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Match Reports

Stevenage 0-3 Notts

Sensational first half wins Notts the day

30 March 2019

First-half goals from Jim O'Brien, Kane Hemmings and Enzio Boldewijn fired Notts to a spectacular 3-0 victory at Stevenage.

It was a result which lifted the Magpies off the bottom of the Sky Bet League Two table - and they're now level on points with Yeovil Town in 22nd.

Neal Ardley made one change to the side that suffered late heartbreak against Exeter City last weekend, Jon Stead returning to the starting line-up as captain in place of the bench-bound Craig Mackail-Smith.

And the boss was rewarded with a clinical first-half display which began in sensational style.

With only 30 seconds on the clock, O'Brien tried his luck from 25 yards and benefited from a big deflection which wrong-footed Stevenage keeper Paul Farman, who could only watch on as the ball nestled into the back of the net.

The frantic start was met with a period of calm which Stead tried to punctuate with a 20-yard left footed effort on 19 minutes. He could only send the ball straight at Farman.

Notts didn't have to wait much longer for their second goal, though, and O'Brien was pivotal once again.

The Scot played a delicious looping ball over the top for Hemmings to race on to and the striker did well to control it before sliding it under the advancing keeper.

Notts were flying but they were nearly brought back down to earth shortly after the restart when Danny Newton headed the ball wide after getting into space to meet a corner.

Boro boss Dino Maamria, clearly unhappy with his side's early showing, hooked winger Moses Makasi with only 25 minutes on the clock. Emmanuel Sonupe replaced him.

But it did nothing to change the flow of the game as the Magpies went agonisingly close to a third when Farman's save from Stead saw the ball loop up in the area. Unfortunately, it was too much of a stretch for Rob Milsom to capitalise.

Boldewijn was the next to have a go, sending a speculative half-volley off-target.

But that proved to be nothing other than a warm-up effort as the Dutchman made it three shortly afterwards, receiving an excellent Stead pass on the edge of the area before bending the ball into the net.

There were no changes for either team at half-time and within seconds of the action getting back underway, Boldewijn saw an effort saved at the near post.

The onus was very much on Stevenage, though, and they pressed Notts with a succession of corners before Sonupe capitalised on a lucky bounce off the referee to get a shot away on the edge of the area. He could only drag the ball wide.

Mitch Rose saw a cross-shot turned behind and Sam Stubbs' header from the resultant corner was easily held as the Magpies reminded the hosts of their own threat.

But Ryan Schofield, who was having a very quiet afternoon, was called into major action for the first time two minutes later when he had to dive to his left to push Ilias Chair's shot round the post.

Chair had another two bites of the cherry shortly afterwards, finding the wall with a dangerously positioned free-kick and seeing his follow-up effort blocked, too.

Time was ebbing away for the hosts and, with 10 minutes to play, Ardley made a double change with Pierce Bird and Craig Mackail-Smith replacing Stead and Boldewijn.

And Mackail-Smith had a sniff of a goal when the ball ran loose after Hemmings had taken it into the area. He didn't catch his shot cleanly, however, and the ball bobbled to safety.

Substitute Michael Timlin blazed an effort well wide on the half-volley as desperation set in for the hosts.

And Notts killed a little more time when Lewis Alessandra replaced Hemmings shortly before Rose's low effort was superbly saved by Farman low down near his right post.

The effort came inside the first of four added minutes and it was to be the final action of note on a memorable afternoon for the Magpies.

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