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Match Reports

Mansfield 2-0 Notts

Stags win the derby with Hamilton at the double

8 December 2018

Notts County were beaten 2-0 by Mansfield Town in the Nottinghamshire Derby at One Call Stadium.

Goals either side of the break from CJ Hamilton were enough to win it for the hosts on a frenetic afternoon which could have seen many more goals.

Notts, led by Neal Ardley in his first league game in charge, had a number of good chances but were unable to find a way past Bobby Olejnik in the Mansfield net.

The Magpies lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with Jon Stead returning to the starting line up, taking the armband in the process.

He was flanked by Nathan Thomas and Will Patching, with Elliott Hewitt, David Vaughan and Rob Milsom patrolling central midfield.

Jamie Turley filled in at right back in the continued absence of Matt Tootle, while Shaun Brisley was selected to partner Elliott Ward in central defence.

Dan Jones kept his place at left back and Ross Fitzsimons continued between the sticks.

Notts made a bright start to the game and won a free-kick just outside the area with five minutes on the clock. Patching could only find the wall with his shot.

Thomas was the next man to have a go, cutting in from the left and seeing his well-struck effort palmed away by Olejnik.

Notts hearts were in mouths on 14 minutes when Fitzsimons had to come out of his goal to challenge Hamilton down the left flank. He executed the tackle well but the ball stayed in play, presenting Mal Benning with a potshot at an open goal from a wide position 40 yards out. Ward anticipated the danger, however, and was well positioned to clear the goalbound effort.

It was then Mansfield's turn for a scare as Thomas peeled off into space on the edge of the area, where he was intelligently picked out by Patching. On his weaker right foot, the winger could only guide the ball over the bar.

Benning and Forest loanee Tyler Walker both sent shots wide before Thomas had an even better chance, receiving the ball from Vaughan, beating his man for pace in the area and seeing his low shot saved by the legs of Olejnik.

Notts were well in the match and Patching sent an effort over as the visitors continued to show their attacking threat.

But the hosts were looking lively in attack themselves as Mellis played a superb through ball for Neal Bishop to send the former Notts man clear on goal. Fitzsimons made an excellent save with his leg to deny the midfielder.

Patching then had a golden opportunity of his own as the ball ran for him in the area. He couldn't find a way round Olejnik with his shot, though.

And less than a minute later Notts were ruing their missed opportunities as Benning crossed the ball to the back stick, where Hamilton was on hand to guide it back across goal and into the far corner to give Stags the lead.

Thomas sent another effort over, Brisley made an important block to deny Walker and Hamilton shot high and wide with Fitzsimons stranded once more as the clock ticked down towards half-time.

But there was to be no more action of note before the referee, who had booked Turley for a wild swipe on Hamilton earlier in the half, called time.

There were no changes for either side at the break and the hosts nearly doubled their lead six minutes after the restart, Hamilton rattling the crossbar after capitalising on Brisley's misplaced pass.

Moments later, Hayden White hit the post from a tight angle as David Flitcroft's side continued their pursuit of the game's next goal.

Ardley's first changes came on 58 minutes as Brisley made way for Tom Crawford and Kane Hemmings made his long-awaited return to action, replacing Patching.

The switch saw Vaughan move to right midfield, Hewitt to right back and Turley to centre back as Ardley changed to a 4-4-2.

Turley was called into immediate action in his new role, making an important intervention to deny Walker in the area.

But the Notts defence were unable to prevent the hosts extending their lead shortly afterwards, catching the Magpies cold on the break as Hamilton doubled his tally, cutting on to his left foot in the area and firing the ball low past the wrong-footed Fitzsimons.

Walker came close to adding a third when he pounced on a Turley mistake before drilling the ball across goal and just wide of the far post.

The Magpies needed a response and nearly had one when Ward showed good footwork and composure in the area before drilling a low effort goalwards. Olejnik dived to his left to push the ball wide.

Stead was the next man to have a glimpse at goal as Jones picked him out with a sensational cross from the left. The forward got underneath the ball, however, and was unable to direct his header goalwards.

Jones had to get back quickly as the Stags broke away down the left, Hamilton crossing for Walker who looked certain to score. Jones slid in to make an outstanding challenge, quelling the danger.

Walker was then on the receiving end of a foul by Hewitt which earned the Welshman a booking shortly before Stead made way for Kristian Dennis with 10 minutes to play. Milsom took the armband.

Dennis was yellow carded following a collision with Olejnik and four minutes were added on at the end of the match, during which Fitzsimons denied substitute Danny Rose.

And that was to be the game's final shot as the hosts claimed local bragging rights.


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