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Match Reports

Notts 2-2 Northampton

6 April 2019

Ten-man Notts County drew 2-2 with Northampton Town on a dramatic afternoon at Meadow Lane.

The sides went into the break level after Daniel Powell cancelled out Mitch Rose's superb opening goal.

But Ryan Schofield's dismissal immediately after half-time led to Sam Hoskins firing the visitors ahead with the resultant free-kick, leaving Notts with a big mountain to climb.

Neal Ardley's men wasted no time in restoring parity, Kane Hemmings getting into space at the back post to level things up, before the Magpies had to defend their goal heroically - which they did to claim a point.

Ardley named an unchanged squad after overseeing a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Stevenage last weekend.

That meant skipper Jon Stead continued up front, supported by Kane Hemmings and Enzio Boldewijn on either flank.

There was little to choose between the sides in the opening exchanges, with Charlie Goode seeing an early yellow card for a cynical foul on Hemmings and Jordan Turnbull dragging a shot wide from 20 yards before the Magpies claimed the first goal on 27 minutes.

It came from Rose, who did brilliantly to win the ball in midfield before Hemmings saw his long-range effort blocked. It bounced back to the 24-year-old, though, and he showed superb technique to half-volley it into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Notts' hopes of taking a lead into half-time were quashed on 44 minutes, however, as Hoskins' low cross into the middle was turned home by the unmarked Powell at the back post.

There was controversy before the break when Northampton failed to return the ball to Notts after the referee had stopped play to allow one of their players to receive treatment.

The Magpies' furious protestations eventually resulted in a booking for Richard Duffy, adding to Notts' frustrations.

And it was about to get a whole lot worse for Notts who, moments after emerging for the second half unchanged, were reduced to 10 men.

Sam Stubbs' poor backpass saw Powell race through one-on-one with Schofield, who brought the forward down as he tried to get round him outside the area.

Referee Ben Toner produced a straight red card and Ross Fitzsimons' first act after replacing Boldewijn was to line up his wall to defend the free-kick, which would be taken inside the 'D'.

And Fitzsimons was left helpless as Hoskins' low strike, which appeared to take a deflection, nestled in the back of the net.

Notts now had it all to do - but they wasted no time in rising to the challenge, restoring parity almost immediately.

It was a similar goal to Northampton's equaliser, with Stead rolling the ball across the face of goal for Hemmings to turn it home at the back stick - his 13th of the season.

Fitzsimons showed good handling to prevent the Cobblers from restoring their lead minutes later, hanging on to a low free-kick after it had taken a ricochet off Hoskins six yards out.

It was proving to be a tempestuous afternoon and a double Notts booking saw Hemmings cautioned for delaying the taking of a Northampton free-kick before Rose inexplicably saw yellow for what looked like a perfectly executed slide-tackle.

Fitzsimons was called back into action shortly afterwards, again denying Hoskins who had flicked the ball goalwards from a corner.

And a quickfire bombardment was to follow as some heroic Notts defending somehow kept Northampton at bay.

Hoskins was involved once again, receiving a cute ball into his feet in the area but failing to beat Fitzsimons from 10 yards. Hemmings then had to get back on the line to deny the visitors on the rebound, before what seemed like the whole of Notts' team crowded out the area and eventually snuffed out the danger.

Ardley replaced Stead with Pierce Bird in an attempt to stem the flow but Northampton kept pressing, seeing a Goode cross-shot somehow turned behind before Sam Foley's 25-yarder was tipped wide brilliantly by Fitzsimons.

Hoskins' next action earned him a booking for a late challenge on Doyle near the corner flag.

And he was followed into the book by his team-mate Aaron Pierre not long afterwards, who had fouled Hemmings.

Ardley's final change saw the striker replaced by Craig Mackail-Smith shortly before six minutes were added on at the end of the match.

And the substitute came close to netting a dramatic winner after unleasing a speculative 25-yard effort which whistled just wide of the post.

That was to be the last of the goalmouth action, however, as Notts remained level on points with Yeovil and a point ahead of bottom-place Macclesfield.

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