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Match Reports

Harrogate 0-2 Notts

Dennis and Boldewijn on target in Yorkshire

13 August 2019

Notts County secured their first victory of the Vanarama National League season with a 2-0 success at Harrogate Town.

Kristian Dennis netted from the penalty spot just before half-time following Will Smith's dismissal for handball on the line to send the Magpies into the break ahead, but it could have been so different had Harrogate's Joe Leesley converted his own effort from the penalty spot minutes earlier.

Enzio Boldewijn didn't care, though, as he notched his second goal in as many games shortly before full-time to make the points safe.

Notts made three changes to the side beaten by Barnet on Saturday as Regan Booty, who signed on Monday, came straight into the midfield for his full debut, while Kristian Dennis and Sam Osborne made their first starts of the season.

Sam Graham dropped to the bench on his 19th birthday as Neal Ardley selected a four-man defence of Zoumana Bakoyogo, Ben Turner, Connell Rawlinson and Dion Kelly-Evans to shield Sam Slocombe.

Mitch Rose captained the side from the centre of midfield while Boldewijn took up a position on the wing, with Osborne on the opposite flank. Nathan Tyson partnered Dennis up front.

Notts were quick out of the starting blocks and could have been ahead inside four minutes when debutant Booty bent a delightful ball into the box to find Tyson in space. The striker couldn't keep his volley down, though.

The bright start continued and Boldewijn was twice denied by crucial blocks on the edge of the area, with Rose heading wide from the resultant corner of the Dutchman's second effort.

On eight minutes the Magpies sprung a rapid counter-attack to force Town keeper James Belshaw into action. It started from a Harrogate corner, which Slocombe did well to punch clear before Tyson picked up the loose ball. He found Dennis in space in the centre of the pitch, who in turn released Osborne in behind the home side's defence only for Belshaw to deny him one-on-one.

Dennis had the ball in the net shortly afterwards but the offside flag had long been raised, before Boldewijn called the Town keeper into another excellent save, bending an effort towards the bottom corner only to see it turned around the post.

The visitors' momentum was slowed as Harrogate began to grow into the game - first Kelly-Evans made a good block on Joe Leesley, before the Town man's deep free-kick was headed wide by Connor Hall at the back post.

There was a stoppage in play as Boldewijn required treatment to his ankle after whipping in a cross but the Dutchman ran it off and, just after the half-hour, he was making Belshaw work again.

It came when a quickly taken corner was punched clear by the Harrogate stopper, but only as far as Boldewijn on the edge of the area who immediately fired at goal. His shot was turned behind the post by the recovering keeper.

Within a minute it was Slocombe who was called in to make an excellent save at the other end. A long ball broke off big striker Mark Beck and fell kindly for Brendan Kiernan who, from seven yards out, must have expected the net to ripple. But the Magpies stopper made a phenomenal save with his legs to turn the ball behind. Smith headed wide from the resultant corner.

Dennis and Boldewijn combined before the striker saw an effort deflected wide from just outside the area as the game took on a remarkable end-to-end nature, but soon the hosts were given a golden opportunity to take the lead.

Kelly-Evans collided with Beck as a deep cross came into the area and referee David Richardson pointed to the spot. Leesley stepped up and sent Slocombe the wrong way but fired wide of the post as Notts players, staff and fans alike breathed a sigh of relief.

The Magpies were spurred on by the miss and in the dying moments of the half were awarded a penalty of their own. Rose's long throw found its way to Dennis and his acrobatic effort was handled on the line by Smith, who duly received his marching orders.

Dennis placed the ball on the spot and made no mistake from 12 yards, moments before the sides returned to their dressing rooms with Notts deservedly ahead.

The 10 men of Harrogate created the first opening of the second half when sloppy play from Rose led to Kiernan getting in down the right. He found Jack Muldoon, who fired low across goal and just past the post, much to the relief of the Magpies.

Before the hour was out, Beck saw a header go narrowly over, before Bakayogo made a fantastic goal-line clearance to deny Muldoon who had beaten the offside trap and lifted the ball over the onrushing Slocombe only to see the left back acrobatically clear from under his own crossbar.

New signing Wes Thomas came on for Tyson shortly before ex-Magpie Jon Stead entered the fray for the hosts.

And the sides continued to exchange chances as Town midfielder Josh Falkingham fired wide from 25 yards before Osborne badly miscued his finish after cutting on to his left foot inside the Town area.

Dennis’ evening came to an end with 11 minutes to play when he was replaced by young midfielder Declan Dunn.

And Kelly-Evans was punished with a yellow card for trying to wind the clock down while taking a throw-in with four minutes to play.

But in the end there was no need for timewasting as, in the dying embers of normal time, Boldewijn stooped low at the back post to nod home Booty’s deep free-kick.

Osborne made way for Graham as four minutes of added time were indicated at the end of the match, during which Stead blazed a free-kick over the bar and Slocombe made an excellent one-on-one save from Muldoon.

But Notts kept hold of their clean sheet to record a much-needed win.

Notts’ next match is a home clash with Wrexham on Sunday. Click here to get your ticket.


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