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Match Reports

Report: Exeter 0-3 Notts

Alessandra and Grant (2) strike to extend Notts' lead at the top

26 September 2017

Notts County beat Exeter City 3-0 at St James Park to extend their lead at the top of the Sky Bet League Two table to three points.

Lewis Alessandra's early goal gave Notts the dream start before Jorge Grant came off the bench to score twice in the second half.

The win was Notts' sixth in a row, while the clean sheet was their fifth in six matches.

Kevin Nolan made five changes to the team that beat Lincoln City 4-1 on Saturday.

In came Carl Dickinson, Elliott Hewitt, Nicky Hunt, Liam Walker and Alessandra, with Dan Jones, Shaun Brisley, Matt Tootle, Jonathan Forte and Grant making way.

It was Notts' longest journey of the season but they showed no signs of travel sickness as, inside two minutes, they had the lead.

Alessandra latched on to a looping ball over the top and lobbed Christy Pym from the edge of the area in sumptuous style.

Richard Duffy headed the ball over from Walker's corner and Jake Taylor fired straight at Adam Collin from 25 yards as the sides searched for the next goal.

And Notts had a good chance to claim it when Terry Hawkridge, playing down the left, took the ball into the area before firing it over from a narrow angle.

Shortly afterwards, Jon Stead's low cross was almost turned into his own net by City defender Troy Brown.

Notts were looking the better, more composed side but they had Collin to thank on 25 minutes when he made a good save with his legs to deny Taylor once more, Duffy tidying up the mess before Reuben Reid was able to pounce.

Moments later, Jordan Tilson hooked the ball over from close range as Paul Tisdale's men began to get a firmer grip on the game.

But Notts stood firm to see out the rest of the half comfortably.

There were no changes at the break and the first notable incident of the second half came on 57 minutes, when Grant replaced Hawkridge. Dickinson went into the book shortly afterwards when he misjudged a tackle on Lee Holmes.

The next goal was crucial and, just after the hour, Notts got it.

Walker's dangerous corner caused havoc in the middle and, following a scramble in the six-yard box, Grant was on hand to prod home his seventh goal of the season.

Hunt entered the book shortly after play resumed and there was another opportunity for Grant when he skipped his way into the area before seeing his shot blocked.

Notts kept up their pressure and came within inches of making it three when, after receiving a throw in with his back to goal, Forte held off his marker on the edge of the area and curled a low effort agonisingly wide of the post.

Forte's frustration was short-lived, however, as he played a huge part in Notts extending their lead with eight minutes to play. The forward held the ball up on the corner of the area and waited patiently for Grant to make a darting run into the area, beating the offside trap to control Forte's pass before guiding the ball beyond Pym.

Nolan's final change saw Alan Smith replace Stead shortly before four minutes were added on at the end of the match.

Exeter threatened a late resurgence, Collin once again saving with his legs, but 3-0 was how it stayed as Notts' perfect September continued.

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