An early goal from Mark Marshall saw Notts County defeated 1-0 by Port Vale at Meadow Lane.
A defensive mix-up between Mike Edwards and Roy Carroll allowed the ball to fall for Marshall in plenty of space, to put the away side ahead.
What followed after that was a barrel of chances for the Magpies. The best falling to Garry Thompson and Balint Bajner, but they were both denied Chris Neal in the Vale goal from close range.
The Magpies continued their serge in the second half, Campbell-Ryce was extremely close to levelling the game, but again Neal saved.
Notts pressed late on, but Vale stood strong to deny the Magpies from find an equaliser.
Shaun Derry made four changes to the side that were defeated 2-1 to Fleetwood Town last Saturday. Firstly, Balint Bajner and Haydn Hollis were both restored to starting line-up after starting the fixture last weekend on the bench. They came in for Kaiyne Woolery and Mustapha Dumbuya respectively.
There were a few new faces in amongst the first eleven too. Paddy McCourt made his first start for the Magpies after signing on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion. He was on the bench against Fleetwood, but didn’t come on in that game. He replaced Sean Newton, who moved to the bench.
Finally, the return of Jamal Campbell-Ryce on Thursday saw the winger go straight into the first team, occupying the right wing. Campbell-Ryce rejoined the Magpies from Sheffield United on a season-long loan. He came in for Gary Jones who took his place amongst the substitutes.
It took five minutes for either side to get a shot on goal, but it was the Magpies who opened up the space to give Chris Neal, in the Port Vale goal, something to think about. A ball over the top from Hayden Mullins for Balint Bajner put the Hungarian in plenty of space, he crossed for Garry Thompson in the box, but Vale cleared. Liam Noble picked up the ball and, after a quick interchange with Paddy McCourt, tried his luck from the edge of the area. Neal claimed with ease.
Down the other end, Vale’s first chance of the game resulted in them opening the scoring. A ball up field was half cleared by Mike Edwards, as Roy Carroll also came out to claim the ball, it fell to Mark Marshall who was in acres of space inside the area as he side footed the ball home into an empty net.
Notts didn’t sit back however, Jamal Campbell-Ryce got the ball on the right, he took on the left-back before pulling it back for McCourt inside the box. McCourt jinked past the defender before hitting a shot for the near post. Neal was there again to deny.
It was all Notts at this point; a number of crosses were being floated in by Campbell-Ryce. Balint Bajner had the ball in the back of the net, but the whistle was blown for handball along time before he rifled it past Neal.
Paddy McCourt had an excellent first 30 minutes in a Notts shirt. Again he combined with Campbell-Ryce before dashing into the box and stinging the hands of Neal as he hammered the ball towards goal. He then set up Garry Thompson who couldn’t get the ball under control and prodded the ball towards Neal.
It was the same two who combined again, Thompson’s shot well saved by Neal as he took an excellent touch and managed to get the shot away with not much space around. Garry Thompson then turned provider, dinking the ball for Bajner, who controlled and hit his shot over the bar. All Notts at this point.
During the three minutes of injury time, McCourt saw the keeper off his line and went for a spectacular effort from inside the Notts half, but his effort went just wide.
HT: Notts County 0 – 1 Port Vale
Notts started the second with the same energy and dominance they ended the first half with. Mark Marshall fouled Garry Thompson outside the area. McCourt stood over the set piece, but his effort hit the top of wall, before being cleared by Vale.
Curtis Thompson continued Notts’ onslaught on the Vale goal. He hit an effort from 25-yards, but his shot was blocked and went out for a corner.
Down the other end, a rare attack from Vale saw Mark Marshall cross for Tom Pope. Pope couldn’t get a proper head to the ball however, as his effort looped up in the air, before Mike Edwards booted the ball clear.
Blair Adams was next to have an attempt on goal for Notts. McCourt floated in a free-kick towards the back post. Liam Noble lofted the ball back in, it was cleared to Adams, but his shot was rushed due to the closing down from Port Vale meaning his effort blazed over the bar.
A fast flowing move almost resulted in the equaliser. Campbell-Ryce had the ball on the right; he played into the area for Garry Thompson, who laid it out wide for Hayden Mullins. Mullins crossed right onto the head of Liam Noble, but his effort floated over the bar.
A swift counter-attacking move set up Notts’ next chance. McCourt won possession in midfield and ran at the Vale defence. He played a lovely pass for Campbell-Ryce on the right. The right-winger shot, it snuck under Neal, but he had taken the pace out of the shot and collected on the second attempt.
Mark Marshall nearly grabbed his second of the game. He latched onto a loose ball in the Magpies’ area, but his strike was well blocked and went wide for a corner. Vale’s chances were limited during the second half, but Notts cleared the ball off the line after it was bundled towards goal.
Notts continued to search for that equaliser, bringing on Kaiyne Woolery and Gary Jones, but their chances became more limited as the final whistle approached.
Crosses were continuously being floated into the box from the Magpies, but a Notts shirt couldn’t get on the end of them. Vale were keeping Notts out well during the three minutes of injury time, denying them any space to grab that equaliser. Whilst up the other end, they held the ball up to run down the clock.
Substitutes: Pilkington, Smith, Hayhurst, Newton, Jones, Daniels, Woolery.