Notts County 2 Crewe Alexandra 1
COMPETITION | Sky Bet League One
SCORERS | Noble(45 pen), Daniels(86) | Ness(47)
ATTENDANCE | 4,643 (427 away)
REFEREE | Iain Williamson
A late winner from debutant Billy Daniels saw Notts claim all three points in a 2-1 victory over Crewe Alexandra.
Notts County went ahead only seconds before the break. Kwame Thomas was brought down in the box. Liam Noble stepped up to take the penalty and confidently placed it into the corner of the net.
Just after the break, Crewe equalised through Jamie Ness, after the midfielder hit a shot from the edge of the area into the far corner giving Roy Carroll little chance.
Shaun Derry made changes as the Magpies searched for the winner and he found it as new signing Billy Daniels fired in from close range to give Notts the lead late on after only being on the pitch for four minutes.
Liam Noble was sent off late into injury time after receiving a second yellow card for a late challenge, but Notts held on for all three points at Meadow Lane.
Magpies’ manager Shaun Derry made four changes to the side that were defeated 4-0 away at Bristol City, handing three of the four January signings their first league starts for Notts. Coming into the starting line-up were Liam Noble, Alefe Santos, Will Hayhurst and Kwame Thomas, with Mike Edwards, Alan Smith, Colby Bishop and Curtis Thompson dropping out.
Liam Noble was in the first eleven after returning from his five match ban that kept him out the side since mid-December. Three of the Magpies’ new winter signings were also handed their first starts at Meadow Lane. Alefe Santos, who came on as a substitute against Bristol City, started on the right side of midfield.
Will Hayhurst, who joined the club from Preston during the week, made his first appearance in the black and white on the left of midfield. Whilst, Kwame Thomas, who joined on-loan from Derby, started up front.
Another new signing started from the bench, as striker Billy Daniels found himself in the match day squad after joining from Coventry in the week.
It was a fast paced opening few minutes, with the away side Crewe having the first chance of the match. A foul on the edge of the box from Haydn Hollis presented Anthony Grant with a freekick. He whipped it into the far post, Alan Tate got a head to it, but his effort just went wide of the post.
Another neat passage of play presented Crewe with a great chance to go ahead. A one-two between Nicky Ajose and Jamie Ness played Ajose in one on one with Roy Carroll. His first touch let him down however as Carroll rushed onto the ball. It was Ajose again after ten minutes, firing wide from inside the box.
Notts created their first serious opportunity 15 minutes into the game. Good play down the left from Blair Adams and Will Hayhurst gave the latter time and space to put a cross into the box. His cross was dangerous as Garry Thompson got ahead of his defender but his effort went over the bar.
From there the confidence was with the Magpies. Blair Adams earned his side a corner on the left. Hayhurst took it and the ball fell onto the head of Hollis, who headed wide from inside the six-yard box.
Chances became limited as the game went on, Jamie Ness tried his luck from 25-yards, but Carroll watched the ball trickle well wide of his left post.
Down the other end, the wide players in Hayhurst and Alefe Santos were getting crosses into the box to try and cause Crewe problems. Kwame Thomas got on the end of one from Hayhurst, he headed well and low, but Ben Garratt got down to deny the Derby loanee.
Will Hayhurst was causing problems down the left and nearly opened the scoring deep into injury time. He cut inside and unleashed a shot, which was well blocked. The match livened up again in injury time as Liam Noble thundered a volley towards goal, Garratt saved fantastically to deny him.
On the brink of half-time, the deadlock was broken as Notts scored from the penalty spot. The ball was bouncing in the Crewe box and Kwame Thomas was brought down by Jon Guthrie after the Derby striker got to the ball first, with the referee giving the Magpies a penalty.
Liam Noble had a lengthy wait to take the spot kick, with Guthrie receiving treatment inside the area, but the midfielder didn’t let the wait get to him, as he fired into the right corner of the goal to give Notts a half-time lead.
HT: Notts County 1 - 0 Crewe Alexandra
The second half started with the away side equalising within 90 seconds of the restart. Jamie Ness picked up the ball inside the Notts half and ran at the defence. Space opened up for the midfielder as he hit his shot from the edge of the box finding the far corner.
Despite the setback, the Magpies went straight back at Crewe. Liam Noble played Garry Thompson through on goal. The striker was under pressure, but still managed to get a shot away. His left footed effort hitting the side netting.
A fantastic passage of play from Notts nearly put them back ahead. Hayhurst was presented the ball on the edge of the area, and despite being urged to shoot, dinked a cross to the far post where Garry Thompson was waiting. He got a good head to the ball, but it went just over.
Thomas too had a chance from inside the area, but his pass across goal was out of reach for the on rushing Notts forwards.
Uche Ikpeazu tried to test Roy Carroll as he hit a shot from the edge of the area, but his effort was weak and Carroll claimed with ease. Lauri Dalla Valle also had a chance moments later, Grant finding the substitute in the area as he cut inside and bent a shot to the far post, the ball hit Hollis and went wide.
Liam Noble was close to getting his second of the game with ten minutes to go. Hayhurst’s cross flew over everybody to the other side of the box, where Noble was waiting. He tried to cross it back in, but it forced Garratt into a good save as it looked to be looping over the visiting keeper. Thomas too had a chance, his strike from close range clearing the bar.
Shaun Derry brought on another new signing in Billy Daniels to try and find that winner and they were extremely close in doing so. Liam Noble crossed for the back post, Hayhurst got to the ball first, and his header went wide.
With only minutes left on the clock, Notts took the lead as new signing and substitute Billy Daniels fired in from close range. Blair Adams crossed the ball right into the path of Daniels, who thundered his strike into the roof of the net from close range. An inspired substitute from Derry.
Five minutes of injury time announced only encouraged Notts to look to extend their lead. It was Daniels again who hit a shot from the edge of the area, his fantastic effort going just over.
Deep into injury time, a late tackle from Liam Noble saw him dismissed after receiving a second yellow card.
Crewe tried to put pressure onto the Notts defence late on, but the ten men stayed strong, denying the visitors from creating anything, keeping hold of all three points.
FT: Notts County 2 - 1 Crewe Alexandra
MAGPIE PLAYER MAN OF THE MATCH| Will Hayhurst
An impressive debut for the left winger. After signing during the week from Preston North End, Hayhurst showed Notts fans what he could do straight from the off.
Combining well with Blair Adams, Hayhurst put in plenty of dangerous crosses throughout the game for the forward players.
He nearly got himself on the score sheet a number of times too, being denied with a good strike in the first half. Notts fans have much to be excited about after this debut.
Notts County: Carroll, Dumbuya, Adams, Mullins ©, Hollis, Hayhurst, G Thompson (Daniels, 83), Thomas (C Thompson, 90), Jones, Noble, Santos (Whitehouse, 63)
Substitutes: Pilkington, Smith, Murray, C Thompson, Daniels, Whitehouse, Cranston.
Crewe Alexandra: Garratt, Guthrie (Dugdale, 46), Davis ©, Baillie, Jones, Leigh, Ness, Tate, Ikpeazu (Cooper, 81), Ajose (Dalla Valle, 71), Grant
Subsitutes: Dugdale, Turton, Atkinson, Cooper, Dalla Valle, Haber, Stewart.
Look out for full reaction and post-match highlights on Magpie Player
NEXT UP: Doncaster Rovers v Notts County | Sky Bet League 1 | Tuesday 20 January 2015 (7:45pm Kick-Off) @Keepmoat Stadium (BUY TICKETS)
Photos by JMS Photography