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Match Reports

Eastleigh 1-0 Notts

Opening day defeat for the Magpies

3 August 2019

Match Reports

Eastleigh 1-0 Notts

Opening day defeat for the Magpies

3 August 2019

Nine-man Notts County were beaten 1-0 at Eastleigh in the first match of the 2019-20 National League season.

Reda Johnson's first-half header was enough to win it for the south-coast side, who limited Notts' attacking threat well all afternoon.

The Magpies finished the game with nine men after Michael Doyle and Damien McCrory were shown straight red cards following an off-the-ball tussle and a 50-50 challenge respectively.

New arrivals Sam Slocombe, McCrory, Nathan Tyson, Dion Kelly-Evans and Zoumana Bakayogo were all handed starts by Neal Ardley, while the familiar face of Jim O'Brien started in midfield having committed his future to the Magpies on Thursday.

Notts lined up with Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, McCrory and Pierce Bird playing in a central defensive three flanked by wing-backs Bakayogo and Kelly-Evans.

Doyle played in a holding midfield role, supporting Mitch Rose and O'Brien, while Tyson partnered Enzio Boldewijn up top.

The game started in even style but the hosts had the lead on 14 minutes when experienced defender Johnson rose highest in the area to head home Jack Payne's corner.

Notts sought an immediate response when Tyson supplied Boldewijn in the area but the Dutchman saw his shot blocked by a defender on the slide.

The Magpies were then nearly the masters of their own downfall when Oxlade-Chamberlain cheaply conceded possession in a dangerous area, allowing Eastleigh to work the ball to new signing Tyrone Barnett on the edge of the box. His low shot was straight at Slocombe, who made a comfortable save.

Notts were struggling to carve out clear-cut chances and the closest they went in the half came from a free-kick, won by O'Brien on the edge of the area shortly before half-time. Rose took responsibility for the set piece, curling the ball just over the bar with home keeper Max Stryjek scrambling.

Notts' 796-strong away following will have been hoping for more in the way of attacking threat in the second half.

And O'Brien tried to give them something to cheer shortly after the restart when the ball broke for him 25 yards out. His shot flew high and wide, however.

Notts were now enjoying more of the play, with Bakayogo noticably getting forward more down the left, but they had to be alert just after the hour to get in the way of Cavaghn Miley's shot when the ball bounced to him on the edge of the area.

Ardley's first change followed shortly afterwards when Kelly-Evans made way for Kane Hemmings as the Magpies switched to a front three and a flat back four, with Oxlade-Chamberlain moving to right back.

The next chance went to the hosts, however, as Miley was played into the area. His shot from a narrow angle was held at the second attempt by Slocombe.

Notts' response came from Bakayogo, who broke purposefuly down the left and crossed the ball low towards the near post. Tyson did well to get across Johnson to meet the ball but the defender managed to block the subsequent shot.

Matt Tootle replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain and Bird made way for debutant Ben Turner with a quarter of an hour to play.

Notts' task was made considerably harder moments later when, as the hosts prepared to swing in a corner, Doyle clashed with an opponent and was shown a straight red card.

But they had a golden opportunity to restore parity with seven minutes of normal time remaining when Boldewijn latched on to a bouncing ball and cut inside on his right foot inside the area. He sent the ball high over the bar, however, wasting Notts' best chance of the match.

Four minutes were added on at the end of the match, during which McCrory also saw red following a 50-50 challenge on Scott Rendell. On first impressions the decision looked harsh but there was nothing Notts could do as they slipped to defeat on a damaging afternoon in Hampshire.

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