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Match Reports

Cheltenham 4-1 Notts

Hemmings penalty not enough

9 March 2019

Notts County were beaten 4-1 by Cheltenham Town at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.

The Magpies found themselves 2-0 down going into the break following a Will Boyle header and a Luke Varney penalty.

Billy Waters made it three shortly after the restart before Kane Hemmings dispatched a penalty.

But Tyrone Barnett made the points safe for the hosts with a scrappy goal late on.

Neil Ardley named an unchanged starting 11 following the 0-0 home draw against Port Vale.

That meant Craig Mackail-Smith was deemed fit enough to start despite struggling with a minor Achilles problem during the week.

Virgil Gomis also kept his place, with Kane Hemmings having to settle for a seat on the bench.

An even start led to Rob Milsom claiming the game's first meaningful shot on 16 minutes, the left back seeing his effort take a slight nick off a Cheltenham defender on its way wide.

The hosts' response came from marauding wing back Chris Hussey, who couldn't keep his header down after meeting Charlie Raglan's cross in space at the back post.

But it was only to be a temporary reprieve as, five minutes later, Raglan's cross was this time headed home by Boyle.

Notts' problems were doubled shortly afterwards when Mackail-Smith felled Waters after chasing him into the area. Veteran striker Varney made no mistake from the spot.

A difficult first half was capped by an injury to Jon Stead which led to Hemmings' introduction shortly before the referee called time.

There were no other Notts substitutions at the break but Ardley sent his players back out in a 3-4-3 formation with Mitch Rose alongside Sam Stubbs and Ben Barclay. Mackail-Smith, Gomis and Hemmings formed the front three.

But the hosts began the half on the front foot and Boyle should have made it 3-0 with a stooping header at the back post. Instead of nestling in the back of the net the ball looped up towards the back post and Ryan Schofield had to turn it behind.

Town didn't have to wait much longer to extend their lead, however, as Kevin Dawson collected a loose ball in the middle before playing Waters through on goal. He coolly guided the ball beyond Schofield and into the net.

Notts had penalty appeals waved away shortly before the hour-mark when Boldewijn appeared to have been tripped after scrapping to regain control of the ball following a heavy touch. The referee waved play on.

But Thomas Bramall did point to the spot minutes later when Boyle was penalised for climbing on Mackail-Smith as the pair battled for an aerial ball in the box. Hemmings rolled the spotkick into the bottom-left corner to give the Magpies hope.

Notts appeared to be lifted by the goal and applied plenty of pressure on their hosts before Rose went into the book for pulling Waters back as he looked to launch a counter-attack.

But the match soon levelled out again and Ardley was forced into another change with 82 minutes on the clock when the hobbling Jim O'Brien made way for David Vaughan.

Boldewijn saw an effort blocked as Notts continued their pursuit of a goal to set up a nervy finale.

But any hopes of a comeback were extinguished on 88 minutes when Town substitute Barnett turned the ball home from close range following a corner.


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