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Match Reports

PL Cup: Notts 2-2 Newcastle

22 January 2019

Notts County Under 23s earned their first point in the Premier League Cup with a 2-2 draw at home to Newcastle.

It looked as though it may have been all three when strikes from Sam Osborne and Elliott Ward opened up a two-goal lead but the visitors fought back through Mo Sangare and Kelland Watts.

Steve Chettle opted for a 4-4-2 formation with Ward captaining the team from central defence alongside Owen Betts and Tyreece Kennedy-Williams and Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain either side.

Enzio Boldewijn continued his comeback from injury with a start on the left wing, while Tom Crawford and last week's goalscorers Will Patching and Osborne completed the midfield. Remaye Campbell was partnered by trialist Elliot Reeves in attack.

The game's first chance fell to Osborne who cut in off the right flank before beating two men to work space for a shot, which only found the side-netting at the near post.

The man on the opposite wing was next to go close as Boldewijn was found unmarked in the box by Patching's curled free-kick but the Dutchman's header missed the target with the goalkeeper beaten.

Newcastle's first chance came when Oliver Walters found space down the left to cross and, via a flick-on, found Luke Charman at the back post but he headed weakly at Tiernan Brooks in goal.

And the visitors were made to pay for the spurned chance moments later, as Notts sprung a counter-attack which saw Patching feed Osborne on the right side of the box. The winger danced inside a challenge before sliding under the onrushing Nathan Harker to grab his sixth goal in six games.

Charman had another sighter for Newcastle after cutting inside Betts and Oxlade-Chamberlain but miscued his shot completely and sliced it a long way wide.

Just after the half-hour mark, the visitors had their best opportunity of the first period when Matthew Longstaff was brought down by Betts just outside the area. 

He picked himself up to take the free-kick which bounced off the chest of Brooks inside the six-yard box but was somehow smuggled back to the Notts keeper as a number of attackers looked to apply the finish. 

Ward went into the book after sliding through the back of Yannick Toure on halfway before the referee called time on an excellent 45 minutes for Chettle's side.

Noor Husin replaced Boldewijn in a pre-planned change at the break and slotted in on the right side of midfield with Osborne swapping flanks for the second period. 

Watts replaced Juan Cumbreras within five minutes of the restart and the visitors went close to an equaliser when Longstaff drove a dangerous ball across the six-yard box, but no one got on the end of it with Brooks scrambling.

Osborne had his first sniff of doubling his tally when Crawford volleyed a sumptious ball over the top for him but his shot was blocked and went behind. The advantage was extended from the resultant corner, though.

Patching's initial cross was cleared but he had a second chance for a ball in and floated it on to the edge of the box where Ward met it with an outstanding volley which gave Harker no chance.

Newcastle looked to respond quickly and on 63 minutes were close to doing so when Sangare crossed to Thomas Allan at the back post who was denied by a point-blank save from Brooks. His follow-up only found the side netting.

Shortly after Brooks had done well to divert Allan's driven cross to safety, the visitors got themselves back into the game on 69 minutes when susbitute Rosaire Longelo centred for Sangare to apply the finish.

Notts went close to restoring their two-goal cushion just moments later when Ward's delightful ball over the top was flicked over his own head by Osborne's silky touch as he put himself through on goal before his shot was turned behind by Harker at the near post.

The game became an end-to-end affair and Toure almost drew the visitors level as he found space on the left side of the box but Ward made a good block in front of his own goal. 

Shortly after losing his footing in the box following a Patching cross, Reeves was replaced by Kion Etete who joined Campbell in attack.

And Notts were forced into another change with ten minutes to play when Kennedy-Williams was stretchered off. Jack Henchcliffe took his place.

Oxlade-Chamberlain switched to the left side of defence as Henchcliffe went in at right-back and he quickly had his name taken for a pull on Longstaff. Watts headed straight at Brooks from the free-kick.

But he did far better with his second chance in quick succession as his looping header from Longelo's corner nestled in the back of the net two minutes from time.

The visitors almost nicked it in the last minute of the 90 when Allan carried the ball into the box on the break but fired narrowly wide of the target.

Newcastle had an even better chance to grab the winner in the game's last attack when Allan went through on goal  unchallenged. He looked to square for Toure when shooting was the better option and overhit the pass, leaving Notts breathing a sigh of relief after earning a first point of this season's group stage.

Notts: Brooks, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Betts, Ward, Kennedy-Williams (Henchcliffe 85'), Osborne, Patching, Crawford, Boldewijn (45'), Campbell, Reeves (Etete 75')


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