Déjà Vu was in the air last night as Notts met Bournemouth in the 2nd round of the F.A cup for the second consecutive year and fortunately for Notts fans it was County who ran out winners again.
The two teams had met earlier in the season, playing out a 3-3 draw where Notts had to come from 3-0 down to grab a point at Dean Court (Fitness First Stadium) under Craig Short. However, now under Paul Ince, Notts are proving a much more difficult team to break down and this certainly showed last night. Bournemouth looked comfortable and confident in possession with lots of attacking pace going forward especially Warren Feeney who started on the right but was switched to the left. The game started on a downer for Notts fans as Neil Bishop clattered into Ricky Ravenhill which led to the Notts midfielder being stretchered off and replaced by debutant Michael Woods who is on loan from Chelsea. The first chance fell to Bournemouth as a through ball caught out Mike Edwards and Stephen Darby but the Bournemouth frontman Hollands wasn't able to get a shot away as Rob Burch cleared in the nick of time.
The Notts fans were then left wondering how the Magpies weren't ahead on the 15 minute mark as the ball was chipped over to Lee Hughes and instead of taking the ball on the volley let it bounce and proceeded to scuff his shot, which rolled to Ben Davies who also couldn't get his shot away. Eventually the ball found its way across the 6 yard box to Craig Westcarr whose shot was saved by the legs of Stewart in the Cherries goal.
On the 18 minute mark Neal Bishop's cross was met by the head of Krystian Pearce to head Notts into a 1-0 lead. Notts were pushing forward and were unlucky to add a second when Lee Hughes had a shot from 20 yards pushed around the post. But he wasn't to be denied a goal and on 35 minutes he cleverly turned his marker on the edge of the six-yard box and drilled the ball into the corner to set Notts on their way to the second round. Notts weren't finished in the first half yet and in the final minute of stoppage time Thomas Ince jinxed his way past Purches (who was substituted at half-time) and fired in a low cross which was turned into his own net by Cummings to put County 3 goals to the good.
The second half saw Notts sit back and invite pressure from Bournemouth but it wasn't until the 84th minute that saw them got on the scoreboard through Fletcher, who also hit the post in the dying minutes.
Yet to be convinced that Miller is an improvement on Burgess/Hawley or Darby on Thompson, who had a decent game but was caught awfully out of position for the cross leading to the Bournemouth goal. I'll reserve judgement on Woods until he's played more games but he definitely needs to improve if he is to live up to Ravenhill's standards.