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Match Reports

Notts 0-0 Port Vale

2 March 2019

Notts County were held to a 0-0 draw by Port Vale at Meadow Lane.

Rob Milsom had Notts' best chance to win it with an opportunity in the first half, while the Magpies had Ryan Schofield to thank for some fine work between the sticks on a nervy afternoon.

Neal Ardley made one change to the team that faced Tranmere Rovers last weekend as Virgil Gomis returned to the starting line-up in place of Kane Hemmings, who had to settle for a place on the bench.

With so much at stake for both sides, there was an understandably cagey start to the game with Enzio Boldewijn claiming the first notable shot, whistling the ball a yard or two over the bar from just outside the area on 18 minutes.

Moments later the hosts went close again, Jon Stead working his way into the box brilliantly before picking out Rob Milsom. The marauding full-back's shot was well saved by visiting keeper Scott Brown.

Nerves were jangling at the other end a couple of minutes later as Leon Legge's goalbound header was instinctively blocked by a Notts defender following a corner.

And, moments after Stead had curled a long-range effort off-target, Ryan Schofield had to produce a superb save to push Tom Conlon's free-kick away from the top corner of his net.

The visitors were building momentum as the half progressed and they nearly had the lead when Manny Oyeleke's deflected effort bobbled just wide of the post following a spell of concerted Valiants pressure.

Conlon saw yellow for cynically halting Boldewijn on the break and the Dutchman tried to respond in the best way possible before the referee called time on the half. He couldn't keep his 25-yard shot down, however, and the sides returned to the changing rooms at deadlock.

There were no changes at the break but Vale came within inches of altering the scoreline moments after the restart as Tom Pope headed Mitch Clark's cross narrowly wide.

Boldewijn offered Notts' retort with a low shot off target before Schofield had to push a dipping David Worrall effort over the bar after Sam Stubbs had half-cleared a corner.

And the visitors should have been ahead on 65 minutes when Worrall was picked out with a clever pass into the area. He squared the ball for Oyeleke, who had time to take a touch but instead dragged the ball wide with a first-time shot.

Vale were looking the more likely team to open the scoring and Pope, who had earlier been booked for a poor challenge on Michael Doyle, squandered another opportunity for the visitors when he stretched to meet a left-wing cross only to head the ball over the bar.

Ardley responded with his first change of the afternoon, sending Hemmings on for Gomis, and Craig Mackail-Smith made way for Lewis Alessandra shortly afterwards.

And the changes seemed to spark Notts into life as they created their best moment of the half, O'Brien playing Rose to the byline before the full-back rolled a dangerous low cross into the middle. Agonisingly, no-one was on hand to turn it home.

The game was anyone's going into the final throes and Conlon saw a fierce drive blocked before Doyle fired a long-range effort over the bar at the other end.

Two minutes were added on at the end of the match but neither team was able to find a winner to aid their battle against relegation.

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