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Kewell: 'We deserved to win'

Boss disappointed to share spoils

3 November 2018

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Harry Kewell felt Notts’ defensive efforts against Port Vale meant they deserved to win Saturday’s encounter in Staffordshire.

His side were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw when Tom Pope equalised in the last minute of the 90, after Elliott Ward’s first Magpies goal looked like it had secured a comeback victory moments earlier.

And Kewell was disappointed not to take three points after a valiant defensive display.

“I feel we deserved to win the game so to only draw is hard to take,” said the Australian.

“We dug deep, defended well against their aerial threats and took our chance to go into the lead so late on.

“We knew that Port Vale would try to bombard us and eventually it worked, but we take the point and go again on Tuesday.”

The sides went into the break a goal apiece after Kane Hemmings cancelled out Luke Hannant’s opener, and Kewell felt Notts had the measure of their hosts in the first period.

“I think we were brilliant in the first half and controlled the game,” he said.

“We fell a goal behind but got ourselves back into it and then we did well to keep Pope and their other threats fairly quiet.

“We knew what they’d do in the second half and we just switched off at the last second - but we’ve stopped the rot now.”

16-year-old Kion Etete made his league debut, replacing Kristian Dennis inside the last 20 minutes, and he impressed his manager.

Kewell said: “Kion was excellent. He held the ball up well, gave us an outlet and made life difficult for their defenders.

“It was a tough afternoon for Kristian, coming in to replace Jon Stead, because he was up against three big centre-backs.

“They were playing the ball long as soon as they received it and he couldn’t pick up any scraps from them so we felt it was the right time to bring him off as he’s not played too much recently.”

Kewell also confirmed that Stead missed the match through injury and that the forward is being assessed by medical staff.

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