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Match Reports

Notts County v Carlisle United

31 December 2016

Notts 2-3 Carlisle

Notts were beaten 3-2 by Carlisle United at Meadow Lane on New Year's Eve.

The visitors took an early lead through Charlie Wyke before Notts turned the game on its head with goals from Jon Stead and Jonathan Forte.

Jabo Ibehre levelled thingg up before the break, however, and Jason Kennedy nodded home the winner on 65 minutes.

John Sheridan recalled captain Michael O'Connor to the starting 11 following the midfielder's three-match ban. Fit-again Alex Rodman also returned along with Louis Laing and Elliott Hewitt.

Matt Tootle missed out through injury, while Haydn Hollis, Jordan Richards and Adam Campbell had to settle for a place on the bench.

Notts started the game brightly, forcing a succession of corners and drawing a booking from United winger Jamie Devitt.

But they were unable to make their early pressure tell before their opponents took the lead.

Scott Loach relieved the immediate danger by tipping Michael Raynes' header over the bar but, from Nicky Adams' subsequent corner, the keeper was unable to keep out Wyke's bullet header as the Cumbrians took a tenth-minute lead.

Jonathan Forte had the chance to restore parity but couldn't adjust his feet in time to capitalise on Rob Milsom's low pass, before Loach tipped over another Raynes header two minutes later.

It was proving to be a busy start to the afternoon for Loach, who made comfortable saves from Jason Kennedy and Jabo Ibehre as the visitors looked to extend their lead.

But it was Carlisle's goalkeeper, Mark Gillespie, who would next be picking the ball out of his net.

O'Connor's 30th-minute free-kick from deep was met confidently by Stead who flung himself towards the ball, nodding it into the corner of the net from near the penalty spot.

Notts were in the ascendancy and, following neat interplay between Milsom and Forte, the latter saw his left-footed shot saved low down by the keeper.

Carlisle reminded Notts of their threat on 39 minutes when Adams raced away down the left on the break. The winger swung an excellent cross to the back post but, despite rising well, Wyke could only head the ball wide.

The Magpies were undeterred, however, and a minute later had the lead. Forte capitalised on hesitancy between defender Hayes and keeper Gillespie eight yards out, instinctively poking the ball off the inside of the post and over the line.

With the break approaching, Notts looked for a third. Milsom flashed a low shot across goal and a yard wide.

But Sheridan's men were pegged back on the stroke of half-time when Adams, who was proving a constant threat, got away from Thompson down the left and crossed for Ibehre. It was the perfect delivery for the front man, who nodded the ball powerfully beyond Loach to restore parity.

Two minutes were added on at the end of the half, during which Stead's cross found Milsom in the area after just evading Forte. Milsom struck the ball sweetly but saw his effort blocked well by a defender.

The sides emerged unchanged for the second period and Carlisle missed a golden opportunity to take the lead 10 minutes after the restart.

Ibehre picked out Adams in space and the winger bore down on Loach. He opted to square the ball for his supporting team-mates but his cut-back evaded them. Devitt picked up the pieces, crossing the ball back into the middle for Adams, who saw his shot blocked.

The sides then exchanged chances, Loach making an excellent save to tip Ibehre's shot over before Milsom's scuffed effort was easily saved by Gillespie.

Luke Joyce entered the referee's notebook for a foul on Thompson before Notts made their first change on 62 minutes, Hollis replacing Richard Duffy.

But there was nothing the centre back could do to prevent Kennedy nodding Carlisle back into the lead shortly afterwards. Both Hollis and O'Connor were left on the ground after the midfielder got between them to convert Tom Miller's long throw.

Carlisle managed the game well in the immediate aftermath and Sheridan opted for a double change, sending on Oliver and Campbell for Stead and Thompson.

But the visitors maintained control and twice nearly extended their lead, Hollis clearing Adams' effort off the line before Loach palmed away Kennedy's well-struck effort.

Loach was called into action again on 87 minutes, getting down low to save from substitute Shaun Miller.

Three minutes were added on at the end of the match, during which Campbell's piledriver from a tight angle was pushed away strongly by Gillespie.

And that was to be Notts' final chance as 2016 ended in defeat for Sheridan's men.

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