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Match Reports

Notts 1-1 Stockport

Magpies off the mark

6 August 2019

Notts County picked up their first point of the season with a 1-1 draw against Stockport County on Tuesday evening.

The Magpies had looked on course for all three when Jim O'Brien's volley gave them the lead at the break but Elliot Osborne levelled for the Hatters inside the last 20 minutes. 

Neal Ardley made three changes to the side that started at Eastleigh on the opening day - two of which were enforced due to Michael Doyle and Damien McCrory's suspensions, with Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain the other making way.

Into the line-up came debutants Sam Graham and Connell Rawlinson, who made up a back three alongside Pierce Bird, and Kane Hemmings, who joined Nathan Tyson and Enzio Boldewijn in attack.

O'Brien and, skipper for the evening, Mitch Rose played in central midfield between Zoumana Bakayogo and Dion Kelly-Evans, while Sam Slocombe continued between the sticks.

The first chance of note came in the 12th minute, when some sloppy play in the Notts defence gave Jake Kirby the opportunity to feed Frank Mulhern - he fired straight at Slocombe, though.

The Magpies went straight down the other end and created their first opening as Boldewijn drove through the centre of the pitch before bending a shot at goal, which Stockport's Ben Hinchliffe comfortably held.

Osborne then had three chances in quick succession for the Hatters. The first was a shot from range which was comfortably saved, but Slocombe was called into more serious action moments later.

The forward got in behind the Notts backline and the keeper had to be quickly out of his goal to deny the Stockport man one-on-one, pushing his low effort away.

Next, Osborne saw an effort deflected away for a corner, which Adam Thomas headed dangerously back across goal but the Magpies managed to clear.

Tyson went down holding his arm shortly before the half-hour mark and was forced off with Declan Dunn replacing him.

Osborne tested Slocombe with a free-kick that the keeper pushed away, before Boldewijn and Rose linked up twice to great effect, only to see Stockport defenders make important interventions.

Hemmings then spurned a golden chance to grab the opening goal of the evening when he volleyed Kelly-Evans' low cross over the bar, but Notts took the lead shortly afterwards.

Rose's long throw was partially cleared but O'Brien met the bouncing ball with a beautifully-struck volley which arrowed into the bottom corner for the Scot's first goal at Meadow Lane.

The goalscorer was caught in possession shortly afterwards meaning Slocombe again had to deny Osborne, but O'Brien claimed the last chance of the first half as he sent a long-range effort whistling narrowly over the crossbar.

The sides returned from the interval unchanged but Paul Turnbull looked to quickly alter the scoreline, striking well from distance but missing the target with his left-footed drive. 

On the hour, the visitors thought they'd levelled when substitute Nyal Bell's header ruffled the net but, fortunately for the home supporters, it was on the outside of the post and only the side netting. 

Ben Turner came on for his home debut in the 62nd minute and was thrust straight into the action, putting the lively Bell under pressure after he found space in the area and crowding the substitute out.

Moments later, Stockport went within a whisker of an equaliser as the ball dropped kindly for Turnbull on the left-hand side of the box but his low drive across the goalmouth wasn't turned home and went out for a goal kick, much to the relief of the Magpies' supporters.

Notts looked to have ridden the storm and a flurry of set pieces put their visitors under pressure, and on 69 minutes went agonisingly close to a second.

Boldewijn's winding run carried him past defenders and he teed up Hemmings to shoot on the turn - his effort looked destined for the bottom corner but Hinchliffe got a vital touch to push the ball past his post. 

Moments later, however, Stockport levelled as Osborne finally found a way past Slocombe. The Hatters showed some neat touches through the middle of the field and the forward was played in behind the backline before coolly slotting home despite pressure from Turner. 

Substitute Ben Jackson whistled a shot narrowly over and Slocombe had to be alert to deny Sam Minihan, before Rose sent a low drive straight at Hinchliffe as both sides looked for the winner.

Three minutes were added on for either side to turn one point into three and Boldewijn had a great opportunity to send the Notts fans into raptures deep into the first. His powerful run took him into the penalty area, where he worked space for a shot but got under it with Hinchliffe looking helpless.

Referee Peter Gibbons called time shortly afterwards, though, and both sides picked up their first point of the campaign.

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