A Game of two halves – quite literally!

Last updated : 24 January 2003 By Rob Davies

At half time I was thinking about how to start this report and was going to begin by writing "oh dear, oh dear, oh dear". But that wouldn’t quite be suitable now given what I watched in the second

Palmer - his team started well but went downhill.
half. Thankfully I did stay to watch the second half because it would have been very easy to go home after the dross I witnessed in the first half.

Notts were 1-0 down to Stockport within the first 14 minutes. Nicholson was caught out of position and Ali Gibb was allowed more than enough space to cross the ball, which was fired past Mildenhall from close range.

Throughout the first half Gibb was given heaps of room to run Notts ragged down the left-hand side. One Notts fan could be heard saying, "He’s had more space tonight than he’s had in his whole career". Which was quite true.

Minutes later the Hatters could have been 2-0 up but Mildenhall made a great save to deny Gibb.

Notts never seriously tested Lee Jones in the visitor’s goal in the first half, creating very few in the way of serious chances.

Notts let Gibb loose again on 29 minutes. He put a cross in from the right hand side, and with Notts having gaping holes at the back, it was left to an unmarked Luke Becket to put the ball in the net.

Stockport and their fans must have thought it was Christmas all over again. Having lost 5-2 to Swindon last weekend they had come here expecting to get mauled, but in fact they had got quite the opposite.

Notts were resulting to the kick and rush strategy, which quite frankly wasn’t getting them anywhere apart from into more trouble.

Broughy, who had received a gash to the top of his leg earlier in the game, had to be replaced so he could go and get treatment. Ramsden came on and Notts changed from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2, Ian Richardson faced with the task of controlling Gibb down the left.

Mildenhall made some more good saves to stop Stockport adding to their tally.

All the way through the first half I was thinking of the 15th place that could have been ours, had we won, and at 2-0 down I didn’t think it wasn’t very likely we would end up with the 3 points.


Paul Heffernan was brought on at half time for Duncan Jupp and was placed up front with Mark Stallard – Allsopp dropped back to the right wing to fill in Jupp’s place.

The second half it was a different team – it was the team that had turned up for the last 2 home games when we won 3-2 and 3-0 against Barnsley and QPR respectively.

Super Stall gets Notts' first
We created chances, we past it around better and you just knew that if we kept the pressure on Stockport long enough, we would eventually find a way through.

It took Notts 10 minutes to start their comeback.

Stallard headed in a Caskey corner in from close range.

Mildenhall stopped Stockport extending their lead by saving a header from Ellison and then a low shot from Becket just after the 60-minute mark.

Notts got their well deserved equaliser on 67 minutes when Danny

Stockport players after conceding the winner.
Allsopp sent ‘super sub’ Paul Heffernan through to fire home a shot from about 12 yards into the bottom corner.

Notts fans started to become more vocal as they willed their team to find that extra bit to complete their comeback and make the score 3-2.

An excellent ball from Simon Ramsden deluded the Stockport defence and Caskey was able to superbly lob Lee Jones to the delight of the Notts fans.

On 84 minutes, however, one of the floodlights, between the Family Stand and the Main Stand failed.

Just the thing you didn’t want to happen when you have produced a brilliant comeback like the Magpies had done.

Luckily, the rules allowed play to continue, and after an agonising few minutes where the referee had to check with the 4th official and the managers, play continued.

Lee Jones
The ball spent most of the rest of the game in the corners as Notts desperately attempted to waste what time there was left on the clock.

Following 5 minutes of injury time the final whistle was blown and Notts had finally done what many people would have thought impossible at half time.