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Match Reports

Notts 2-2 Accrington

Late leveller saves Stanley as both sides finish with 10 men

25 August 2017

Notts County were denied a fourth consecutive victory in second-half injury time as they shared a 2-2 draw with Accrington Stanley.

The Magpies led 2-0 thanks to a penalty from Jon Stead and an excellent goal from Jorge Grant but Stanley pulled a goal back through Mark Hughes.

Both sides were then reduced to 10 men, Mekhi McLeod on 66 minutes and Matt Tootle as the game edged into nine minutes of added time.

And Tootle's dismissal gave Stanley the boost they needed, substitute Mallik Wilks levelling the scores in the 95th minute to earn his side a share of the spoils.

Kevin Nolan named an unchanged side following last weekend's 4-2 victory at Wycombe Wanderers.

A place at the top of League Two was at stake and the game began in scrappy style.

Supporters had to wait until the 28th minute for the game's first half-chance, Shola Ameobi controlling the ball on his chest before lashing it high and wide from range.

Five minutes later, however, the game was given the spark it needed when Stead was bundled over in the area by Stanley skipper Seamus Conneely.

Stead took the spotkick himself, rolling the ball under the keeper's outstretched arm and into the bottom corner.

1-0 was how it stayed going into the break and Notts nearly doubled their lead shortly after the restart when Grant saw his rasping 25-yarder tipped wide by Stanley goalkeeper Aaron Chapman.

The visiting keeper was called into action once again on 51 minutes, producing an excellent save to turn an Ameobi header round the post.

Notts were making all the running and it wasn't long before they scored the second goal their pressure deserved.

It came in sensational style, Ameobi sending Hawkridge scampering away with a sumptuous backheel. The former Lincoln winger crossed the ball for Grant, who controlled with aplomb before lashing the ball home.

Accrington needed a speedy response and fired a warning shot in the shape of a quick counter attack led by Kayden Jackson. Richard Duffy took no chances, bringing the Accrington man down and writing himself into the referee's notebook.

But the visitors pulled a goal back through Hughes shortly afterwards, the defender curling the ball off the underside of the bar and into the net.

Elliott Hewitt was the next man in the book, penalised for alleged timewasting while preparing to take a throw-in, before Janoi Donacien saw his name taken for a foul on Grant.

It was proving to be a busy second half for referee Carl Boyeson who, after seeing Stead skim the top of the bar with a header, gave Stanley substitute Mekhi McLeod his marching orders for a lunge on Yates.

Nolan's response was to send on Jonathan Forte in place of Stead and Notts cranked up the pressure once more, Yates seeing his well-struck left-footed effort pushed away by Chapman.

Duffy was then inches away from turning home Grant's cross from point-blank range before, moments later, Jones' fierce cross flashed across the face of goal with no-one on hand to turn it home.

The Magpies came close once again on 80 minutes, the ball rolling invitingly into Hawkridge's path 20 yards out. He curled it fiercely towards the bottom corner but Chapman was equal to his effort.

As the game neared full-time there was a lengthy stoppage, Ben Richards-Everton requiring significant attention before being stretchered off in place of Ross Sykes.

Notts should have wrapped the game up with a minute of normal time remaining when Ameobi got to a bouncing ball first and burst into the area. Grant was unmarked to his right but Ameobi's pass was behind him, delaying his strike and allowing a Stanley defender to divert it out for a corner.

Nine minutes were added on at the end of the match and nerves were set jangling when Tootle, booked earlier in the half, received a second yellow card for a foul on halfway to level the teams at 10 men each.

And any fears Notts had of letting their lead slip were realised five minutes into added time when Wilks drilled the ball low across the face of goal and into far corner.

The Leeds loanee should then have completed his team's turnaround when a low cross from the byline picked him out in space eight yards out. Collin dived to his right to make a crucial save, preserving a point for the Magpies.

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