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Match Reports

Morecambe v Notts County

7 January 2017

Morecambe 4-1 Notts County

Notts were beaten 4-1 by Morecambe at the Globe Arena.

The hosts were three-up before the break, Lee Molyneux curling home the opener inside two minutes before Paul Mullin's close-range strike and Michael Rose's contentious penalty gave Morecambe a healthy lead.

The Shrimps saw Andrew Fleming red-carded in first-half injury time for a lunge on Curtis Thompson and substitute Jonathan Forte pulled a goal back late on with a cool finish.

But, as Notts desperately sought another goal late on, Kevin Ellison lashed home the home side's fourth to consign the Magpies to defeat.

In the first game since manager John Sheridan's departure, caretaker Alan Smith handed 17-year-old right winger Sam Osborne his debut as he opted for a 4-4-2 formation.

Elliott Hewitt partnered Richard Duffy in central defence, with Adam Campbell and Jon Stead up front.

Stead had a sight at goal with less than a minute on the clock, benefiting from good Osborne wingplay before seeing his shot deflect behind for a corner.

But despite that encouraging start, the Magpies found themselves behind on two minutes when Molyneux curled the ball into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Rob Milsom, playing on the left, conjured Notts' retort in the form of a header straight at Morecambe keeper Barry Roche, before Osborne's excellent low cross just evaded Stead at the near post.

It was a frantic start and Molyneux could have doubled his tally on eight minutes when he wasn't picked up on the edge of the area at a corner. The ball was rolled to him in acres of space but he miscued his shot, sending it well wide with his first-time effort.

Molyneux showed his threat again moments later, forcing an excellent block by Duffy, before Kevin Ellison saw a header diverted just past the post by a Notts defender as the hosts appealed for handball.

Morecambe's Molyneux was having a busy start to the match and he became the first name in the referee's notebook when when he fouled Thompson on 17 minutes. Moments later, Loach got down to his left to push away Mullin's curling effort.

Notts needed a spark and Campbell provided one on 24 minutes, showing excellent determination to win the ball in Morecambe's area before being met by a crunching Ryan Edwards challenge.

The hosts doubled their lead shortly afterwards, however. After Loach blocked Ellison's cross-cum-shot at the near post Mullin had time to compose himself eight yards out before lashing the ball home.

And things got even worse for Smith's men on 30 minutes when the referee awarded Morecambe a controversial penalty after Duffy had slid in on Mullin. Rose made no mistake from the spot, finding Loach's top-right corner.

Morecambe were cruising towards half-time but gave themselves a problem shortly before the break when Fleming lunged in on Thompson and was shown a straight red card.

Two minutes of added time were indicated, during which Milsom's side-footed volley deflected up and over Morecambe's crossbar.

Smith replaced right back Matt Tootle with Stanley Aborah at the break as Notts switched to 3-5-2.

And the substitute had the first chance of the second half when Milsom picked him out with a lofted corner. Aborah mistimed his leap, however, and his header was tame.

The midfielder created Notts' next chance, releasing Campbell down the left. The forward cut inside but saw his shot deflected behind. Stead was the next man to see an effort blocked after controlling Michael O'Connor's excellent cross 10 minutes later.

Smith's next change saw Forte replace Osborne down the right and the Magpies came close to scoring moments later, Hewitt picking out Campbell unmarked at the back post. The former Newcastle man volleyed the ball low towards goal only to see his well-struck effort brilliantly saved by Roche.

Loach dealt with an Ellison strike before Campbell's long range effort was deflected wide as the game entered its final 20 minutes.

Aaron Collins, playing the final game of his loan spell, replaced Thompson in Notts' final change and the Wolves winger introduced himself by lashing a shot just wide of the post.

And Notts had a goal back on 81 minutes when Stead flicked the ball round the corner cleverly for Forte, who stroked it into the far corner.

The Magpies piled on the pressure as time ticked away, Roche making a superb save to tip Stead's effort wide.

A short corner followed shortly afterwards, Milsom wriggling along the byline and firing the ball low into the middle. A Morecambe defender somehow turned the ball over his own crossbar.

And, just after four added minutes were indicated, the hosts hit Notts with a sucker punch. Substitute Luke Jordan advanced into Notts territory and struck the ball towards the top corner. Loach did brilliantly to tip the ball on to the bar but Ellison lashed it home on the follow up.

O'Connor entered the book after play resumed, cynically bringing down Jordan after he escaped down the right.

And that was to be the final action on another disappointing afternoon for the Magpies.

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