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Match Reports

Notts County v Barnet

19 March 2017

Notts 1-0 Barnet

Matt Tootle's first goal in Notts County colours handed the ten-man Magpies a thoroughly deserved victory over Barnet at Meadow Lane.

Mark Yeates received a straight red card early in the first half but Kevin Nolan's men, who performed superbly throughout, won the game thanks to Tootle's second-half screamer.

Nolan made two changes to the side that faced Doncaster Rovers in midweek as Jon Stead and Shola Ameobi replaced Tahvon Campbell and Alan Smith up front.

Notts came into the game hoping to extend their unbeaten home run under Kevin Nolan to seven matches.

But their efforts were dealt an early blow when Yeates was shown a straight red card for what referee Keith Stroud deemed to be a dangerous challenge on Ricardo Almeida Santos.

Undeterred, Notts seized control of the game and went close to taking the lead when, after Jorge Grant struck the wall with a free-kick, Marc Bola fizzed the ball just wide on the follow-up.

Mr Stroud was back in the spotlight on 20 minutes after the ball was played through the heart of Notts' defence, releasing John Akinde through on goal. The striker got to the ball just before the sprawling Adam Collin and went to ground in the area. The referee blew his whistle and, to the relief of the home crowd, booked the striker for simulation.

Ameobi was inches away from giving the Magpies the lead when he launched himself through the air in what turned out to be futile attempt to nod home Rob Milsom's free-kick.

Despite their man advantage Barnet were rarely threatening. Former Magpies man Jamal Campbell-Ryce offered the Bees' most dangerous moment of the half on 39 minutes when he cut inside on his right foot and curled the ball straight at Collin from the edge of the area.

There were no changes from either manager at the break and Bola went close with a 25-yard effort shortly after play resumed.

But Notts didn't have to wait long to eventually claim the lead. Tootle marauded forward from right back and latched on to a loose ball inthe box, controlling it on his chest and rifling it beyond Benjamin Buchel with his weaker left foot.

Both sides were on the hunt for the all-important next goal but Notts were looking the more likely team to get it. Haydn Hollis saw a shot smothered by Buchel shortly after Ryan Watson had flashed an effort wide at the other end.

Ameobi had a chance to double the hosts' lead when he controlled the ball at the back post following a corner. The forward tried to work space for a shot but his touch let him down at the crucial moment and the ball ran behind for a goal kick.

Grant was the next Notts man to have a go, lashing the ball over the bar on the half-volley after it dropped nicely for him on the edge of the area.

It was inevitable, however, that the visitors would have chances as they pushed for an equaliser against the depleted Magpies.

And they should have scored when the ball dropped for substitute Ruben Bover eight yards out, only for the midfielder to sidefoot the bouncing ball over the bar.

Nolan made his first change on 74 minutes when Elliot Hewitt replaced Stead and, shortly after play resumed, Notts had an excellent opportunity to make it 2-0 when Ameobi played Grant into the area with a neat through ball. The Forest loanee curled the ball around the onrushing goalkeeper but it passed the wrong side of the post by inches.

Bover sent another loose ball over the bar from inside the area after Hollis did brilliantly to divert it away from Akinde, and Ameobi was booked following an aerial collision with Michael Nelson as the sides continued to exchange blows.

Grant sent another effort wide from the edge of the area shortly before four minutes of added time were indicated at the end of the match.

It was a nervy finale with Notts defending for their lives but the final whistle eventually came, leaving the hosts 11 points clear of the bottom two in 20th place.