Notts County 2 Doncaster Rovers 1
COMPETITION | Sky Bet League 1
SCORERS | G Thompson, 8 Noble, 60. Tyson, 90.
ATTENDANCE | 5,858 (770 away)
REFEREE | Darren Handley
Ricardo Moniz secured his first win as Notts County manager, defeating Doncaster Rovers 2-1 at Meadow Lane to lift the Magpies out of the relegation zone.
Garry Thompson got the afternoon off to the perfect start, firing Notts in front, eight minutes into the game. He pounced on a loose ball inside the box before slotting the ball past Marko Marosi.
That lead was doubled after the break, Liam Noble controlled an excellent pass from Graham Burke before placing his shot into the far corner.
Doncaster looked to spoil the party late on. Nathan Tyson was fouled in the area by Haydn Hollis and the referee awarded the penalty. It was Tyson who took it and subsequently scored to make it 2-1.
The Magpies soaked up the late pressure but secured the vital and well deserved three points that climbed them out the relegation zone on goal difference.
For the final home game of the season, Ricardo Moniz made three changes to the side that were defeated at home to Preston North End in midweek. Coming into the side were Blair Adams, Liam Noble and Balint Bajner.
Blair Adams was back in at left-back following an injury that forced him to miss the 3-1 defeat to Preston. Mike Edwards was the man replaced as he dropped to the bench, with Haydn Hollis moving across to his more recognised position of centre-back. Also in the side was Liam Noble who came on from the bench on Tuesday, as did Balint Bajner who lead the forward line alongside Jimmy Spencer and Garry Thompson. Alan Smith and Will Hayhurst were the players to miss out, both on the bench.
The Magpies’ support were in full voice ahead of the final home match, as Notts looked to get a massive three points. The players echoed the attitude of the fans, starting on the front foot. Jimmy Spencer won the home side a freekick within the opening two minutes. Gary Jones took the set-piece, but it hit the wall. Liam Noble too had an opportunity moments later, a defensive error amongst the Doncaster back line was pounced upon by Noble, but his shot was blocked from inside the area.
It was former Magpie loanee Nathan Tyson who had the first opportunity for the visitors. He picked up the ball inside the Notts area, but fired wide giving Roy Carroll no problems.
The home side had been flying for the opening 10 minutes of the game and were rewarded by taking the lead through a familiar name on the scoresheet. The ball was played in from the left by Graham Burke, it fell to Spencer who failed to control the ball, but Garry Thompson was ready to pounce as he fired low and hard beyond Marko Marosi to give the Magpies the lead, with Meadow Lane erupting.
It was all Notts at this point. Liam Noble had a freekick blocked from just outside the box as he drove the ball low and hard. Whilst Graham Burke put a fantastic cross into the six yard box, but it was just too far for Jimmy Spencer to reach, with Marosi nowhere near the ball.
Doncaster were looking to get back into the game, a poor touch from Kyle Bennett denied him the chance to get a shot away whilst in acres of space just on the edge of the box. Down the other end, Spencer had a shot from 25 yards, but it flew high over the bar.
Half an hour gone, Doncaster had a few half chances to grab an equaliser. First, Harry Forrester ran at the Magpies defence before seeing his effort from the edge of the box fly narrowly over Carroll’s goal. James Coppinger too tried a similar effort, but the result was the same, with Carroll just watching the ball go harmlessly over.
The next ten minutes went without much to note. Burke nearly latched onto a Balint Bajner flick on, that would have seen him through on goal, but was denied with a last ditch tackle. Doncaster were nearly in themselves, but an excellent sliding challenge from Garry Thompson denied the forward player from getting in on goal.
HT: Notts County 1 – 0 Doncaster
Doncaster were first to have sight on goal after the break. Forrester was fouled by Hollis on the edge of the box, with the centre-back claiming he got the ball. Three players were stood over the set-piece and it was clearly a training ground move, resulting in Coppinger taking the freekick, but Spencer did brilliantly to block the shot.
It was Spencer who looked to be in on goal himself down the other end. He was played through by Thompson, but the referee adjudged the striker to have been offside.
Liam Noble had another opportunity for the Magpies. A flowing move between the forward line set the midfielder up on the edge of the box. He tried to place it into the far corner, but put too much on his shot as it curled round the post.
It was all Notts again who were spurred on by a fired up crowd. The Kop was rocking as Thompson’s cross was blocked for a corner. A number of set-pieces were pumped into the box, Bajner nearly had a free header, but the ball was just over the Hungarian’s head.
The Magpies grabbed a crucial second goal on the hour mark and it was fully deserved. Graham Burke had the ball on the left, the Aston Villa loanee cut inside before dinking an excellent right footed ball into the box. Liam Noble controlled the cross, turned his defender and placed his shot into the far corner to double Notts’ lead.
Doncaster were still looking to press the home side and finally forced Carroll into his first save of the game. The ball was fired into the box from the right, it took a massive deflection towards goal, but Carroll got across his goal excellent to tip the ball clear.
Moniz made a change as the Magpies looked to hold onto the three points. Alan Smith was brought on in place of Bajner and nearly made an instant impact. He latched onto a loose ball on the edge of the box, hit a shot first time, but it was well blocked by the Doncaster defence.
Doncaster had claims for a penalty with ten minutes to go. Jordan Williams was the player who made the challenge, but the referee waved away all protests as Notts cleared the ball.
Curtis Thompson was brought on for the Magpies as they looked to freshen up the midfield going into the final five minutes of the match. The fans, who had been brilliant throughout, were rocking going into injury..
However, deep into injury time, Doncaster were rewarded a penalty after Haydn Hollis fouled former Notts striker Nathan Tyson in the box. It was Tyson who stepped up to take the penalty and cooly slotted it beyond Carroll.
The crowd continued to show fantastic support and the players continued to reward the fans with only minutes to go.
Jimmy Spencer nearly extended Notts lead late on, before Doncaster piled the pressure,, but the Notts defence stayed strong and secured the vital three points.
FT: Notts County 2 Doncaster Rovers 1
MAGPIE PLAYER MAN OF THE MATCH | Jimmy Spencer
TEAM LINE-UPS: Following on from his first goal of the season in midweek, the striker was fantastic again and pivotal up front for the black and white army. He showed grit and determination throughout that inspired both the team and the fans. He held up the ball fantastically, whilst dropping deep when needed to help defend the lead. Another excellent performance from the striker.
Look out for full reaction and post-match highlights on Magpie Player.