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Match Reports

Notts 0-0 Morecambe

Gap to safety narrows despite stalemate

16 March 2019

Notts County were held to a 0-0 draw a home to Morecambe - but the gap between themselves and EFL safety narrowed to three points.

Both sides had chances to win it on a cagey afternoon, Enzio Boldewijn spurning Notts' best opportunity in the second half, but the match ended in deadlock.

Macclesfield climbed back above Notts with a victory at Yeovil which leaves the Glovers in touching distance of both the Magpies and the Silkmen.

Neal Ardley was forced into one change following Tuesday night's big win at Carlisle.

Jim O'Brien was left with a gash on his leg following a reckless challenge late on in Cumbria and was therefore unavailable.

Matt Tootle took his place in the starting 11, with Mitch Rose moving into central midfield alongside Michael Doyle and David Vaughan.

Richard Duffy continued alongside Sam Stubbs in the heart of defence, while Kane Hemmings continued to lead the line after scoring three goals in his previous two matches.

Just as it was in Carlisle, albeit with slightly less venom and without the driving rain, a howling wind was blowing around the ground.

It was proving less than condusive to free-flowing football and the first real action of note came on 14 minutes when Morecambe's Richard Bennett was booked for a late challenge on Stubbs.

A minute later, Richard Duffy met a Michael Doyle corner on the volley but could only send the ball across goal and wide, despite Doyle's best efforts to keep it in on the byline.

Alessandra followed up shortly afterwards with a sliced effort from just outside the area following Luke Conlan's misjudged header. The ball went harmlessly wide.

Referee Kevin Johnson then had his yellow card out again, punishing Piero Mingoia after he hacked Enzio Boldewijn down in midfield minutes before David Vaughan sent a low, left-footed effort wide from 25 yards.

Notts had certainly enjoyed the lion's share of the half-chances but there was a flurry of golden opportunities for both teams as half-time approached.

The first went to the Magpies when Boldewijn latched on to Tootle's clipped pass into the channel before drilling the ball low into the middle. Alessandra anticipated the chance but couldn't quite get there in time to turn it home from six yards.

Morecambe's response came from Bennett, who produced an outstanding left-wing cross to give former Notts loanee Aaron Collins the opportunity to turn the ball home at the back post. He also arrived a millisecond too late, though, and the Magpies breathed a sigh of relief.

That wasn't the last of the action, though, and the visitors should probably have taken a 1-0 lead into the break after Alex Kenyon picked out Steven Old unmarked in the middle. The big defender could only nod his cross over the bar.

There were no changes at the break and the second half began in scrappy style with Rose writing his name into the book for a foul on the evergreen Kevin Ellison.

Collins bobbled a shot straight at Schofield before Tootle responded with a 25-yard volley that flew halfway up the Air-IT Kop.

Notts went much closer to taking the lead moments later when Vaughan won possession high up the field before playing Boldewijn through one-on-one with Mark Halstead. The keeper got down low to parry the ball out to Rose 20 yards from goal and the former Grimsby man sent a low, first-time effot back towards goal. Halstead was able to make the save once more, however, securing the ball at the second attempt with Hemmings steaming in.

Jordan Cranston was the next man to have his name taken following a robust challenge on Doyle which caused a mini-altercation between both sets of players under the close watch of the referee.

Ardley's first change followed with Craig Mackail-Smith, who had been missing through illness recently, replacing Alessandra with 20 minutes to play.

Notts had to remain alert in defence, though, and Milsom was alive to the danger when Mingoia skipped past Duffy in the area and looked set to shoot. The full-back stretched every sinew in his body to make a crucial block.

Schofield was then called upon to push Collins' long-range effort around the post before Ardley sent Will Patching on in place of Vaughan.

Patching's first involvement was to be on the receiving end of a poor Andrew Fleming challenge which saw the Shrimps substitute go into the book.

It looked like the match was heading for stalemate when Tootle sent a left-footed effort over the bar from the edge of the area with the clock at 90.

And four minutes of added time wasn't enough for either team to find a winner as a cagey, frustrating afternoon came to a goalless end.


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