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Match Reports

Coventry 3-0 Notts

Jodi Jones hat-trick hands Sky Blues opening-day win

5 August 2017

Notts County were beaten 3-0 by Coventry City on the opening day of the 2017-18 Sky Bet League Two season.

The Magpies, who hit the post early in the first half, found themselves behind when Jones was allowed too much space to open the scoring before the break.

And the winger killed the game off in the latter stages of the second half with another composed finish before adding a third in injury time.

Kevin Nolan handed debuts to four of his summer signings, with wingers Lewis Alessandra and Terry Hawkwridge claiming starts along with centre back Shaun Brisley and midfielder Liam Walker.

Returning Magpie Dan Jones claimed left back, while Jorge Grant was named among the substitutes.

Following a short delay to allow an electrical storm to pass over the Ricoh Arena, the sides exhchanged tentative blows as the 2017-18 campaign got underway.

But it was Notts who sparked the affair into life on 13 minutes after Alessandra had weaved his way into Coventry territory before supplying Hawkridge to his right. The former Lincoln man fizzed the ball along the slick surface and across the face of goal. It crashed off the base of the post and, to the hosts' relief, squirmed away to safety.

Notts next went close on 28 minutes when, after Alessandra had been fouled down the left, he swung a dangerous free-kick into the middle. Brisley nodded the ball just wide.

The Magpies had enjoyed the better of the chances but it was Coventry who would take the lead shortly after Brisley's effort. The ball found its way to Jones on the right-hand side of the area and the winger had time to compose himself before drilling it low into the net.

One-nil was how it stayed going into the break and, shortly after both sides had reemerged unchanged, the Sky Blues came close to doubling their lead when Marc McNulty's low effort gave Adam Collin a stern test. The keeper managed to get a hand to the ball, diverting it into the turf, up and over his own crossbar.

From the resultant corner, Jones had to be alert at the back post to turn the ball behind with McNulty waiting to pounce on Chris Stokes' flick-on.

Notts' response came from Jon Stead, who latched on to strike-partner Shola Ameobi's header to strike the ball left-footed on the half-volley. He couldn't keep his effort down, however.

Nolan's first change saw Rob Milsom replace Walker on 58 minutes, with Grant coming on for Stead six minutes later.

Frustrations were building for the Magpies as they looked to give their 1,727 travelling supporters something to cheer. Elliott Hewitt found himself in the book for remonstrating with the officials following their decision to not award Notts a free-kick for what looked like a clear handball.

And Notts' struggles worsened on 80 minutes when Jones bagged his second of the afternoon. Milsom had initially done well to halt the winger's progress but Jones showed quick feet in the area to escape his opponent before finishing neatly.

Five minutes were added on at the end of the match, during which Milsom saw a shot deflected to safety following Hawkridge's cut-back.

But Coventry put the game beyond doubt with virtually the last kick, Duckens Nazon embarking on a superb solo run before rolling the ball to Jones who made no mistake from eight yards. 


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