Notts win local derby to advance in JPT
Goals from Izale McLeod, Mike Edwards and Jon Stead gave Notts County a deserved victory in their local derby as they beat Mansfield Town 3-1 at Meadow Lane.
McLeod's deft lob over Brian Jensen - his first goal for the club - seven minutes into the second half opened the scoring and that strike was supplemented by Stead's deflected free-kick on top of Edwards' fine turn and finish were enough to put the Magpies into the second round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
Adam Campbell had hit the post in the first half, but McLeod and Edwards made no mistake with their chances before Stead added a third late on.
Former County striker Craig Westcarr won and scored a penalty in stoppage time but it was a goal in vain as County gained a modicum of revenge for their 2-0 loss to the Stags in the league 18 days earlier.
Manager Ricardo Moniz made a hat-trick of changes to his starting line-up following Saturday's 4-1 defeat at Morecambe. Roy Carroll and Mawouna Amevor were away on international duty, which allowed Scott Loach and Wesley Atkinson to come in for their Notts County debuts whilst Stanley Aborah returned from suspension to take his place in the centre of midfield with Civard Sprockel dropping out of the matchday squad.
The first chance of the game fell to Notts as McLeod embarked on a mazy run down the left before pulling the ball back for Graham Burke, who saw his shot blocked by the face of Adam Chapman.
Burke floated in a free-kick which was cleared to Aborah 20 yards out, but his first-time volley couldn't replicate Genaro Snijders' goal from the weekend and sailed wide of Brian Jensen's net.
At the other end, an under-hit back-pass from Snijders almost let Malvind Benning in on goal but Loach was quick off his line to meet the Mansfield man and smother the danger.
Superb work from Campbell saw him harry former Magpie Krystian Pearce into giving away possession in the final third. The attacker advanced into the area and was desperately unlucky not to score with a low curling shot which hit the far post.
A long ball forward from Loach gave Stead a physical tussle with Lee Collins which saw the striker shrug off his marker and work enough space to get a shot away which rolled tamely to Jensen.
Notts continued to press for an opening goal. Campbell found space on the left-hand side of the penalty area but couldn't find a man in a black and white shirt with his pull-back.
Mansfield had their first clear-cut chance when Adi Yusuf broke clear of the Notts defence but former England under-21 goalkeeper Loach prevented the visiting striker from scoring the opener by saving with his chest.
Textbook hold-up play by McLeod led to the next opportunity for Moniz's men as the striker bided his time and kept a defender at bay before laying the ball off for Snijders to blast across the face of goal and wide from just inside the area.
A foul by Gill Swerts gave Mansfield a free-kick in dangerous territory 25 yards out which Chapman fired towards the bottom corner, only for Loach to plunge to his right and palm it away.
Debutant Atkinson's low cross flashed across the six-yard box with Snijders a couple of inches away from making contact and giving Notts a deserved lead and Hollis headed wide from a corner as County continued to probe with no success as the sides went into the break at a stalemate.
An injury sustained in an accidental collision during the first half meant Swerts had to be substituted at the start of the second period with Mike Edwards taking the Belgian's place at the heart of the defence.
Campbell's quick one-two with Stead put the former Newcastle striker one-on-one with Jensen but the goalkeeper thwarted the effort, saving with his legs. From the corner, Edwards headed narrowly over the top from Burke's cross.
Pearce's header from 15 yards was collected by Loach at the end of a rare Mansfield attack.
Notts got the goal their dominance deserved and it was McLeod who got it, bagging his first in Notts colours. The six-figure purchase from Crawley Town broke the offside trap and calmly lifted the ball over the onrushing Jensen into the far corner.
Yusuf immediately fired wide in retaliation to the opening goal, though it was never in danger of troubling Loach whilst Campbell curled into Jensen's midriff at the Kop End.
Nathan Thomas had two efforts, first firing straight down the throat of Loach then forcing the Notts goalkeeper into a smart save with a grass-cutter which had to be tipped around the post.
Westcarr, on as a substitute for the visitors, tried to make an impact with a shot from 25 yards but it was a routine stop for a goalkeeper of Loach's quality.
Hollis was denied a certain goal by the slightest of touches which took the ball off his head two yards out but Notts doubled the lead from the resulting corner as Edwards turned on the six-yard line to slam a shot through the legs of Jensen.
McLeod could have doubled his tally for the evening, but was denied by a fine recovery tackle from Collins after surging past the visiting defence. The striker then got the ball stuck under his feet following a superb solo run down the left from Thierry Audel.
Notts had two goals ruled out for offside with McLeod and Stead unfortunate not to add to the lead in the latter stages of the game.
Stead, though, was not to be denied and got his goal with a deflected free-kick from 25 yards. The ball cannoned off the wall and wrongfooted Jensen to find the back of the net.
Westcarr won a penalty in injury time after going down under a challenge from Edwards. The striker picked himself up and crashed his penalty into the bottom corner, but it was merely a consolation as Notts sailed into the second round.
Notts: Loach; Atkinson, Swerts (Edwards, 45), Hollis (Jenner, 88), Audel; Aborah (Smith, 75), Burke; Snijders, Stead, Campbell; McLeod.
Subs not used: Pilkington, Spencer.
Attendance: 2,696 (754 away)