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Match Reports

Crawley 1-1 Notts

Ten-man Magpies hold firm to claim point

22 April 2019

Match Reports

Crawley 1-1 Notts

Ten-man Magpies hold firm to claim point

22 April 2019

Ten-man Notts County drew 1-1 away at Crawley Town on Easter Monday.

The Magpies had the dream start when Craig Mackail-Smith nodded them into an eighth-minute lead, but it was quickly cancelled out by Ashley Nathaniel-George.

Notts were giving a good account of themselves but their task was made harder when Ben Barclay was dismissed for a two-footed challenge early in the second half and they stood firm to claim a share of the spoils. 

Neal Ardley made two changes to the side that suffered defeat against MK Dons on Good Friday.

Jon Stead returned to the starting line-up as captain, replacing absent top scorer Kane Hemmings.

Pierce Bird also came in to form a three-man central defence alongside Sam Stubbs and Barclay, with Enzio Boldewijn dropping to the bench on his return to The People's Pension Stadium.

The changes saw Mackail-Smith line up alongside Stead up front - and the move paid dividends with only eight minutes on the clock when Matt Tootle capitalised on a defensive slip-up to stand a cross up to the back stick, where the loanee was on hand to send a superb looping header beyond Glenn Morris and into the net.

And the Magpies had a golden opportunity to double their lead shortly afterwards when a loose ball bounced nicely for Jim O'Brien in the area following Michael Doyle's free-kick. The Scotsman met it on the half-volley but didn't get the connection he was after, sending the shot wide.

It had been a very bright start from the Magpies but they were hit with a sucker punch on 20 minutes, when Nathaniel-George restored parity with the hosts' first meaningful shot.

It was a superb individual effort from the winger, who used his pace to cut in from the left before beating Ryan Schofield with a well-struck, low effort from the edge of the area.

Notts had another tremendous chance five minutes later when Bird played a lovely pass to reward Rob Milsom's run forward from left-wing back. The former Fulham man picked out Stead with the cutback but the experienced forward could only fire the ball over with a first-time, left-footed effort.

Crawley were living dangerously by playing the ball out from the back and it was nearly their undoing shortly before the break when the Magpies robbed them of possession high up the field, presenting Mitch Rose with a shooting opportunity 25 yards out. He could only blaze the ball over, though.

Milsom wrote his own name into referee Graham Salisbury's notebook for hauling back an opponent shortly before he called time on the half.

Both terms reemerged for the second period unchanged and Notts continued to assert themselves in an attacking sense, Barclay meeting Doyle's inswinging free-kick with a header that went just over the bar shortly after the restart.

And Barclay's disappointment was doubled moments later when he rashly lunged in on Crawley captain Dannie Bulman, earning himself a straight red card.

Ardley's response was to send on Elliott Ward for Stead as Notts continued with their five-man defence.

And the Magpies claimed the game's next shot when O'Brien sent the ball a couple of yards over the angle of post and crossbar with a long-range effort.

Chances had been few and far between for the hosts but they came dangerously close to taking the lead on 64 minutes when Ollie Palmer's cross-shot just evaded the far post, with Tom Dallison inches away from turning the ball home with a diving header on the line.

And the hosts, who were now dominating possesion, squandered an even better chance moments later when substitute Reece Grego-Cox somehow glanced a header wide after meeting Lewis Young's pinpoint cross six yards out.

With full-time looming, Mackail-Smith made way for Boldewijn in a straight swap up top.

But it was Crawley forward Palmer who nearly grabbed the headlines when his low effort from the edge of the area flashed narrowly wide of Schofield's post shortly before five of added minutes were indicated.

And there was to be no further goalmouth action as Notts came away from Sussex with what could prove to be a valuable point come the end of the season.

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