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Match Reports

Notts County v Doncaster Rovers

26 December 2016

Report: Notts v Doncaster

John Sheridan made two changes to the side that faced Peterborough in the Emirates FA Cup last week. Carl Dickinson returned to the starting 11 as captain, replacing Thierry Audel, while Alan Smith made way for Adam Campbell.

That meant Scott Loach kept his place between the sticks and Curtis Thompson retained his starting berth.

It was an even start to the match with both sides trading tentative blows. Loach had to be quick off his line to smother Andy Williams' close-range effort before, on 14 minutes, Richard Duffy was inches away from making contact with Dickinson's whipped free-kick.

Six minutes later, Campbell cut in from the left and dragged his shot wide from 20 yards.

And a healthy Meadow Lane crowd had to wait until first-half stoppage time for the next chance of note as Campbell released Jon Stead into the right-hand channel. The forward's drilled cross nearly picked out Jonathan Forte in the middle but Rovers managed to scramble the ball clear.

The early stages of the second half were punctuated by an injury to Matt Tootle, who required treatment following a challenge from half-time substitute Joe Wright.

Tootle was deemed fit to continue but he was helpless to prevent his side from falling behind just after the hour, Williams rising highest six yards out and nodding the ball past the helpless Loach. 

Notts sought an immediate response when Stead worked himself space in the area before seeing his shot blocked.

Sheridan was then forced to make his first change when Tootle succumbed to his earlier injury, hobbling off the field and being replaced by Louis Laing.

Rovers went close to scoring again shortly after play resumed when Matty Blair nipped in around Dickinson to head the ball against the base of the post.

Vadaine Oliver was introduced next, replacing Thompson and almost immediately going into the referee's notebook for a foul on Andy Butler.

Time was running out for Notts to find an equaliser and, after Haydn Hollis sent the ball over from a tight angle following Rob Milsom's crossfield pass, Doncaster missed two good opportunities to extend their lead.

John Marquis could only roll the ball wide after seeing his free-kick blocked, minutes before Williams' strong run resulted ins= stroking the ball across goal and just wide of the far post. 

Notts' final change saw Collins replace Stead with four minutes to go, before Williams and Liam Mandeville entered the book for a foul each.

Seven minutes were added on at the end of the match, during which Mandeville wriggled his way along the byline before rolling the ball across the face of goal and inches wide.

Dying secs - oliver wins fk - dicko through wall but straight at keeper

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