On-pitch improvements see Notts safe

Last updated : 25 May 2009 By Rob Davies

10/01/09: Notts County 2-1 Exeter City

Notts came into the new year having lost five of their last six league games at Meadow Lane, but a 13-day break seemed to have done them the power of good as they beat and outplayed one of the Division's best sides.

Marcus Stewart gave the visitors an underserved lead in the 26th minute following the award of a highly-dubious penalty, but the Magpies came roaring back and goals from Delroy Facey and Gavin Strachan gave them the lead going into the interval.

With Myles Weston in particular in fine form, the only surprise was that Notts failed to add to their advantage after the break, with Facey particularly culpable and Adam Nowland chipping a shot onto the crossbar.

Notts: Pilkington; Picken, Edwards, Johnson, Clapham; Hamshaw, Nowland (Hunt), Strachan (Wedderburn), Weston; Facey, Forrester (Canham).

17/01/09: Brentford 1-1 Notts County

The Magpies continued their impressive start to 2009 with a point at the eventual League Two champions, though the feeling was that it should have been all three.

Facey: On Target
Brentford played almost the duration of the game a man short, after Nathan Elder was given a straight red card after just eight minutes for an alleged elbow on Mike Edwards, and Notts were quick to capatalise, Facey giving them a 12th minute lead.

The Magpies continued to impress but once again were unable to take advantage of the chances created, with Weston, Jamie Forrester and Sean Canham all guilty of bad misses, before a 94th-minute header from Mark Phillips gave the high-fliers a somewhat fortunate point.

Notts: Pilkington; Picken, Edwards, Johnson, Clapham; Hamshaw, Nowland (Wedderburn), Thompson, Weston; Facey (Canham), Forrester.

20/01/09: Aldershot Town 2-2 Notts County

The Magpies twice came from behind to claim a share of the spoils in an entertaining game at the Recreation Ground.

Ben Harding gave the home side an early lead and excellent goalkeeping twice denied Matt Hamshaw an equaliser. Three goals inside a 12-minute period in the second half would eventually decide the games outcome, strikes from Jamie Clapham and Hamshaw - first Notts County goals for the pair - sandwiched an effort from Aldershot's Scott Davies.

Lillis; Picken, Edwards, Hunt, Clapham; Hamshaw, Thompson, Nowland, Weston; Canham, Forrester (Fairclough).

24/01/09: Notts County 4-2 Port Vale

Jamie Forrester was the hero as Notts produced one of their best footballing displays of the campaign and took themselves up to the dizzy heights of 13th in the League Two table.

A superb individual effort from Weston had given Notts the lead at the interval, before a second-half hat-trick from Forrester - including a delightful 25-yard curling effort that cannoned in off the underside of the bar - saw Ian McParland's side claim a deserved win.

Notts: Lillis; Picken, Edwards, Johnson. Clapham; Hamshaw (Fairclough), Thompson, Nowland, Weston; Facey, Forrester (Wedderburn).

27/01/09: Rochdale 3-0 Notts County

Notts continued their annoying trait of following up a big win with an equally big defeat as they were well-beaten at promotion-chasing Rochdale.

Goals from Will Buckley, Chris Dagnall and Adam Le Fondre was no more than Rochdale's dominance deserved, with only good goalkeeping from on-loan Josh Lillis preventing a more embarrassing defeat for McParland's men.

Notts: Lillis; Picken, Edwards (Wedderburn), Hunt, Clapham; Hamshaw, Thompson, Nowland, Weston; Facey, Forrester (Fairclough).

31/01/09: Notts County 0-1 Chesterfield

A month that had begun so positively for Notts ended in disappointing circumstances as a solitary strike from Drew Talbot ensured that Chesterfield left Meadow Lane with all three points.

Poor finishing was once again Notts' nemesis, as John Thompson, Nowland and Forrester all came close without success. The Magpies' afternoon was made even worse when Nowland - who had been key to the upturn in fortunes early in the month - was withdrawn with a hamstring injury that would once again see him sidelined.

Notts: Lillis; Picken, Edwards, Johnson, Clapham; Hamshaw, Thompson, Nowland (Wedderburn), Weston; Facey, Forrester (Canham).


14/02/09: Notts County 2-0 Barnet

Clapham: Scored stunning free-kick
The break once again did the Magpies good as they comfortably overcame a poor Barnet side at Meadow Lane.

Notts were good value for the win but it took two special goals to see them home, Hamshaw first producing a delightful chip before Clapham superbly curled home a second-half free-kick to double the advantage.

Other bright spots for Notts came in the form of a promising display from young striker Ben Fairclough on his long-awaited full League debut and the return of top-scorer Richard Butcher and Adam Tann from long-term injuries.

Notts: Lillis; Picken, Edwards, Johnson (Tann), Clapham; Hamshaw, Thompson, Wedderburn, Weston; Facey (Canham), Fairclough (Butcher).

17/02/09: Macclesfield Town 1-1 Notts County

A draw was probably the fairest outcome as Notts came from behind to level things at Macclesfield.

On-form Hamshaw was again the man on target, expertly volleying home a Weston cross, though Clapham - seeking to score in the same game as the former Mansfield winger for the third time - was denied another special free-kick by the crossbar.

Notts: Pilkington; Picken, Edwards, Johnson (Tann), Clapham; Hamshaw, Thompson, Wedderburn (Butcher), Weston; Facey, Forte (Canham).

20/02/09: Bury 2-0 Notts County

Notts were unable to maintain their half-decent record against sides from the top of League Two as they were thoroughly outclassed by a high-flying Bury side.

A wonderful chip from Andy Bishop gave the home side a 40th minute lead and Notts never really looked like getting back into the game, before Efe Sodje sealed the win for the hosts late-on.

Notts: Pilkington; Picken, Edwards, Johnson, Clapham; Hamshaw (Forrester), Thompson, Butcher (Strachan), Weston; Facey, Forte.

28/02/09: Notts County 3-1 Bradford City

Weston: On fine form
On a week where all eyes were on matters off-the-field as a Boardroom split emerged at Meadow Lane, Notts' playing staff let their football talking as a blistering first half display stunned Bradford.

The Magpies were three-up by half-time, as a front four of Jonathan Forte, Weston, Forrester and Facey tore through a helpless Bradford side, with two goals from Forte - including a stunning team breakaway effort - and one from Facey ensuring Notts could take their foot off the gas during the second period.

Notts: Pilkington; Tann (Strachan), Edwards, Johnson, Clapham; Forte, Nowland (Wedderburn), Thompson, Weston; Facey, Forrester (Butcher).


Tragedy struck Meadow Lane for the second time in the season, as club legend Jack Wheeler died aged 89.

Current boss Ian McParland led the tributes to Wheeler, who spent 26 years working in various roles at the club, including working as a trainer under legendary boss Jimmy Sirrel, who had passed-away just months earlier.

Notts swooped to sign John Thompson on a permanent basis, after a highly-impressive initial loan spell. The versatile Irishman signed a two-and-a-half-year contract and would ultimately be handed the captain's armband before the season drew to a close.

McParland signed Chesterfield right-back Phil Picken on an initial month's loan, though this was later extended as Picken became a near ever-present during the second half of the campaign.

There were plenty of exits as Neil MacKenzie, Paul Mayo, Spencer Weir-Daley and Jay Smith all had their contracts terminated. Mayo and MacKenzie signed deals with Mansfield until the end of the season.

Young Scunthorpe goalkeeper Josh Lillis signed on a month's loan following injuries to both Kevin Pilkington and Russell Hoult.

Jonathan Forte signed on-loan for the second time. The pacy striker had spent a month with the Magpies earlier in the campaign, memorably netting a hat-trick on his debut at Barnet.

The boardroom squabbles that would drastically overshadow the final few months of the season began, with seven senior Supporters Trust members claiming they had been repeatedly denied access to key financial information by Trust-elected Chairman John Armstrong-Holmes.

For the continuation of NCM's season review, stay tuned in the upcoming days.