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Match Reports

Notts County v Hartlepool

11 March 2017

Notts 2-1 Hartlepool

Shola Ameobi scored his first Notts County goal as the Magpies beat Hartlepool United 2-1 at Meadow Lane.

The target man had missed a penalty before the break but made amends in the opening stages of the second half before Jorge Grant doubled the lead with a sensational strike.

Notts dominated the vast majority of the match and, although Pools clawed a goal back late on, the Magpies held on to secure an important three points.

Kevin Nolan made three changes to the team that faced Stevenage last weekend. Richard Duffy, Jonathan Forte and Matt Tootle came into the side, replacing Jon Stead, Curtis Thompson and Josh Clackstone.

Notts applied good early pressure and there were a couple of early half-chances for Forte, who nodded the ball over before seeing a shot saved by Joe Fryer in the Pools goal.

Mark Yeates was the next man to have a go, nipping in ahead of a defender to scamper to the byline before trying to catch the keeper out at his near post. The Middlesbrough loanee stood firm and made the save.

Notts were then thankful for two Duffy blocks as Pools looked to assert their authority, before Forte saw another shot blocked at the other end.

The home side were firmly in the driving seat and they carved the visitors open down the left when Yeates combined superbly with Marc Bola. The latter saw his shot blocked before Rob Milsom's effort on the follow-up was diverted over the bar by a defender.

And, from the subsequent corner, the Magpies had a golden opportunity to take the lead when Lewis Hawkins was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area. The Pools man was booked and up stepped Ameobi. The former Newcastle man swept the ball towards the bottom-left corner but Fryer got down brilliantly to tip it on to the post.

Hartlepool capitalised on Notts' disappointment by restricting their hosts for the remainder of the half, although Ameobi was inches away from making amends when he stretched to try and meet Forte's low, whipped cross in first-half stoppage time.

But the front man didn't have to wait too much longer to quell his frustrations as, less than two minutes into the second half, he received a pass from Grant, outmuscled his defender and struck the ball beyond Fryer to claim his first Notts goal.

Elliott Hewitt, playing in central midfield following a recent stint at centre back, fired the ball over shortly before Grant's deflected effort looped up and into the arms of Fryer.

Notts kept up their pressure, Yeates seeing an effort blocked before striking the wall with a dangerous free-kick minutes later.

But Nolan's men finally got the second goal their dominance deserved on 71 minutes when Grant opened up space for a shot 20 yards out before lashing the ball into the top corner superbly.

Tahvon Campbell replaced Forte before play resumed and the West Brom loanee wasted little time in trying his luck at goal, sending the ball bobbling straight to Fryer from 20 yards out.

But, despite failing to trouble Notts for vast swathes of the match, Pools set up a nervy finale in fortuitous fashion will 11 minutes to play. Duffy did brilliantly to clear a Pools effort off the line but the ball hit a body in the area and found its way over the line.

Hartlepool's Liam Donnelly headed the ball over and Alan Smith replaced Yeates as normal time ebbed away.

Three minutes were added on at the end, during which Thomas sent the ball dipping into Adam Collin's clutches with a long-range strike.

Man of the Match Grant was replaced by Adam Campbell at the death and Notts saw out the remaining moments to increase the gap between themselves and the bottom two.

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