A Liam Noble brace saw Notts County progress through to the second round of the Capital One Cup at the expense of Championship side Huddersfield Town...
Joe Murphy was the first goalkeeper called into action within five minutes, Curtis Thompson’s cross was met by Jon Stead but Murphy dived to his left to deny the striker a goal against his former club.
It wasn’t long until his opposing number, and County captain, Roy Carroll was called into action, stretching out one hand to parry Harry Bunn’s stinging drive over the bar.
Ishmael Miller came close to opening the scoring after twelve minutes, but he couldn’t connect with a whipped cross, Roy Carroll doing well to claim down low at his near post.
Both sides were having chances in the opening quarter of an hour, Stanley Aborah’s cross found an unmarked Kyle De Silva for the visitors, but he got his shot all wrong and side footed well wide.
Things opened up again for Harry Bunn halfway through the first period, but he shot lacked any venom and Roy Carroll gathered easily.
The lively Ishmael Miller was giving centre back Thierry Audel problems with his strength and power, his latest attack saw him gain a yard on the defender before sending a snapshot towards goal which Caroll did well to tip over.
As the game passed the half hour mark, Aborah picked up a caution for a foul on Tommy Smith. The midfielder seemed to get the ball, but the referee showed the number 33 a yellow card after a number of fouls.
Huddersfield Town took the lead with just over ten minutes to go until half time. Harry Bunn’s corner went over everyone finding Murray Wallace at the back post, who headed into an empty net.
County reacted well to going behind, a deep cross falling to Thompson but the defence stood strong to block his shot, before Stead almost found Noble making a run through the back four, Joel Lynch doing well to cut out the through ball.
Thierry Audel came to Notts’ rescue as the game approached half time. The defender reacting brilliantly to deny Nakhi Wells an open goal to tap into after Gill Swerts and Carroll couldn’t stop the ball at the near post.
Despite Huddersfield’s pressure, County looked dangerous on the attack and got on level terms before half time. Kyle De Silva tricked his way past Martin Cranie on the left and pulled it back to an unmarked Liam Noble on the edge of the box. The central midfielder showed composure in controlling the ball before firing past Joe Murphy and into the corner.
There was time for one more attack before half time, Miller turning Audel just past half way, the visiting defender pulling him back and picking up a caution.
Half Time Huddersfield 1 Notts County 1
It was the visitors who started the second period the strongest. Some neat passes from Noble and Swerts almost created an opening for Stead, before Julian Jenner’s low cross just evaded goalscorer Noble.
It was that man Noble who put Notts ahead. Jon Stead knocked a goal kick down to the midfielder 35 yards out and on the half volley he sent the ball sailing over keeper Joe Murphy and into the net. A goal that left many Huddersfield supporters standing and applauding the early contender for goal of the season.
The Championship side still posed a danger to the County defence. Cilvard Sprockel gifting the ball to Nahki Wells just past the hour mark, giving the hosts a three on two opportunity at the back, but Audel came across to clear the danger.
There was a further twist in the game with 22 minutes left to play. Swerts, who had only been booked minutes earlier for a trip on Bunn, was penalised for handball when sliding to block a cross outside the box and was shown a second yellow card and was sent from the field.
Despite the numerical disadvantage it was Notts who continued to push forward. A corner came out to Noble who found Audel outside the box, the defender’s cross took a deflection diverting it across the face of goal but Stead couldn’t react to find the finish.
As the game entered the last ten minutes, former Huddersfield man Jimmy Spencer replaced the tireless Jon Stead, himself a former Terrier.
A Notts break on 84 minutes could have wrapped the game up. Kyle De Silva burst through the middle of the field and laid it off to Jenner, but the winger could only send his drive over the bar.
Roy Carroll pulled off a sensational save late on, Nahki Wells meeting the ball on the turn and lashing the ball towards the top corner, but Carroll twisted in the air and got fingertips to the ball to send it over.
As we entered four minutes of injury time, Bunn took advantage of Curtis Thompson’s slip to put in a low cross but Aborah did well to deflect it wide, Huddersfield heading the resulting corner past the post.
That was the last goalmouth action as County held on to progress through to the second round of the Capital One Cup.