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Match Reports

Notts County 2-2 Grimsby

3 September 2016

Notts County 2-2 Grimsby Town

Notts drew 2-2 with Grimsby Town in a dramatic encounter at Meadow Lane.

The visitors found themselves 2-0 up courtesy of goals from Shaun Pearson and Omar Bogle, but Jonathan Forte's 78th-minute tap-in sparked Notts into life.

Within a minute of the restart, Michael O'Connor had the chance to equalise from the penalty spot but missed the target.

That meant it was left to debutant Aaron Collins, the deadline-day loan signing from Wolves, to earn Notts a point with a calm and collected finish.

John Sheridan made two changes to the side that beat Crawley Town in Notts' last league outing.

Alan Smith and Rob Milsom dropped to the bench with Stanley Aborah and Forte replacing them. Collins was named among the Magpies substitutes.

The visitors, backed by more than 2,000 vociferous supporters, started the game well and were cursing a heroic piece of defending from Louis Laing on five minutes. The defender slid in brilliantly to block Ashley Chambers' shot after the Town man had worked his way into a dangerous shooting position.

Grimsby were making all the early running and, after Luke Summerfield had fired wide following excellent hold up play from Omar Bogle, the forward had another chance when he raced on to a ball over the top and beat Laing for pace to go through one on one with Adam Collin. He could only roll the ball wide.

Notts' first chance came on 20 minutes after a corner was half-cleared back to Carl Dickinson down the left. He produced a superb cross to the back post for Duffy, who struck the ball sweetly towards goal. Mariners keeper James McKeown made a superb save and, under pressure, Stead could only send the ball over on the follow-up.

The Magpies called McKeown into action again four minutes later. Aborah brilliantly nutmegged Danny Andrew and opted to shoot with power from a tight angle. The Mariners keeper was able to make the block.

Grimsby were back on the offensive shortly afterwards, Bogle embarking on a tremendous run but Laing doing well to halt his progress, conceding a corner.

And it was from the resultant cross that Town took the lead, the ball squirming its way over the line following Pearson's header.

It could have been 2-0 shortly afterwards when Dominic Voce led a counter attack through the middle of the pitch before playing the ball to Chambers on his right. He could only scuff it wide.

Still the visitors pressed, winning a 38th-minute free-kick on the edge of the 'D' and seeing Bogle's low effort deflected wide by the wall. Andrew broke free at the following corner but could only flick the ball over.

Notts claimed the final chance of a half in which they had struggled to get fully to grips with their energetic opponents. The ball dropped to Adam Campbell eight yards out but he couldn't keep his effort down.

There were no changes for either side at the break and Notts started the half strongly, Rodman pouncing on some sloppy play to race into the area. He drove the ball low across goal and a yard wide of the post.

The home side pressed again minutes later, O'Connor playing a nice ball over the top and Stead holding it up well. He laid it off for Campbell, whose first-time strike was diverted over the bar by a defender. Richard Duffy improvised well to flick Aborah's low corner into the danger zone but, tightly marked, Campbell couldn't turn it home.

Notts' good second-half work was undone on 56 minutes, however, when Aborah's under-hit backpass sent Bogle clean through on goal. The forward finished neatly beyond Collin to double his side's lead.

Sheridan opted for a triple change shortly afterwards with Campbell, Aborah and Stead making way for Collins, Thierry Audel and Vadaine Oliver.

The latter showed his threat almost immediately, using his pace to chase down a backpass to McKeown and blocking the keeper's clearance. Grimsby recovered well to prevent Notts from benefiting from the open goal.

And Oliver was central to the action again on 63 minutes. Brilliant work by O'Connor and Forte down the left resulted in the latter looping the ball into the middle. With the ball slightly behind him, Oliver had to strain his neck muscles to generate power on his header and he could only guide the ball over.

As the game entered its final 15 minutes it looked to be slipping away from Notts, but they got a goal back on 78 minutes. The ball fell to Collins in the area and he in turn played Rodman to the byline. The former Grimsby winger picked out Oliver unmarked in the middle but his shot was brilliantly saved by the keeper. Fortunately for the Magpies, Forte was close by to tap the ball home from a yard out.

The momentum was now with Notts and, within a minute of the restart, they had a golden opportunity to equalise when they were awarded a penalty - Oliver fouled as he attempted to meet Dickinson's cross. Notts skipper O'Connor took responsibility but his spot-kick clipped the outside of the post on its way wide.

That disappointment didn't deter the home side, Forte seeing a header saved before Josh Gowling blocked Collins' low effort.

But the loanee wasn't to be denied a debut goal as, on 88 minutes, Oliver chested the ball down to him on the edge of the area and he struck it cleanly beyond McKeown.

And the Magpies nearly had a winner in the last minute of normal time when Oliver stretched to head the ball goalwards six yards out, only for McKeown to brilliantly tip it on to the roof of his own net.

Seven minutes of added time were indicated but neither side were able to find a winner as a frantic encounter ended in a 2-2 draw.

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