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Match Reports

Colchester 3-3 Notts

Magpies denied big win by resurgent hosts

5 January 2019

Match Reports

Colchester 3-3 Notts

Magpies denied big win by resurgent hosts

5 January 2019

Notts County were held to a 3-3 draw on a dramatic day at Colchester United's JobServe Stadium.

Goals from Jon Stead, Dan Jones and Kristian Dennis had fired Notts into a 3-1 lead after Sammie Szmodics netted an early opener.

But a lucky Mickael Mandron goal and a Harry Pell penalty levelled things up as both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Neal Ardley handed a debut to new loan signing Ben Barclay, who lined up on the right hand side of a three-man defence which also included Richard Duffy and Pierce Bird.

With Matt Tootle deemed unfit to play, Cedric Evina slotted in at right wing-back with the returning Jones on the other flank.

Notts were otherwise unchanged from what was a disappointing New Year's Day trip to Oldham and they were immediately on the back foot at the JobServe Stadium as Szmodics fired the hosts ahead on eight minutes, sending the ball into the top corner with a first-time effort following Courtney Senior's cutback.

But the Magpies fought back immediately with a quickfire double that turned the match on its head.

The first came from Stead, who snuck in at the back post to bundle home Andy Kellett's corner for his 50th Notts goal.

And Ardley's men were ahead two minutes later when Stead released Kellett into the area. The midfielder's cutback just evaded Dennis near the penalty spot but Jones had anticipated the chance, running on to the ball and smashing it home via the underside of the bar.

Barclay had to make a crucial intervention to deny Frank Nouble with 27 minutes on the clock, sliding in to take the ball off his toe after Mikael Mandron had crossed low into the danger zone.

But Notts were refusing to sit back and got the third goal their endeavour deserved on 32 minutes when Rob Milsom pounced on Jones' half-cleared cross to supply Dennis, who lashed the ball home with a low, left-footed effort inside the area.

It looked like the Magpies were heading into the break with a two-goal lead but, deep into two minutes of added time, the hosts pulled one back in the most fortuitous of circumstances as Duffy's attempted clearance cannoned off Mandron and beyond the helpless Fitzsimons.

Half-time brought no Notts changes and Ardley's men were under the kosh after the restart, Luke Prosser seeing a headed effort disallowed for offside.

Ardley made a double change shortly before the hour as Dennis and Kellett made way for Jamie Turley and Nathan Thomas.

Turley slotted in at right back as Notts switched to a flat back four, with Duffy shielding the defence in a holding midfield role. Thomas went to right midfield with Jones on the opposite flank.

But the hosts kept up their pressure despite the change and, shortly after they'd had handball appeals waved away when a Notts man blocked a goalbound header on the line, the referee pointed to the spot when Senior went down under a challenge - possibly from Duffy - in the area. Pell remained calm among the chaos to dispatch the penalty.

Lewis Alessandra completed his return from injury by replacing Vaughan and the match regained a degree of balance following a frenetic spell.

The game went into four minutes of added time with the score still locked at 3-3, during which Pell went into the book for a poor challenge on Bird.

And there was to be no winner as the Magpies had to settle for a point on the road.

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