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Match Reports

Notts 2-1 Everton U21s

Forte and Hollis find the net in Trophy

15 August 2017

Notts County kicked off their 2017-18 Checkatrade Trophy campaign with a 2-1 victory over Everton at Meadow Lane.

Jonathan Forte and Haydn Hollis struck in the first half and Anton Donkor's goal shortly after the interval wasn't enough to spark a Scouse revival.

Kevin Nolan handed a debut to goalkeeper Branisalav Pindroch, the first Slovakian to play for the club, as he made nine changes from the side that beat Chesterfield on Saturday.

Elliott Hewitt, who captained the side, and Lewis Alessandra were the only two players to retain their place as the likes of Rob Milsom, Liam Walker and Jorge Grant were handed starts.

On a beautiful summer's evening, Grant fired an effort wide and Alan Smith headed the ball agonisingly wide as Notts sought an early lead. 

Everton then went close when Conor Grant's header struck a post and Pindroch had to deny Bassala Sambou on the rebound.

But, minutes after Grant had seen his 20-yard effort well saved by Louis Gray, the hosts went ahead through Forte.

Grant was involved again, supplying Forte in the area and watching on as the forward spun his man and fired the ball into the bottom corner.

And it was 2-0 before the break, Grant once again playing a crucial role. After taking a short corner, he whipped a superb cross to the back post where Hewitt was on hand to nod the ball down for Hollis to score from two yards.

Everton introduced Anton Donkor at half-time and the winger made an immediate impact, halving the deficit shortly after the restart. He was played into the Notts area and his low effort found the back of the net, hitting both Pindroch and the post on its way in.

Grant nearly restored Notts' two-goal advantage when he set himself up for a curling effort with a neat first touch inside the Everton area. He landed the ball on top of the net with his effort and was replaced by Elliot Hodge shortly afterwards.

Nicky Hunt was the next man to go close for Notts, linking up well with Saunders before curling a first-time effort narrowly over the bar.

Notts' third and final change saw Alessandra replaced by Curtis Thompson with quarter of an hour to play.

But Everton were in no mood to let the rest of the match pass them by and had a good opportunity to equalise through Callum Connolly when the ball dropped for him in the Notts box. Pindroch made an excellent save to deny him.

And, seconds before two minutes of added time were indicated, the visitors went even closer, rattling the bar with a header, drawing an excellent save from Pindroch on the rebround and rueing an excellent last-ditch tackle from Hewitt to finally quell the danger.

That proved to be the Toffees' final chance as Notts commenced the group stage with a win. 

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