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Match Reports

Forest Green 1-2 Notts

9 February 2019

Jim O'Brien and Enzio Boldewijn fired Notts County to a 2-1 victory at Forest Green Rovers.

On a frenetic afternoon in Gloucestershire, O'Brien's second-half opener was almost immediately cancelled out by Joseph Mills' free-kick.

But Enzio Boldewijn responded with a superb winner to send Notts' vociferous away following home happy.

Neal Ardley made one change to the side that earned a respectable draw at home to Lincoln.

In came Virgil Gomis for his first EFL start, replacing the bench-bound Lewis Alessandra and playing as an advanced striker supported by Craig Mackail-Smith, Jon Stead and Boldewijn behind him.

And Gomis nearly had the dream start as, within the first 20 seconds, he scampered on to Jim O'Brien's through ball before seeing his shot saved by Lewis Ward. Mackail-Smith was first to the rebound but the Rovers keeper was equal to his effort, too.

Two minutes later Ward was a busy man again as Boldewijn curled a long-range effort goalwards. The ball was dipping under the bar but the keeper was able to tip it over.

It was all Notts in the early exchanges and there was another sight of goal for Boldewijn when he benefited from excellent work by Gomis to fire a left-footed effort goalwards from inside the area. Ward was there once again to make the save.

Mark Cooper's side eventually managed to compose themselves and missed a big chance to take the lead on 14 minutes when the ball fell kindly for Carl Winchester near the penalty spot. He could only blaze it over.

Ryan Schofield easily dealt with Reuben Reid's 35-yard free-kick before Ward kept out Mackail-Smith's effort from a tight angle as the sides jostled for dominance in the middle part of the half.

And the hosts almost had a fortuitous opener when Joseph Mills' long-range strike looped up off Mackail-Smith and momentarily looked destined for the net. To Notts' relief, however, the ball landed on top of the net.

Notts' response was almost immediate as Boldewijn burst through midfield and threaded Gomis into the area. The young forward tried to beat Ward at his near post but could ony find the side-netting.

Stubbs blocked from Winchester, Doidge's tame effort on the turn was comfortably saved and a scramble in the Notts area passed without the deadlock being broken as half-time approached.

And, shortly after Doidge went into the book for a foul on O'Brien, the referee called time on an entertaining opening 45 minutes.

Notts returned for the second half unchanged and twice came agonisingly close to opening the scoring within minutes of the restart.

Boldewijn cut in from the left and, in classic style, unleashed a well-struck shot from just outside the area which Ward did brilliantly to push out for a corner.

The resultant delivery was met by Barclay, who saw his header cleared off the line.

Rovers reminded Notts of their own threat moments later when Schofield was forced to tip Reid's well-struck effort on to the woodwork.

But it was Notts who would take the lead when O'Brien was first to a bouncing ball in the Rovers area before curling it into the far corner with a perfectly executed half-volley.

It wasn't to last long, however, as Schofield conceded a free-kick after being adjudged to have punched the ball outside his area. The keeper was yellow carded and Rovers had a free-kick on the edge of the area.

Mills stepped up and lashed the ball low through the wall and into the bottom corner.

Doidge hit the side-netting as Rovers looked to capitalise on their momentum following their equaliser and Ardley made his first change shortly afterwards, sending Kane Hemmings on for Gomis.

And Ardley's final changes came on 74 minutes as Elliott Hewitt and Alessandra replaced Mackail-Smith and Stead.

The game was anyone's for the taking and Boldewijn grabbed it by the scruff of the neck with 14 minutes to go, racing away down the left and once again cutting inside on his right foot. This time there was nothing Ward could do as the Dutchman found the top corner with a beautiful strike.

Notts nearly killed the game off when Hemmings volleyed the ball goalwards only for Ward to keep it out.

And they wished they had when six minutes of added time were indicated at the end of the 90.

But the Magpies saw the game out superbly to pick up a huge three points.


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