Notts County 2 Scunthorpe United 2
COMPETITION | Sky Bet League One
SCORERS | Jones (10), Bajner (73) | Robinson (1), Canavan (86)
ATTENDANCE | 4,990 (567 away)
REFEREE | Paul Tierney (Lancashire)
Notts County and Scunthorpe shared the points as a four goal thriller ended 2-2 at Meadow Lane.
The Iron took an early lead through debutant Theo Robinson, Notts failed to clear from a corner which allowed the forward to finish from close range.
The Magpies equalised after a spectacular long range effort from Gary Jones flew past Luke Daniels.
Substitute Balint Bajner put Notts ahead in the second half, firing low from close range after Niall Canavan failed to clear.
But Canavan made up for his error late on, heading home from close range after a floated free-kick into the box wasn’t dealt with by the Magpies.
Magpies’ caretaker manager Paul Hart made five changes to the side that suffered a 4-1 defeat to MK Dons last Saturday. With Roy Carroll and Paddy McCourt away on international duty for Northern Ireland, Kevin Pilkington took his place in the Notts net, whilst Liam Noble was restored to the starting line-up following his suspension.
The game against the Iron saw Jimmy Spencer return to the starting eleven for the first time this season, after coming off the bench last weekend. New signing Jordan Williams was handed his debut after joining on loan from Liverpool during the week. Finally, Mustapha Dumbuya was back in at right-back following an injury that kept him out the starting line-up. They replaced, Curtis Thompson, Mike Edwards and Taylor McKenzie.
On the bench was another new signing in the shape of Graham Burke, who moved on loan from Aston Villa on Thursday.
The Iron kicked off and opened the scoring within the first two minutes of the game. The away side earned themselves a corner after getting the game underway. The Magpies failed to clear and after hitting the crossbar, Theo Robinson finished off the rebound on his debut to give Scunthorpe and early lead.
The Magpies went straight back at the visitors and nearly equalised instantly. The ball was floated in from the left, Garry Thompson was lurking in the box and he beat Niall Canavan to the cross. He headed it goal-wards and forced Luke Daniels into a good save, diving to his right to deny the former Iron player.
The Magpies were easily the better side in the opening 10 minutes and scored a well deserved equaliser after a good spell of pressure. Gary Jones had the ball on the edge of the area and rifled it into the bottom corner from 25 yards out, giving Daniels in the Iron net no chance.
Jimmy Spencer was back in the starting line-up following a pre-season injury that has kept him out the side for a majority of the season. He looked lively early on against the side he played on loan for during the first half of last season. Dumbuya crossed in from the right and Spencer acrobatically shot from inside the area, but his effort flew just over the bar.
He was in again five minutes later, Garry Thompson played the striker through, his first touch was excellent as he skipped past the defender, but he couldn’t quite get onto the loose ball, as Daniels collected.
The Iron went close to regaining the lead with half an hour gone. They won a free-kick on the edge of the box, Gary McSheffrey stood over it. His curling effort whistled past Kevin Pilkington’s right post after a deflection.
Down the other end, Notts weren’t far away from taking the lead themselves. Sean Newton played in Garry Thompson down the left. A fortunate deflection set the forward up on the edge of the area, he aimed for the far corner, but he scuffed his shot and it went just wide of the post, with Daniels scrambling across his goalmouth.
A chance from Alan Smith was blazed over the bar, whilst down the other end, a long distance strike from Jordan Clarke stung the hands of Pilkington and the Magpies got the ball clear to signal the end of the first half.
HT: Notts County 1 – 1 Scunthorpe United
Scunthorpe had the first chance of the second half, but brilliant work from Pilkington kept the scores level. Theo Robinson played the ball over the top for McSheffrey to run on to. The midfielder got to the ball first, but Pilkington rushed out of his goal to deny the former Coventry man from getting a shot away.
Notts were inches away from taking the lead five minutes after break. Sean Newton stood over a set-piece 25 yards out. He struck an excellent left-footed effort towards goal, and it looked to be going in, but it clipped the top of the crossbar before going behind.
The second half was turning into a scrappy affair. Neither side were enjoying a spell of possession and the goalkeepers were relatively quiet. McSheffrey tried to spark some life into the Iron team, but his long distance shot flew high over the bar.
Notts continued to search for an equaliser. A number of free-kicks came to nothing, but a set-piece whipped into the box by Sean Newton fell back to the defender on the edge of the box, but he hit it high and wide of the target.
Notts made changes, bringing on Balint Bajner and Nicky Wroe for Jimmy Spencer and Alan Smith, and the Hungarian made an instant impact. Fantastic work from Dumbuya on the right kept the ball alive when it looked to be going out for a throw in. The ball was put into the box, Niall Canavan failed to clear and it fell to Bajner who thumped the ball home from close range to send the Kop wild. No Bajner no party!
Scunthorpe made attacking changes themselves to get an equaliser, and they got it with five minutes to go. Robinson was brought down just inside the Notts half. United floated the ball into the box and Canavan rose highest to head the ball beyond Pilkington to make the score 2-2.
Bajner nearly had his second and Notts’ third, but his header went narrowly wide from inside the six yard box after a cross in from the right.
The last chance of the match fell to Robinson, but he couldn’t keep his header down after a goalmouth scramble fell to loan striker at close range.
FT: Notts County 2 – 2 Scunthorpe United
MAGPIE PLAYER MAN OF THE MATCH | Gary Jones
Jones had an excellent game against the Iron, showing constant grit and determination throughout the game. Despite going behind early on, it was Jones who got the Magpies back into the game,thundering home a long distance strike.
Playing alongside Noble, Jones continued to make vital interceptions as well as contribute up front, skipping past players and feeding the forward line. A determined and effective performance from the midfielder.
Notts County: Pilkington, Dumbuya (Adams, 75), Smith (Wroe, 72), Mullins ©, Hollis, Spencer (Bajner, 64), G Thompson, Newton, Jones, Noble, Williams
Substitutes: Spiess, Adams, Hayhurst, Wroe, Burke, Bajner, Edwards
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Canavan ©, Madden (Adelakun, 81), Evans (Van Even, 77), O'Neil, Robinson, McSheffrey, Williams, Clarke, Osbourne, Davey
Substitutes: Anyon, McAllister, Van Veen, Adelakun, Townsend, Boyce, Wootton
Look out for full reaction and post-match highlights on Magpie Player
NEXT UP: Walsall v Notts County | Sky Bet League 1 | Friday 3 April 2015 (3pm Kick-Off) (BUY TICKETS)
Photos by JMS Photography