Noble Nets Winner for Notts
Liam Noble scored the only goal of the game, as Mark Cooper picked up his first three points as Notts County manager against relegation threatened Stevenage.
Liam Noble almost had the hosts ahead in the opening minutes, Stanley Aborah’s chipped ball just evading Jon Stead, Noble getting a toe to it, but the midfielder was unable to divert it inside the near post.
Thierry Audel let fly from twenty yards, as Notts had the best of the first ten minutes, his rasping drive flying inches wide of Jamie Jones’ upright.
It was Notts who continued in the ascendency, Mike Edwards almost giving them the lead in the 20th minute. Wes Atkinson was upended 40 yards from goal, Liam Noble’s deep free kick was met by the centre back, but he sent his header just wide of the post.
Notts did have the ball in the net just before the half hour mark, only to see it ruled out for offside. Adam Campbell was crowded out on the edge of the area, the ball coming back to Noble, he crossed to Stead who acrobatically volleyed it first time past Jamie Jones and into the net, only to turn and see the linesman’s flag raised for offside.
Thierry Audel picked up the first caution of the match in the 35th minute, sliding in with a late challenge on Tom Conlon. From the resulting free kick Fraser Franks volleyed an effort at goal, Scott Loach getting down smartly to beat the ball away from close range.
Notts looked the most likely of the two times to break the deadlock. Jamie Jones made a smart reaction save from Adam Campbell, before the striker bid beat the keeper, sliding Noble’s through ball into the corner of the net, only to see the linesman’s flag raised, again for offside..
Stevenage made their first change as the game entered stoppage time, Bradley Pritchard forced off through injury with Charlie Adams replacing him.
There was just time for Filip Valencic to curl an effort wide on the spin, before the referee called an end to the first half.
The visitors made their second change at half time, with Byron Harrison coming on to replace Chris Whelpdale.
Jon Stead picked up the second caution of the match early in the second half, after a mistimed challenge on Dean Wells.
The referee was frustrating the crowd as they felt a number of decisions hadn’t gone the home side’s way.
Mark Cooper made his first change after the hour mark, Izale McLeod coming on to replace Adam Campbell.
After a number of fouls from the visiting side, the referee finally produced their first caution of the game after Byron Harrison had caught Aborah late, much to the joy of the home fans.
Notts were playing the game in the opposition's half, as they had done for much of the game. Mike Edwards coming close with a header as the game entered the last fifteen minutes.
Dale Gorman picked up another caution for Stevenage, pulling back Thierry Audel as he looked to get onto a ball down the line.
In the 80th minute the home side took a deserved lead. Liam Noble cut back on the left corner of the penalty area, curling an effort past Jones, who got a touch on it's way into the top corner.
This didn't stop the home side's ascendency, Haydn Hollis heading Aborah's header narrowly over the crossbar from 10 yards shortly afterwards.
Wes Atkinson became the next player to find his way into the referee's notebook in the 88th minute, catching Fraser Franks in the left wing area.
Rhys Sharpe replaced Filip Valencic as the game entered six minutes of injury time.
Scott Loach made a smart save from point blank range in the first minute of the six, however the linesman had already flagged for offside.
Mike Edwards cleared a late free kick at the back post, but this was the closest Stevenage came to an equaliser, Notts securing the three points.
Team: Loach, Hollis, Noble, Hewitt, Valencic (Sharpe 90'), Campbell (McLeod 63'), Atkinson, Stead, Audel, Aborah, Edwards
Unused Subs: Carroll, Amevor, Murray, Sarpong, Gibson
Att: 4,172 (218 Away)