning the ball on the halfway line. Defender Dan Burn caught the forward’s heels and the Magpies were awarded a penalty, which Judge swept low inside the left-hand post.
Yeovil regained the lead within three minutes of the equaliser with a goal direct from a free-kick. Dolan did well to beat the wall with a curled hit that Spiess could only push into the roof of the net.
On 56, the Magpies should have been level again, following more fine work from Judge, which saw him bustle into the box to set up Showunmi. The frontman’s shot was blocked but set up half time substitute Jeff Hughes, whose finish two yards from goal skewed wide of the mark.
County experienced most of the possession but the Glovers looked a threat on the counter. Dolan had a powerful drive smartly kept out by Spiess with a reaction save down to his left and Madden fired wide from the edge of the box.
Judge was Notts’ biggest threat and arguably should have had another penalty, when he was tripped inside the box. Instead, the referee awarded Yeovil a free-kick and booked the Irishman for diving.
Tyrell Waite was introduced at the expense of Arquin in the 65th minute and almost helped the Magpies make it 2-2 with some determined dribbling inside from the left. This allowed Hughes to deliver a perfectly weighted cross for Showunmi’s late run, only the striker’s header was mistimed and bounced wide.
In a late push, Showunmi raced onto Spiess’ long kick to nod into the arms of Stech. An outstanding diagonal ball by Dean Leacock to Judge on the right wing then resulted in the Man of the Match firing wide of the far top corner with a stunning effort.