Notts County emerged deserved 1-0 victors this evening at the Bill Stokeld Stadium against a resolute Carlton Town.
The Magpies, fresh from a 7-0 thumping of Linby CWFC on Saturday, will be buoyed by another positive performance and a victory against organised and tough opposition in the Millers.
In their second game under manager John Sheridan, the Magpies fielded two almost entirely different XI's in the first and second half, and never looked troubled as a mixture of fantastic goalkeeping and last gasp defending from Carlton Town kept a dominant Notts from scoring more than one goal.
The first half lineup was as follows:
Collin, Wildin, Hewitt, Audel, Sharpe, Snijders, Richards, Atkinson, McMillan, Trialist, Campbell.
The game started in dramatic fashion, with Carlton immediately going on the attack, but Thierry Audel outmuscled his opponent and the danger was thwarted as the Carlton man broke dangerously into the box.
A minute later, Carlton forced a corner as Hewitt was strong in the challenge to halt the run of the advancing Millers forward. The kick was taken deep and towards the back post, but was high and evaded the inbound Carlton strikers, eventually floating harmlessly for a Notts goal kick.
This proved to be the last attack the Millers would have for some time, as Notts took control of the game.
On 7 minutes it was 1-0. Fantastic work from Adam Campbell down the right hand side freed Genaro Snijders, and the Dutch winger made no mistake from 12 yards, blasting the ball home despite the goalkeeper's best efforts.
Three minutes later, another great ball from Campbell dissected the Carlton back line and Trialist looked to have a clean run through on goal, but the linesman's flag was raised. It looked a very close call.
On 12 minutes, Jack McMillan did well to turn his man and release Rhys Sharpe, who was bounding down the left hand side. His brilliant low cross was played into the corridor of uncertainty, but was just inches in front of Trialist who would have had an easy tap in.
It was Snijders who went close to adding his second on the 20 minute mark. He proved too quick for Carlton's defence and broke free into the box but his effort from 6 yards was over the crossbar. He will be disappointed he didn't score.
It was one way traffic as Adam Campbell was next to test Carlton's shot stopper Jack Steggles, who was already having an impressive game. Sharpe did well to find Campbell 18 yards from goal, but the keeper was equal to his effort saving low to his left.
Trialist then took a knock, and was forced off the field to be replaced by Montel Gibson.
With half time approaching and neither team really threatening in the closing minutes of the half, it was Snijders who took the game by the scruff of the neck, once again involved in the action down the right hand side. He took on his man, turning and beating another before getting a decent looking cross into the danger area, but the Millers' goalkeeper read it well and collected just in front of the advancing Gibson.
Notts went into the break with a one goal lead, but it could have so easily been more.
John Sheridan changed almost the entire XI for the second half, with only Adam Collin and Elliot Hewitt remaining from the team that started the game.
The second half lineup was as follows:
Collin, Hewitt, Duffy, Hollis, Dickinson, Tootle, Rodman, Aborah, Burke, Stead, Forte
It was a slow start to the second half as the new-look XI found their feet, but the game came to life on 50 minutes. Alex Rodman received the ball from deep and tore down the right wing, smashing an effort that looked goal bound before unfortunately striking a defender on the way through.
Two minutes later, Graham Burke received the ball 35 yards out after good work from new signing Matt Tootle. He unleashed a curling left foot effort that cleared the crossbar by inches.
On 56 minutes, Carlton's keeper produced a first class save to deny Forte, palming away his close range effort after the striker had done well to make space for the shot just outside the six-yard box.
It was Hollis next to be denied by the Millers' keeper, who at this point was the busiest player on the pitch. Duffy won back possession for Notts in midfield and fed Hollis, who struck the ball cleanly but his effort was too close to Steggles to be of any trouble to the Carlton shot stopper.
His next save however, was straight out of the top drawer. Dickinson beat his man on the left side, and sent in a ferocious cross that fell to Jon Stead six yards from goal. The Notts striker struck it sweetly, but Steggles in the Carlton goal somehow managed to pull off a point-blank range save to keep the score at 1-0.
On 67 minutes, after great interplay from Stanley Aborah and Matt Tootle, Jon Stead found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Steggles for the second time, but Carlton's keeper was again equal to the cause, denying Stead with his legs.
Rodman went close on 78 minutes. He latched onto Forte's cross, connecting well with a volley from 8 yards, but Steggles again thwarted the Magpies, tipping over the crossbar.
After total domination from Notts for almost 30 minutes, Carlton then had a rare chance. Kevin Lusamba produced a series of step-overs before sending in a cross-shot from the corner of County's box that Adam Collin was pleased to see sail just wide of his right hand post.
More resolute defending from Carlton then denied Notts again. This time it was Graham Burke who was left frustrated, as he burst into the box and was about to pull the trigger when a Millers defender produced a last gasp tackle.
Aborah and Forte then made way for Gibson and Rutty-Smith in a late change by Magpies manager Sheridan.
With the game in its closing stages, it was still only Notts who looked likely to score and add to their lead. Jon Stead curled a shot with his left foot from 18 yards, which Steggles saved down to his right.
There was time for just one more effort from the Magpies, as Graham Burke, who had been lively for the entirety of the half, struck a shot just over the bar from distance.
Final Score: Carlton Town 0-1 Notts County