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Match Reports

Oldham 2-0 Notts

1 January 2019

Notts County began 2019 with a 2-0 defeat at Oldham Athletic on New Year's Day.

Goals either side of the break from Tom Hamer and Peter Clarke were enough for the hosts, who cleared a Pierce Bird effort off the line in the first half and saw a Jon Stead cross diverted on to the post in the second.

Second-half substitute Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain saw red late on to rub salt into Notts' wounds.

It was a disappointing afternoon for the Magpies, who went into the match unchanged following their encouraging performance against Bury.

That meant Bird kept his place alongside Richard Duffy and Shaun Brisley in a three-man central defence.

The bench stayed the same, too, with the likes of Jamie Turley, Elliott Ward, Elliott Hewitt and Kane Hemmings not yet fit enough to make the trip.

The Magpies were hoping for more of the same following their dominant display against the Shakers and, on six minutes, they had the game's first shot when left wing-back Cedric Evina fired a first-time effort over the bar after excellent pressing saw Notts win the ball high up the field.

And the Magpies were so nearly ahead two minutes later when Bird rose highest to meet Andy Kellett's corner, nodding the ball goalwards. Gevaro Nepomuceno nudged the ball wide on the line.

Ross Fitzsimons was called into his first piece of action on 13 minutes, standing firm at his near post to deny Callum Lang.

Notts had started the brighter of the sides but, after Stead's turn-and-shot flew over from 25 yards, the hosts began to get a grip on the game.

Johan Branger-Engone saw his shot from the edge of the area saved by Fitzsimons low down to the keeper's right, before Mohamed Maouche timed his run perfectly to meet Jordan Lyden's low cross only to turn the ball wide with a first-time effort.

And the hosts had the lead five minutes before half-time, albeit in hugely fortuitous circumstances as Hamer's overhit cross from the right sailed over everyone and dropped into the far corner of Fitzsimons' net.

Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Matt Tootle at the break in a straight swap at right wing-back.

But the Magpies' troubles were doubled within two minutes of the restart as captain Clarke turned home a wide free-kick from a yard out.

Notts' response came when Kellett's miscontrol following Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross led to the ball bouncing fpr Vaughan on the edge of the area. On his weaker right foot, the Welshman could only loop his shot over the bar.

Fitzsimons made a comfortable save from Maouche's tame header shortly before Bird latched on to Duffy's flick-on to guide a header goalwards, only for Latics stopper Daniel Iverson to quell the danger.

Nathan Thomas replaced Kellett on 67 minutes but the winger nearly saw his side go 3-0 down moments later when Maouche skipped round Bird to go through on goal. He decided to take his shot early and Fitzsimons made a relatively easy save.

The game was opening up and, shortly after Evina had seen a speculative low shot saved, Notts came agonisingly close to scoring a lucky goal of their own.

Stead charged into the box from the right and saw his low cross turned on to the post by a defender. Oxlade-Chamberlain was first to the ball on the follow-up but could only find the side-netting with his finish.

Notts weren't catching the breaks and Thomas saw an effort blocked as time continued to tick away.

Stead made way for young forward Kion Etete and Milsom saw a shot blocked by Nepomuceno with 10 minutes to play.

But any hopes of the Magpies getting anything from the game were dealt a major blow when Oxlade-Chamberlain picked up his second yellow card by illegally blocking off an Oldham man with seven minutes to go.

And the hosts saw out the rest of the match comfortably as Notts stayed bottom of League Two.


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